Will Gallagher ’20 wrote a paper earlier this year for his sports literature class on how Babson baseball helped him deal with adversity and grow as a person. That was put to the test in a dramatic way when the NCAA canceled all spring championships because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve gone through so much over our four years,” the senior pitcher said. “We stay strong and tough with whatever comes our way. We deal with it and don’t let it bother us too much. That’s the way our program is run.”
The Beavers entered 2020 with incredibly high aspirations after the program’s first appearance in the College World Series last year. They then began the season with two victories against nationally ranked Trinity (Texas) and finished the shortened season ranked third in the country.
“We were pretty convinced we were going back to (the World Series),” said outfielder Jake Oliger ’20. “Granted one game at a time, but after winning the series at Trinity, we knew we had something special and that this could have been our year to win it all. Obviously, that is something we all felt we were missing out on.”
Instead, the 2020 Babson baseball squad was left to gather at Govoni Field on a beautiful March day. It was an opportunity to come together as a team one final time.
“It’s a team game, and it’s the experiences you get to make with your teammates I’ll miss the most,” said catcher Sean Harrington ’20. “It’s the little things, the little moments you have with them, a season’s worth of memories that never got to happen.
“Our class’s goal was to leave the program as winners, and the tough part was we didn’t get to go through with that.”
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The senior class leaves an unforgettable legacy that included a 105-38 record, the CWS visit, two NCAA regional finals appearances, and a pair of NEWMAC tournament titles.
Now, the seniors are moving on, as Gallagher will enter the working ranks, Harrington will attend graduate school at Boston College, and Oliger will use his final year of eligibility in grad school at a different institution.
“I will definitely miss what could have been with this year,” Gallagher said. “Who knows, we could have ended up in Iowa as national champions or we could have had a disappointing year. I will miss playing baseball with these guys and all of my best friends.”
Sports in Brief
The coronavirus pandemic forced the NCAA to cancel the winter championships and the spring seasons and championships. Here’s how the Babson teams fared before their seasons were cut short:
Men’s Ice Hockey
Following an 18-6-2 season and a runner-up finish in the New England Hockey Conference, Babson earned its first NCAA tournament bid since 2014. Ranked 10th in the nation by United States College Hockey Online, the Beavers were slated to host Wesleyan in the opening round before the tournament was canceled. Junior Brad Arvanitis became the eighth goaltender in program history to earn All-America honors.
Despite not starting their spring season, the Beavers held the program’s highest national ranking at No. 15 by Golf Coaches Association of America. Babson won four tournaments in the fall and was 14th in the Golfstat rankings, while senior Chris Bornhorst and sophomore Nicholas Gianelos ranked 26th and 28th individually, respectively.
The Beavers won three of their first four games to start the spring, holding Roger Williams to a single goal in their opener and defeating host Bates, 12-11, in overtime for their first victory over the Bobcats since 1990. After falling to nationally ranked Union, the Beavers erased a four-goal deficit to turn back Endicott, 8-6, and finished their season 3-3.
Babson won two of its first three games with victories over Skidmore and Plymouth State, and ended its spring by facing two of the top 10 teams in the country. The Beavers are 12-4 in their last 16 home games.
Head coach Dave Canan earned his 500th career win in grand fashion, when Babson scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to walk off Emory & Henry, 6-5, at the prestigious National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic in Tucson, Arizona, where the Beavers went 3-1.
— Babson Athletics (@BabsonAthletics) March 8, 2020
After winning all three fall matches, Babson opened the spring with a 4-3 loss to Division I Bryant before knocking off a pair of nationally ranked foes to move to 5-1. Despite dropping their next two matches, the Beavers enjoyed their first national ranking in program history.
After dropping a 5-4 decision to Division I Merrimack in October, Babson began the spring by defeating Division II Franklin Pierce, 6-3, and blanking Endicott, 9-0.
Track & Field
Some members of the men’s and women’s programs were scheduled to travel to Point Loma, California, before the pandemic hit, and the full teams were slated to compete at Tufts after spring break.
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