MIT beats Babson, wins conference
By Adam Brook
On Thursday underdog MIT upset Babson 7-2 to win the Constitution Athletic Conference Baseball Championship Tournament. Consistent pitching by MIT ace Peter Hinteregger '93 and a complete loss of nerve by Babson in the seventh let MIT eliminate the league leaders.
This victory is the high point thus far in the Engineer's season, which has yielded a disappointing .250 win percentage in the Constitution league. Babson, with
a .643 win percentage in the league, went into the game expecting an easy win over the MIT squad.
But Hinteregger kept the Babson bats cold with a low fastball and a sneaky changeup. The chilly wind and fine rain that threatened to delay the game didn't perturb Hinteregger at all.
"It was a fine day to pitch," said Hinteregger, claimed to be in his element on cloudy, dismal days. A tall, thin stick-figure on the mound, Hinteregger in his silver gray uniform blended in with the rain clouds that descended over Briggs Field.
And, Hinteregger acknowledged, having "timely hitting" can make any day nice. Hinteregger said, "The turning point
in the game was MIT's five-run seventh inning."
Babson's star pitcher Mike Barra, who had a 1.84 ERA on the season and had allowed only seven earned runs all season long, kept the Engineers under control until the seventh, allowing just two runs in the fourth.
Sophomore Brooks Mendell opened the inning with a little single he hit just beyond Babson shortstop Ian Baxter's mitt. MIT captain Henry Dotterer '91 laid down a somewhat disappointing bunt right to Barra, who somehow seemed unable to pick the ball up. Mendell raced to second and Barra had to settle for throwing Dotterer out at first.
Facing freshman Jonathan Gass, Barra seemed to shake on the mound -- perhaps from the cold wind that seemed to pick up as he started his windup. Gass lined the pitch straight back to Barra, but the ball bounced out of Barra's glove. Mendell reached third and Gass made it to first well ahead of shortstop Baxter's throw.
But Babson coach Paul Donato chose to keep his star pitcher in, even though Barra appeared to have lost his cool on the mound. Barra appeared to start his windup and then stop, turning his head to watch Gass leaving first, though no balk was called.
Barra then consecutively hit MIT batters Dan Paulsen '93 and John Mueller '94 -- first loading the bases and then scoring Mendell, giving MIT a 3-2 lead. Still coach Donato kept Barra on the mound.
Scott Toussaint '91 laid down a nice bunt along the third base line as Dotterer ran home. Barra fielded the bunt and looked home but did not throw, as Dotterer was already there.
But Barra seemed transfixed, forgetting about Toussaint running towards first. By the time Barra's teammates could yell to Barra to throw to first, Toussaint was already there, safe.
But coach Donato kept Barra on the mound.
Dan Sabanosh '94 then hit a little bobbler that Babson shortstop Ian Baxter couldn't handle: Paulson ran home, and the bases remained loaded for MIT freshman Ian Somerville.
"The guys, the middlefielders, were in. He hung a curve. I knocked it through my hands," Somerville said. He slapped the ball between shortstop and third base. "It was a cheesey hit actually."
Cheesey or not, it scored Mueller and Toussaint, and with the score now 7-2 put the Engineers well out of Babson's reach.
The high point of the game
for Babson was a towering solo homer by freshman Dave DiGangi. "I just dinked it outta here," DiGangi said.