A Magical Season for Buccaneers Baseball
|©Green Bay Press Gazette
|Dan Edwards’11 leaps into the arms of Hunter Nelson’10 while Jon Siil’11 gives Ryan Schmitz’10 a
bear hug after Beloit’s victory over St. Norbert College clinched the 2009 Midwest Conference
Baseball Championship. Evan Mascitti’12 is at left.
Beloit College started playing varsity baseball in 1866, according to available records, but not one of the 94 seasons
since then has been anything like the recently completed 2009 campaign.
Under Head Coach Dave DeGeorge, in his 19th year, the Bucs finished with a 28-9 overall record while going 11-5 in the conference, winning their first-ever Midwest Conference championship, and advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in the program’s history—all while breaking or tying 50 game, season, and career records. It was a season for the ages.
It all started in central Florida when the team went 6-2 on their annual season-opening spring trip. Winning the last four games of that weeklong trip was the beginning of what would become a 14 game winning streak, the longest in school history. The final four games were a sweep of Carroll University, which put the team at 4-0 in the MWC for the first time ever. The streak was finally snapped at Ripon College on April 9 with a loss in the first game of the teams’ four-game series.
The Buccaneers split that conference series with Ripon, each winning twice, and did the same with St. Norbert College in a rain-delayed series two weeks later. But a doubleheader sweep of Lawrence University on the last weekend of the regular season, along with the results of the series between Ripon and St. Norbert, forced Ripon and Beloit to meet at the ballpark at Strong Stadium on May 4 in a one-game playoff to decide the final entrant into the MWC Tournament, for which Beloit had not qualified since 1995. In exciting fashion, sophomore Mike Kovach crashed into the catcher with the winning run with two outs in the ninth on junior Scott Slubowski’s double to begin another chapter in what had already been a great season.
Beloit showed no signs of stopping at the MWC Tournament in De Pere, where they ran off three straight wins—defeating Monmouth College before topping host and rival St. Norbert twice—to win the Conference Championship and the league’s NCAA Division III automatic bid.
The Buccaneers, seeded sixth in the Midwest Regional in Oshkosh, made their inaugural NCAA appearance against #1-seed St. Olaf College and took the highly ranked Oles to 11 innings before falling 2-1. The season-long run finally ran out of steam in their next game the following day, an 8-2 loss to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Through it all, the season brought excitement, happiness, and pride not only to the team and the campus, but also to the parents, fans, and many alumni who climbed on board a train that seemingly refused to stop.
It started in Florida and ended in Wisconsin. It was one magical season.