The Allegheny baseball team faced Kenyon College on May 4 in an NCAC double header at the Robertson baseball field.
The Lords won game one 8-4, but the Gators took game two in a close 7-6. Outfielder Ben Kosbie, ’22, earned hits in game one and two for a total hit streak of 15 games.
“This is the most talented team we’ve had in maybe 20 years,” said Head Coach Brandon Crum, who just recently passed 100 career wins as head coach with the two April 26 wins over Fredonia. “We started on February 11 down in North Carolina. We dropped the first two games of the year and then went on a tear. It wasn’t until last weekend that we hit double digits in the loss column despite losing three games in the first seven.”
Outfielder Ryan Dougherty, ’24, noted that the team has improved steadily over the season.
“We started off a little bit slow, at the beginning of the season,” Dougherty said. “We couldn’t get out to practice much due to the weather.”
The team has only practiced seven times on a baseball field, and last week seven players were out due to COVID-19 protocol, according to Crum. Despite this, the Gators are 9-7 in NCAC conference play and 24-13 overall.
“I’m just completely overwhelmed with the resolve and resilience of the team,” Crum said. “(We got) a lot of firsts for the program. We’re getting votes for the top 25 for the first time in 17 or 18 years. We got votes for three straight weeks in April. We were regionally ranked for the NCAC tournament, something that hasn’t happened in the last at least 15 years.”
Crum was named head coach in 2017. He served as the assistant coach from 2012-16 and briefly served as the head coach at Mercyhurst University-North East in 2017. As head coach, Crum produced four All-NCAC East Honors in 2021 three All-NCAC Honors in 2019 and two All-NCAC honors in 2018. The team had an NCAC Championship appearance in 2019 as well.
Crum’s 100th win comes in his fifth season after most games were canceled in spring 2020 due to the pandemic.
“It feels good to be on the winning side of things,” Crum said. “We talk about representing our college and representing the athletic department. The number means very little to me. Being able to celebrate it with my first class that I recruited means the world.”
Dougherty said that he was proud of Crum’s achievement.
“I was really happy I was able to be a part of that,” Dougherty said. “The past couple years, especially with like COVID and stuff like he’s still able to connect with us really well. And even outside of baseball, he’s a great person to talk to.”
Dougherty also noted the accomplishments of several graduating seniors.
“Our senior class is really good this year,” Dougherty said. “Brett Heckert, (’22), (Kosbie), and Jacob Budnar, (’22), are three people that really stand out offensively in our lineup. We have a really deep freshman and sophomore class. So I’m really excited to see what we’re capable of doing the next couple years, especially moving to the (Presidents’ Athletic Conference) next year.”
The Gators need two games to work out in their favor this Saturday — they need to win over Depauw and Wooster to lose to Kenyon — to make the NCAC tournament.
Heckert is hopeful they can pull it off.
“I think we had a very successful season considering all the obstacles and challenges we had to face throughout,” Heckert said in an email to The Campus. “With the weather being as bad as it was, we were seemingly never able to practice on our field making it almost impossible to simulate game-like situations. With all that being said, we were still able to put together a winning season. We are still hopeful we will have the chance to play for a conference tournament in the coming weeks.”
Crum said that Depauw should look out for the Gators’ competitive play.
“We’ve been talking as a team like every game we play from here on out is a playoff game,” Crum said. “We got to take care of business and that’s what we’ve been focusing on. We know what kind of team we are. We know how dangerous we can get when we start playing our kind of baseball.”