Bates Bobcast Episode 134: Breaking records and beating the best
From the women's distance medley relay team finishing second in the country at NCAAs, to the men's lacrosse team upending the top-ranked team in the nation, to a pair of Bobcats winning NESCAC Player of the Week honors, it was quite the week for Bates athletics. And we've got it all covered, on the Bates Bobcast!
Interviews this episode:
- 1:31 -- Vanessa Paolella '21, Amanda Kaufman '21, Elise Lambert '22 and Ayden Eickhoff '19 (Female Bobcat of the Week), Women's Distance Medley Relay team.
- 14:43 -- Peter Lasagna, Head Coach, Men's Lacrosse.
- 17:02 -- Matt Chlastawa '20, NESCAC Men's Lacrosse Player of the Week (Male Bobcat of the Week).
- 23:02 -- Brett Allen, Head Coach, Women's Lacrosse.
- 25:07 -- Andrea Russo '19, Softball's all-time career hits leader.
- 30:22 -- Jack Arend '20 and NESCAC Pitcher of the Week Nolan Collins '20, Baseball.
This is the Bates Bobcast. Our weekly podcast where we take a look at the week that was, in Bates athletics. My name is Aaron Morse and this week we are celebrating a ton of accomplishments. From the women’s distance medley relay team finishing second in the country at NCAAs, to the men’s lacrosse team upending the top-ranked team in the nation, to a pair of Bobcats winning NESCAC Player of the Week honors, we’ve got it all for you, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!
The Bates women’s track and field team finished 13th in the nation at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In one of the great performances in recent Bates track and field history, the women’s distance medley relay team of sophomore Vanessa Paolella, sophomore Amanda Kaufman, first-year Elise Lambert and senior captain Ayden Eickhoff set a program record with a time of 11:43.51, good for second in the nation. It’s the best finish at NCAAs by a Bates relay team, women or men,...ever. Eickhoff followed that up the next day by breaking her own team record and finishing 3rd in the 800-meter run, the 5th All-America honor of her career. Eickhoff is our Female Bobcat of the Week and we talked to her and the entire DMR team about the record-breaking weekend.
Aaron: Vanessa, let's start with you. You had the opening leg of the DMR there at Boston. You ran with the team at Tufts, that was your first time kind of with the A team. How do you see things go from Tufts to National in terms of development of the team in a short period of time?
Vanessa: So the DMR team at Tufts was pretty similar to the DMR team at nationals, culture wise, but surprisingly it wasn't a whole lot different it was just the atmosphere that changed. With Tufts, we just knew we wanted to try to get a little bit faster of a time than what we previously had. It wasn't so much placement pressure. However, at nationals you knew this was the end game and that really put a whole different twist on things.
Aaron: So leading off the race, what's the strategy on your part?
Vanessa: So, leading off the race is just trying to get the baton to Amanda, the 400 leg, in a good position. And, unfortunately I got stuck in the back for much of the race, four out of six of the laps about. Just because everyone went out really fast, thankfully I guess I was able to keep a pretty consistent pace and I ended up handing off in eighth place.
Aaron Morse: So handing off in eighth, so Amanda you took over, what's going through your mind? You're senior in eighth at that point.
Amanda: Yeah, so I just kept watching Vanessa go around and around, and then she started making up ground and then before I knew it she was about 10 meters away from me. And I definitely might have had a small deer in the headlight moment. Our handoff probably wasn't the greatest, but we ended up handing off way out in lane six. But, it actually worked out really well because I was able to just kind of go around the mess of the hand offs and just settle in. Which I guess I didn't exactly settle in exactly right away, I opened up in a pretty fast 200. So, definitely learned from that I think it was more I was concerned that our hand off wasn't that great.
Amanda: I was like, oh my god we're at Nationals I need to just leave it all out there. So, I think I could've run a little bit smarter but I'm pretty glad I was able to, I found a Bowdoin girl and I just kind of, just stick with her and get a clean hand off into Elise. Which we executed pretty well I think.
Aaron: So Amanda at the end of the 400, coming to Elise for the 800. What was going through your mind as you see Amanda approaching there? Because the 400, she's probably going pretty quickly for that hand off.
Elise: Yeah, just wanted to get the baton and not run into anyone. Kind of just find my own space and make up some ground on the next group of teams.
Aaron: So the DMR starts with kind of distance, come two more sprint type of things, and now for you the longest leg, the anchor leg distance again. What's your approach there? Because obviously you were able to chase some teams down.
Ayden: Yeah, so I'd previously gone out a little bit fast at Tufts and finished in a way that I wasn't super happy with. I just didn't have a lot left in the tank, and it felt like I was just struggling to the finish. So I knew that in Boston at Reggie that I would have to go out a little more relaxed. Especially, if I wanted anything left at the end. And for me kind of similar to the other legs, it's all just a blur and then it's your turn. It really, everything moves so quickly. There's 12 people on the track plus between 36 other people waiting to do their leg. So it's really, really hectic, great atmosphere. But, when I got the baton I just wanted to stay relaxed and there was a Coast Guard girl in front of me who is such a strong runner. But, she had also just run a 5k about an hour before, so I was hoping that I could stay with her for a bit and then possibly pass her at the end with sort of my energy left in the tank.
Ayden: So, it ended up not quite working out that way. The race I think slowed down a little bit because no one wanted to lead, and that's fairly common in the longer legs. Is that they just want someone else to take it out, so I found myself in that position a couple of laps in and I was pretty confused as to what was going on and how I got to that point. But, again I knew that I had to stay relaxed because everyone was going, I knew everyone's strategy was going to be what I would do in that situation; Which is to stick with the leader as much as you can, and then the last lap try to beat them. So, I really did not want that to happen especially as I had just gambled by going out in front. So, I made sure to keep it a fairly steady pace so that I had stuff for the next couple laps.
Aaron: That's interesting. So you find yourself in first place, but it's not elation it's like, uh I'm a little worried about this.
Ayden: No, I was very worried, I was very worried. I at one point saw Jay along the side of the track and tried to make pretty heavy eye contact with her, of like, what do I do? What was my split? I have no idea what I'm doing here, and I'm not against leading races or anything like that. It was just a very new experience, especially up against these very, very strong teams. So, I just tried to kind of buckle in for the ride and then when the Brandeis girl pulled ahead I sort of saw that coming. She's very, very strong and I tried to stick with her for a couple strides and then she just blew by me and took the win. But, it was a really cool experience nonetheless.
Aaron: So when she goes by you like that are you at this point like, okay I have to make sure I get second, hold off anyone behind me?
Ayden: Yes, yes, that's exactly what I thought. I was like, where are the other people and I actually tried to look up at the TV screen to see how far ahead, or how far behind they were and while they looked kind of far behind, maybe like five-ten meters. The finishes weren't actually a large gap. So, I'm glad that I didn't think that I just had it in the bag, and jog to the finish. I really did try, and there's some really funny photos of me with this determined face, and just my form all out of whack. But, we crossed the line and it was so, so amazing to have these three girls just come--
Vanessa: --We tackled--
Ayden: I was really trying to breathe, but, it was so awesome to see the support. I saw them every lap screaming at me, just supporting me through every stride. So it was really cool.
Aaron: Vanessa, let's talk about after you're done with your leg you get to watch all three of them. So what was that experience like?
Vanessa: Oh my god it's surreal, because I know for me alright that was just the finish of my season but I'm still seeing what I just went through in a different way with these three of my teammates. And it's crazy because for me I saw Amanda, actually I didn't even really see Amanda really that much, I saw her finish.
Amanda: I was on the ground, at this point.
Vanessa: Yeah, I saw her finish and had it off to Elise and I saw Elise doing really well, running really well. And then, it just suddenly it seemed like Ayden was in fifth, and then oh my god how, she's in first. And that was, it was crazy to be able to see the whole progression of the race, it's a little hard knowing like I can't do anything. But it's also really validating to know my parts done.
Aaron: Amanda I'm curious after not running the DMR at Tuft, what's it like to get back into it here at Nationals on the biggest stage?
Amanda: Yeah, so it definitely was awesome that I had that one DMR experience at BU because it was a similar really big staged, lot's of really really awesome competition. And actually at Tufts I was able to run a 4x4, so I had a 400 from last week kind of like under my belt so I knew I still had my fitness up. But, you can never be prepared for Nationals I think, especially being my first Nationals trip. It definitely was a very overwhelming but, absolutely incredible experience. So yeah like I said, Vanessa kind of peeled me up off the ground and was like we got girls out there we need to cheer them on.
Amanda: And I think the first few laps I kind of was just able to clap and show my support. But once I got my breath again I definitely wanted to make sure they knew we were right there with them.
Aaron: Elise, what are your thoughts on being a first-year and being a part of the fastest DMR team in Bates history?
Elise: It's pretty cool. I mean, I articulated a lot of reasons why I choose this school in the last Bobcast and I see a lot of the reasons why I came here just like really coming to life. And like I really enjoy this team, and being on this team, and it's so much more than I could've ever hoped for or expected. Being a part of this and to be able to go to Nationals my first indoor season, and to do so well, it was just such an amazing opportunity. I'm so thankful for.
Aaron: And then Ayden you had a lot more on your plate than just the DMR, at this Nationals. How did you go approaching the entire weekend?
Ayden: I did not know what to do. I knew that I would have to really focus on recovery, and I knew that I had to focus on stretching, and cooling down, and warming up adequately or else I was really doing a disservice to me and my teammates. So, after the 800 I jogged around for a bit and had a recovery drink. And then sort of for the DMR I took the warm-up at my own pace versus what everyone else did as they had waited quite a long time. We raced at probably close to nine at that point. So, going then from the DMR to the 800 the next day I knew that I was in the final, I knew that I was guaranteed All-American if I started and finished the race. So, I just did what I could Friday night.
Ayden: Had a big meal full of protein and carbs, and then the next day just made sure to eat, stretch, heat, and kind of repeat that process. So, it was really kind of strategic but also just kind of winging it.
Aaron: And then the next day obviously great performance by Ayden in the 800, what was it like watching her the following day?
Vanessa: Okay that's terrifying, but, she pulls it out so amazing just because we saw her preparing beforehand. We knew she was sore from the day before and after two fantastic performances. But, of course she did exactly what she always does, she started out smart, she moved up, and she I think she had a fantastic finish. We were all really proud.
Aaron: And Vanessa I think this is your first time on the Bobcast I wanted to ask you, you're a sophomore now, but how did you decide you know Bates was the place for you?
Vanessa: Oh yeah, so I really liked Jay and I really, actually I didn't even meet anyone from the team but I just really liked what I was seeing from the team culture, from the articles that Art was sending me, and I really loved the friendly atmosphere at Bates, and its honestly like I got so lucky. It's everything I had hoped for and more.
Aaron: Terrific, Amanda we're now obviously moving into outdoor season the teams still working really hard what're your thoughts on outdoor season coming up?
Amanda: Yeah so I would love to maybe get a really awesome 4x4 together, I think we have a really good potent-- a high potential for really talented team. If not this year, in the coming years. We're a younger team but a talented team in that sense. And then I think personally, I'm definitely excited to get to 100 hurdles, and 400 hurdles. I'd love to just keep running fast, keep running sub 15, and see where that takes me.
Aaron: Elise kind of similar question for you, outdoor season coming up, what're your thoughts?
Elise: I'm really excited to switch up my events, I'm getting kind of tired of running 800's every weekend. So, I'm excited to jump back into hurdling hopefully, and maybe even doing a little bit of experimenting with multi.
Aaron: Oh nice, yeah because we've got multi athlete here. Are you thinking decathlon also?
Elise: Potentially, we'll see. I think I'm at the point in my track career, where I kind of need to decide what I want to focus on. As much as I would love to do it all, I know my body definitely won't be able to withstand that. So we'll see how the season starts, and just see what happens.
Aaron: Awesome, Ayden we'll end with you. This is outdoor season coming up for these three, but for you it's your final season of track and field what's going through your mind?
Ayden: I still am not quite accepting that indoor is done, it hasn't really gone through my mind yet and that I won't ever-- we still do some training on the indoor track because of the temperature outside. But that, that was my last race and it hasn't quite hit me yet. So, going into outdoor I know I just need to appreciate every time I can step on that track and every moment I have left with this team.
Aaron: Awesome, Vanessa Paolella, Amanda Kaufman, Elise Lambert, Ayden Eickhoff, thanks so much for joining us on the Bobcast appreciate it.
Aaron: Senior Katie Barker finished 9th at the NCAA Championships in the 3,000-meter run, setting a personal record of 9:56.76 along the way. Meanwhile, sophomore John Rex made his NCAA Championships debut with a 19th place showing in the weight throw.
Aaron: The skiing teams also competed at the NCAA Championships last week. Both alpine captain Griffin Mueller and Nordic captain Kaelyn Woods scored points for the Bobcats, combining to finish 20th in the nation.
Aaron: The men’s lacrosse team is 2-0 in NESCAC play and ranked 13th in the country after knocking off then top-ranked Wesleyan on Saturday by a final score of 15-12. The Bobcats grabbed the lead in the first quarter and outscored the Cardinals 5-1 in the second quarter to take command of the game. Head coach Peter Lasagna was proud of his team’s performance, especially on defense.
Peter: I think our one on one matchups guys handled really well, I felt we had the right people assigned to the right people. And I though those guys, Rocco especially, he's covering one of the very best attack men in the country, number 20. Who is key to what they do, and then Stephen Bull was out on four who's also really really important to them. I though we did a nice job on two, who's exceptional. I mean they got a lot of players as they showed, thank god the fourth quarter ended when it did. But I just thought we bought in, we executed our plan, it really started with outstanding one on one defense.
Aaron: Well yeah this game reminded me a bit of two years ago, right here where Wesleyan made the final score look closer than maybe actually it was perhaps.
Peter: I felt the same way, I felt like we were in control for most of it. I thought we answered really nicely in the third quarter after they got a couple quick ones. But then again it's part of working with young men aged 18-22 is don't ever get happy and complacent until it's actually zero, zero, zero.
Aaron: I thought both goal keepers played really well, making some key saves.
Peter Lasagna: I agree. I thought they both did well Rob made a couple huge ones at the end, and Mitchell was just tremendous in the first half. He really helped keep us in it quite honestly.
Aaron: What else about this game stood out to you?
Peter: I thought that we really wanted to get our transition game going our quick strike offense going because, they play the best zone defense in the country. And so our attitude was our best chance to beat is before they actually have a chance to set it up and I thought for the most part we did a really really nice job in those opportunities in early offense.
Aaron: What sort of identity is this team developing on defense? Because it seems like both games so far NESAC action they've done a really good job.
Peter: Yeah I just think again you've got some veteran leadership there at the close defense positions. I think Frankie Spitz gives us some versatility, we can put him up, we can put him down. And our d-middies Sean Paul Clark, and Walker Cooney, and Andrew Lowman, and R.J. Sarka, and Jack, those guys did. I mean we're really deep at that position, and if you're deep at that position and we don't have to slide to those short stick defenders it makes our defense really good.
Aaron Morse: Most important game of the year is the next one right?
Peter: That's exactly what I said to those guys, and it sounds corny, and cliched, and coachy, but it's true and Western New England is really really good. They just gave Amherst all they can handle, and so it is indeed the most important game of the year.
Aaron: Against Wesleyan, junior captain Matt Chlastawa tallied a game-high five goals and dished out a game-high five assists. He earned NESCAC Player of the Week honors and he is also our Male Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Matt lets talk about the game against Wesleyan, top team in the country coming in. They've been kind of a thorn in the side, a rival of the Bobcats for a number of years now. What was the team's mentality entering that game?
Matt: Definitely to just do whatever it took, I don't think the game was kind of ever in question. We kind of all went into it knowing exactly that it was going to be like a fist fight, that they were gonna come out. But it was our home field so, we were feeling a little chippy.
Aaron: And then for you personally on the attack, I like how you distribute the ball from behind the net, how have you developed those skills in terms of the passing? Because five assists to go along with your five goals.
Matt: Well I do enjoy getting my defenseman hung in front of the net and my teammates do a good job of getting me the ball when they are hung in front of the net. And, it also it's not that threatening unless my teammates are cutting really hard in front of the net and stuff like that. So, they kind of made my job a lot easier just Mullally's always there for me, Otis has been doing a good job cutting off ball and stuff like that. So, a couple of those goals were just absolute dunks and it's a testament to that I guess.
Aaron: For sure well, and Brendan Mullally that's some great chemistry right? Going back to even last season the behind the back goal to go on SportsCenter and what not. How's that relationship developed with you being able to find him for a lot of scores, and vice versa as well?
Matt Chlastawa: I mean we are very good together, in terms of on the field and stuff like that. Because his game isn't necessarily like my game. So, I think we compliment each other in that way because we are different. But, I kind of know what he's going to do and he kind of has an idea of what I'm going to do. So, that level of predictability between ourselves is really really what helps in terms of connecting on the field.
Aaron: Otis Klingbeil a guy who missed all of last season with an injury played a little bit as a first year. He's a fellow junior with you, in this class, what's that been like having him back on the field?
Matt: Oh it's great, I love it, it's so nice having him back for sure. I know sitting out a whole season is probably a lot, he's gone through so much hard work with the rehab and Coach Seltzer and stuff like that. It's so nice to see him on the field contributing and I know he's loving it.
Aaron: I know your first year here a couple years ago you had, you know Charlie Fay, and Andrew Melvin on that attack you got a lot of opportunities. Last year I know you and Clarke Jones scored a lot on teams were more key on you. How have you seen teams adjust to you, and what adjustments have you had to make respectively?
Matt: Well I mean a couple teams started pressing out a little bit more, like locking off and stuff like that. So, we kind of gone over that we've adjusted with our game plans. PL's talked about it, we've talked about it as a team offense and we're fully prepared now if I am shut off we're fully confident with the five other people on the field to make something happen on offense.
Aaron: Obviously it's a big deal to beat the top team in the country at least in the rankings. It seems like the men's lacrosse team, you guys you've beaten those guys before it's not, it's a big deal, but it's not like a massive deal it seems like, right?
Matt: Yeah we try to act like we've been here before, because we have. It's definitely not a big deal especially when it's a short turnaround. We got a tough Western New England team coming in tomorrow, Tuesday. So, definitely you want to enjoy it but at the same time it's a long season.
Aaron: Right, and well Western New England you guys I think went to overtime with them last year it was really close.
Matt: Yeah it ended up being an overtime goal by Curtis.
Aaron: What do you remember about this team coming in?
Matt: Well I know them very well, personally. I'm a Western Mass kid myself, so their head coach was actually my club coach growing up and my best friend from home is a defense men on the team too. I know a lot of the guys on that team and I know their coach knows me and stuff like that, and it was a close grudge match last year, so we're excited to see how it plays out on Tuesday.
Aaron: Certainly, obviously you're on the attack but the defense has been really strong this year. What's it like watching them go to work when you can't cross that line?
Matt: Oh, it's super reassuring, especially when I make a mistake or something like that. I turn the ball over and then they go down and we get a tough stop, Rocco gets a ground ball, or there's a save from Mitch or Strain and stuff like that. We play off of each other a lot, so whenever the offense scores the defense is feeling good about themselves. Whenever defense gets a stop offense gets some new life. In that way it's great to see the defense locking it down, down there.
Aaron: I asked Brendan about this last week but obviously two years ago, when you were a first-year here, the team went undefeated during the regular season NCAA quarterfinals. Last year kind of was maybe a reminder about how tough this conference is. What are your thoughts around what adjustments have been made going from last year into this season?
Matt: I think the little things is something that we've really tried to pay attention to, on and off the field for sure. Because, like you said in the NESAC no game is a given. So we try to take every game, every single practice, every single rep, and try to do it to the best of our ability. Because we know at the end of the day the margin of error in order to win and lose games in our league is so small that we can't necessarily afford to take a practice off and stuff like that. It was kind of a tough way to learn the lesson of last year but, I think its helped the maturity of our team.
Aaron: Great, last question. Any other thoughts on the Wesleyan game you wanted to share that we hadn't talked about yet?
Matt: Big showing out from the fans section, I know they were loud. It helps that the weather is good, definitely loved it but, family friends, out there contributing and we love to see it for sure.
Aaron: Alright Matt Chlastawa, Male Bobcat of the Week, thanks so much.
Matt: Yeah thanks for having me.
Aaron: The women’s lacrosse team is ranked 21st in the country despite a pair of tough road losses last week to Babson and Wesleyan. The Bobcats bounced back Monday in their home-opener, a 15-3 win over Plymouth State. Bates is now 4-2 on the season. We caught up with head coach Brett Allen after the game.
Aaron: Well coach, non-conference win here over Plymouth State. What'd you see out of your team after a tough week this past week, bouncing back to have a big win this evening?
Brett: We got off to a good start, we did better on draw controls tonight which made a big difference certainly early in the game not putting our defense under a lot of pressure. I though we just kind of stayed within ourselves, we didn't let the emotions of the game kind of overcome us which we struggled with last week early.
Aaron: Well draw controls, what's the key to winning those? Because it seems like the ball goes up in the air, it's kind of a free-for-all.
Brett: So it does seem like that I think there's a couple of things, it's your ability to box out and get a good first step when you're playing on the circle, and then the two players who are taking the draw a lot of it's just about who reacts really well on the whistle. And if you can kind of get the plastic edge of your stick underneath the ball before the opponent can you can direct it a little bit better, and we were doing abetter job of that tonight. Both on the circle and at the center position.
Aaron: So what's an important emphasis this upcoming weekend practice preparing for Trinity this week?
Brett: So we try and take it day by day. I mean my mantra to the team has been every week is a new season, and I think when you play in a really tough league and have really good non-conference opponents there's a lot of truth to that. Last week certainly was a rough week, and I think the biggest learning lesson from it is that you just gotta move on and move forward regardless of how the outcome goes. Certainly last Saturday we were coming off the big win against Middlebury, this Saturday we're coming off kind of a deflating loss against Wesleyan. But you just gotta keep plugging and gotta show up and put in the time, and the effort, and just keep going.
Aaron: The softball team traveled to Florida to open its season, coming back with a record of 3-9. Seven of the nine losses against the stiff competition were by three runs or fewer and junior Kirsten Pelletier impressed in the circle, tossing her third career no-hitter in a 4-0 Bates win over Alverno. Through nine appearances, seven starts, Pelletier’s ERA sits at 1.77. On offense, senior Andrea Russo made history. In her final at bat of the trip, she tallied the 128th hit of her career, breaking the program record previously held by Stacia Saniuk.
Aaron: So Andrea Russo all-time career hits leader in the Bates softball program history, I understand it's not something you were thinking about necessarily but, how cool is it now knowing that is a record that you have?
Andrea: I think it really shows how much the program has developed over the past couple of years. In looking how our game schedule has increased, allowing for players like me as well as everyone else on the team to have more opportunities to do so. It does mean a lot to me, because it does show how hard we as a team work and how all that hard work does pay off.
Aaron: Opening week trip to Florida there's a lot of newcomers on this team. So obviously it's nerve racking playing out there as a college student, what adjustments do you think the teams going to be making going forward?
Andrea: I think definitely the kinds of pitching that we're seeing are different for a lot of the newcomers. Just in general the level of play does increase from high school to college, and it's awesome that they were finally able to get a taste of what that is. And then also just getting the experience of us playing together as a team in those close situations. And those times where maybe a walk off and the game ends' kind of deal. And all of us need to come together and really really shine through in those times.
Aaron: Yeah because you still have NESAC playing coming up so really your record in Florida, I don't want to say it's irrelevant, but it's not something that necessarily can be too concerned about going forward, right?
Andrea: Yeah so with Florida a lot of as Coach Barnes was mentioning, is us playing around with the lineups, seeing who we have on our team, and what everyone has to offer. For example, Janell she came in here catcher, corners, kind of gal, and here she was starting at second base. And I never would've guessed it but that just kind of shows how her as well as all the other freshmen and everyone else on the team is very athletic and very multifaceted and can be put everywhere. And that is an awesome asset for us as a team and especially a young team, knowing that no-one is specialized. And that does kind of really speak to how talented of a team we are this year.
Aaron: For sure, I mean I saw you were moving up and down the lineup kind of getting used to different spots in the order, right?
Andrea: Yeah so it was personally a tough week for me, as well as for other girls. Especially for some of the freshmen who are adjusting from the high school/travel ball play to now and just really getting thrown into these starting positions. But yeah no, other than that it was what Coach Danica said to me after one of the games where it just clicked that we are a deep team and not one person has to be relied upon in order for us to succeed. And just kind of everyone can be put, and changed, and there's multiple pieces to the puzzle that will end up with a gang finish and we're a team that's big on metaphors so with that puzzle metaphor. You can fit the multiple pieces together but in the end it comes out as a regular picture of what not, and that picture is a win. We're still waiting for that one game where everything just goes our way, and once it does it'll be great, so just waiting for that to happen.
Aaron: It's cool to see Kirsten Pelletier throw another no hitter, right?
Andrea: Yeah, it was awesome it's just good to see her succeed as well as everyone else succeed too because, with a no hitter she knows she has to rely on the defense and for us to hit too. Cause in order to win you gotta score a run. It's just knowing that, in the circle she really knows we are all there for her. And the way that she's able to pitch so confidently, and pitch so hard knowing that we've got her back is awesome.
Aaron: Looking forward to having some home games coming up later this month here against UNE?
Andrea: Hopefully the snow goes away. There's the first thing, so hopefully there's no snow, it dries out a little bit. Maybe we'll get the hot hand going, put those in our back pockets. But yeah I'm excited it'll be fun playing up here, yes the 90 degree weather is nice but, just getting some games in that'll be good and seeing how much we've improved since this Florida trip will be awesome.
Aaron: Awesome Andrea Russo, thanks so much for joining us on the Bobcast appreciate it.
Andrea: Alright, thank you.
Aaron: The Bates baseball team has won three in a row after a weekend that saw the Bobcats defeat Salem State 11-0 and Nichols College 5-4 on a walk-off sacrifice fly from sophomore Noah Loughlin. Junior captain and 2018 first team All-NESCAC selection Jack Arend went 4-4 against Salem State. He is hitting .550 on the young season and has hit safely in every game he’s played in this year for the Bobcats. Meanwhile, junior Nolan Collins earned NESCAC Pitcher of the Week honors after he struck out six batters over six scoreless innings, earning the win on the mound. Arend and Collins joined the Bobcast to chat about the season so far.
Aaron: Got Jack Arend and NESAC pitcher of the week Nolan Collins with us here on the Bobcast, and first of all we'll start with you Jack. I mean you're the catcher, you're one of the captains you caught Nolan the other day against Salem State. What was clicking for him out there on the mound from your point of view?
Jack: Really we're just trying to beat guys with his fastball. The beginning of the game we kind of tried to spin a little too much, he couldn't get a grip on the ball because at Northborough there's no dirt or anything it's just the turf that you have to kind of rub the balls up on. We're just trying to get a feel for the fastball and, we went back in the dugout in like the second inning coach is like these dudes can't catch up. And we were like alright let's do it. It's kind of funny Nolan and I played over the summer together, and we've gotten to the point where I almost don't need to put a sign down we are on the same page. And I think he shook me off like once, or twice, so it's been fun.
Aaron: Yeah so Nolan how great is that to have a catcher like Jack to work with? That you're very familiar with and play a lot of innings with.
Nolan: Yeah it's awesome. This summer we really got familiar with each other, I mean we had been familiar before but now we'd really got into a groove. We know what we want to throw, and like he said he'll be putting down signs but I already have it gripped in my hand and he's putting down the right sign. We kind of know what we want and it works, especially Saturday I mean they couldn't really touch a fastball made it easy for us. But, I mean it's really nice being able to play with a catcher that calls the game so well.
Aaron: The other nice thing is to get 11 runs of support, right?
Nolan: Yeah, yeah that pays off. It's a little different from the last couple of years but it's a good change. So it's nice seeing the guys swing the bat.
Aaron: And Jack you've had a hot start at the plate, what're you seeing out there? What's working for you right now?
Jack: I'm really just trying to simplify everything, not trying to do too much at all. I think I have a really good two strike approach right now. I just kind of line my base out use my hands and, like I said not try to do too much just trying to react. I think honestly last year, I know I was first team all NESAC, but I felt like I offensively I had a down year and I didn't feel comfortable at the plate but now I feel really comfortable. This summer really helped playing in the Futures League facing guys that played division I, division II, all levels, and guys that throw 90 consistently, and not being able to see that in here at this league. It can be hard going in playing summer ball and seeing guys, like if you look at my stats last summer I was down to .100 mid-summer and I was like wow I suck.
Jack: This is not good, but it really gave me, put the game in perspective for me and let me kind of come in and made me feel way more comfortable this year. Out of the gate I was like alright I'm swinging the bat, I'm not walking every time, I'm swinging the bat I'm getting on the base this time.
Aaron: So the Futures League, Jack just said challenging league, what's it like from a pitching perspective?
Nolan: It's fun, there's a lot of good competition the hitters know what they're doing up there. It's a lot of fun seeing what you can do competing against guys that are playing Division I baseball and seeing that you can compete with them and even dominate in some points. But, it was a lot of fun just the summer ball vibe is amazing it was so much fun I loved it, every moment.
Aaron Morse: Wood bat league or?
Nolan: Our team was fun, you could've brought a camera around and it would've been like The Office. People would've paid to watch our team it was crazy.
Jack: It was pure comedy.
Jack: Yeah, we talk about it all the time. We sit in our dorm room and we're like wow, this summer was nuts. It was so much fun--
Nolan: It was a lot of fun playing baseball--
Jack: You just meet so many good dudes, and it's fun too sitting in the locker room we have buddies at Northwestern now watching them play Duke or something and some kid he was a freshman going into Virginia he's started against Vandy lead off like--
Nolan: Went 4 for 4--
Jack: 4 for 4 we're like dude we know this kid, this is really cool. And all the text messages in our group chat after, they're pretty funny they're like that's my son. No it's cool, but no it's awesome.
Aaron: And nice from a hitting perspective, going back to aluminum, what's the adjustment?
Jack: I like hitting with wood, especially in the winter, because I feel like growing up I always did it too wood teaches you to hit. You know if you miss a ball you're either breaking your bat or it doesn't feel good. But with aluminum it kind of gives you a little bit more margin for error, but I feel like confident either way. I just, a bats a bat, let me just go hit the ball.
Aaron: From a pitching perspective with wood bats you can probably be more confident pitching inside, is that fair?
Nolan: Yeah definitely, I think honestly though if you're missing barrels, you're missing barrels it doesn't matter what kind of bat you're using so that's the kind of approach I take. But, at the same time over the summer I saw some more like, dinky hits, they just kind of the ball just found holes and that's different from college. College if you get jammed kind of the balls gonna travel further obviously because of the bat. But I mean if you're missing barrels you'll be fine either way, that's kind of how I approach it.
Aaron: Awesome and we mentioned that on Saturday against Salem State you went to your fastball, what are some other pitches that you're going to be showing us off this season?
Nolan: Well I think my biggest improvement between last year and this year is my breaking ball, my curve ball, and my change up. My slider was really good last year, but I didn't really have the curve ball as a put away pitch it was more of an early count pitch. Same thing with the change up, I didn't throw the change up much at the beginning of the season we started using it more towards the end and a lot over the summer. It's becoming one of my best pitches right out.
JackL I think that's the one that has developed the most.
Aaron: The change up?
Jack: Change up. I mean over the summer, you play every day. I remember Nolan throw, there'd be days you'd show up to the park you're like alright I don't need to stretch I don't need to do anything let's just play ball and all the pitchers would be out in the outfield playing catch and you just had a really good feel for your curve ball, slider, change up, but I remember last year like he said this curve ball was more of a get me over kind of pitch. But now it's tight, and we can rely on it to get swings and misses.
Nolan: Yeah and a lot more confidence in the change up now, just from that repetition over the summer playing catch with it and now being comfortable throwing it off the mound. And then again like he said, over the summer just we would should up to the field and I would throw like 50 curve balls just playing catch just to work on it cause why not?
Jack: Don't tell Coach Martin.
Aaron: Well as long as you have the right mechanics, right? But, I'm curious some pitchers at least you look at the big leaguer's you don't often see guys throwing sliders and curve balls in terms of that. They normally choose one or the other, but are you happy with trying to do both?
Nolan: Yeah I'm happy with both. They're different pitches definitely, my slider looks more like a fastball, it's harder, breaks later. The curve ball I can kind of locate different places in the zone, the sliders more a put away pitch with two strikes. You won't really see me throwing that besides when there's two strikes but everything else feels more comfortable than that earlier in the count.
Aaron: Well you guys opened up with some games in Florida, and I understand it was you know the trip you had a nice play to stay and everything. Kind of like a nice spring trip and everything, what were your thoughts on the Florida trip to start the year?
Jack: I mean our record was 1-4 coming back so on paper, if you look at our record only it didn't look terrific. But, I think it was a really good trip because it brought us, it taught us things that we need to when we came back we need to focus on. I think it showed we can swing it a little bit this year. It's a little different coming back last year from LA going 0-6 and hitting like .220, .230 as a team, and now we're hitting .321 or whatever it is and I remember last year and for two weeks we didn't pick up a bat we just bunted. That was not fun, but we had to do it, but it was not fun.
Jack: Now it's like alright lets swing it, lets have some competition, lets do some exit velo's once a week and kind of compete with each other and we're all confident. We were talking about this earlier too, the last couple years they were fun and we were good but this year I've never been around a group of guys that we talk about we have a shot at something.
Aaron: And you've welcomed a transfer to the team, Christian Beal, who hit a home run the other day. Tell us about him.
Jack: He's a character, Christians awesome. He's high motor, high energy, annoying, the type of kid you don't want to have on the other team.
Nolan: Yeah, you want him on your team.
Jack: He'll go chase down a fly ball, I mean our outfield is awesome right now we got Beal in Center, Lindo in right, Beats has been playing well, Sylvia has been playing well, Leo's been swinging it a little bit, anyone that's the biggest thing too that's different from last year is that we're just so deep this year.
Nolan: Yeah whenever we bring someone off the bench to pinch hit, like Noah on Saturday, walk-off sac fly. We just have guys to come off, everyone's confident, and they can get on base, and get hits, and produce for us. So, I think just having that depth and then--
Jack: Even pitching wise too--
Nolan: Yeah we got Cameron Carlson's a guy and Ryan Moralejo hadn't pitched must the last two years this year they're getting innings and throwing well, it's just good to see guys are growing and we're just much more deep and I think we're a lot better than we've been the last two years--
Jack: And the freshmen class is good-- Like I really believe that they might not seem like they have opportunities right now, but towards the end of the year some dudes are going to get opportunities. Bryan Gotti he's a big boy, and he can swing. He's going to be in the middle of our lineup, he helps not only me he helps Trulli, he helps Beal. Andrew Chi, he gets on base, he's not very physically intimidating but he gets the job done. It just opens up opportunities for the rest of the lineup, and it just creates a game hitting's contagious everyone knows that. If we can get Beal at the top our lineup aggressive early, then Chi, then me, then Trulli, then we can do some damage this year.
Nolan: Sets the tone for the rest of the game having those guys at the beginning.
Jack: And it's much nicer for pitchers to go out and actually have a one run, two run, three run lead, and now when we come back in to hit we can score right now.
Aaron: And you guys should have the walk-off win against Nichols College that's nice to the first walk-off win of the season right?
Jack: Yeah that was fun. I remember earlier in the game Giovanni Torres he made an error I think at third and he was kind of down on himself--
Nolan: It ended up costing us a run--
Jack: Yeah it cost us a run, and I told him I was like hey get up. You've got another opportunity whatever that opportunity is you gotta stay focused, don't let this get you down. And he came up big in the last inning, he started off the inning with a single up the middle and Lindo bunted him over and there's a-- Jon ran into the pitcher, and he dropped the ball or whatever it was and G ended up at third. Then Noah came up another big opportunity and he pissed on em', he got a sac fly and we won the game. It's just little things that we gotta take care of, and know that baseball you have more than one opportunity in a game. There's so many little things that you can control and I try to just tell dude's control what you can control, and if you can do that the physical errors are going to happen its the mental errors we can't have. So if G you make an error? Oh well, get the next one you have another opportunity.
Nolan: Yeah it's a game of failures. So being able to bounce back and know that your teammates are going to pick you up and have your back and your working as a team to it's a team win and we really show that.
Aaron: We have NESAC play kind of around the corner at least in my mind. It's almost like every game's a playoff game in NESAC, right? There's 12 games, what's that like as pitcher going out there and you're like you might get three or four conference starts.
Nolan: Yeah so going the conference schedules fun, all the games mean so much. There's some pressure, there's some nerves, but once you get out there the adrenaline takes over and honestly it's just one out at a time. Just get through their lineup and put your team in the best position to win. And honestly it's very different from a normal regular season game, like we played on Saturday. It's the atmosphere is completely different everyone is, there's a special feeling you know. When we have Tufts and Trinity and the beginning of that season I'm very excited to go out there and pitch, and it's different preparation wise. Cause you know like you're only going to get one, one shot at this team as a pitcher. Batters you have three games against them, I'm just going out there for nine innings to throw. So, hopefully I'm so excited for conference season I think we're going to make some noise and it's going to be a lot of fun.
Aaron: How much of a I don't want to necessarily say a chip on your shoulder is there necessarily from how last season ended with that game against Amherst that was just like absurd extra innings, does that have you put that behind you? Or is that like serves as motivation going forward?
Jack: I guess it's motivation, so during the games my Mom takes a bunch of pictures which it keeps her quiet and I know she's gonna listen so she's gonna get mad at me. But, no she takes a bunch of pictures in the locker room, it was like the 13th inning when the bunt was fielded and Jake Shaprio, bless his heart, he threw the ball into right field and he was laying on the ground, his head on the ground, and I'm standing there with just my hands on my head and we have that picture posted in the locker room.
Nolan: It's like the Bill Buckner picture, it's like the legendary photo.
Jack: We're not letting that happen again, no obviously the whole game was crazy. I don't know how pitchers do it because I remember Nolan when we won at Trinity last year when he pitched a seven inning game when we came back and Avs got that big hit and then we ended up winning--
Nolan: I was in the dugout hunched over the trash can I thought I was going to throw up I couldn't handle it.
Jack: If I didn't have, if I couldn't control what was going on I'd freak out. But when I'm in the game and you have some kind of control and the pitchers like we got this, and the hitters like lets do this. You have some kind of confidence, I don't know if I could do what you do.
Nolan: It's tough. It's just you gotta trust your players, you gotta do your job and focus on your what you gotta do. And that trust that the hitters are gonna come through. And that's why this year I think we're gonna be a lot better, because I think our hitters are gonna come through in most cases. So I think I'm very confident in our--
Jack: I'm confident in our pitchers too-- I mean every time Nolan steps on the mound, I expect a win. And I know he expects the same thing, that's not like me asking too highly of him I just think he's that good. That he can come in and shove every single day, and now this year he doesn't have to be perfect I think with our lineup he can give up one or two runs. Obviously, that's going to piss him off but and that would make me upset too but I think that he can come in and not have a great game and we can put it together offensively and scrap a win for him which is awesome.
Aaron: Alright well if you weren't hyped up for NESAC play you are now, this is Jack Arend and Nolan Collins from the Bates Baseball team thanks so much for joining us on Bobcast appreciate it.
Jack: Thank you.
Nolan: Yeah, thanks a lot
Aaron: The Bates tennis teams both defeated Connecticut College on Saturday, with the women winning 8-1 and the men winning 9-0. And over the next two weekends the teams will travel to Virginia and Maryland for some non-conference matches, with the women heading there this weekend and the men making the trip the following weekend.
Aaron: Next time on the Bates Bobcast, we’ll recap how the lacrosse teams do against Trinity, the women host the Bantams this saturday at noon. Plus, the baseball team has three non-conference games scheduled this week and the women’s swimming team is gearing up for nationals. All that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!