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Courtesy: Jonathan Anderson
The baseball team pauses during a community service project to take a photo with some of the locals in the Dominican Republic.

Baseball Blog on Trip to Dominican Republic

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 12/09/2012
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Saturday, Dec. 1

Dartmouth concluded its Dominican Republic tour with a 7-7 tie against the Boston Red Sox academy team. Senior Michael Johnson and sophomore Jay Graham shined on the mound for the Big Green, and the offense had a strong performance, accumulating 11 hits.

The left-handed Johnson from Georgetown, Mass., tossed four shutout innings against his hometown Red Sox. In those four innings of work, he scattered two hits and struck out one.

Shaking hands with Red Sox
Dartmouth finished up its Dominican tour against the Red Sox academy squad.

The offense broke through in the fourth after two quick outs. Freshman Joe Purritano singled to left for the first of his two hits on the day, then was followed by Adam Gauthier who drew a walk. With Purritano and Gauthier occupying first and second, sophomore catcher Matt MacDowell singled to left-center to put Dartmouth ahead 1-0.

In the sixth stanza, Dartmouth sent 11 hitters to the plate and scored six times. Second baseman Thomas Roulis started the uprising with a walk, and senior Ennis Coble singled to right. Roulis came all the way around to score and Coble advanced to third base due to an error by the right fielder. First baseman Dustin Selzer then lined a single to plate Coble. Back-to-back singles by sophomore Nick Lombardi and Purritano loaded the bases before Gauthier drove a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Selzer and advancing Lombardi to third. Center fielder Nick Ruppert walked to load the bases once again, and junior Ryan Toimil delivered a two-run single. Shortstop Matt Parisi finished off the Big Green scoring with an RBI single to center to score Ruppert.

Sophomore Jay Graham came on to relieve Michael Johnson in the fifth. An infielder by trade, Graham threw three strong innings, scattering three hits while punching out one. 

With the 7-7 tie in the finale against the Red Sox, Dartmouth finishes its second trip to the Dominican Republic with 4-2-2 record. The Big Green will travel back to Hanover on Sunday and the players will head home for the holidays before returning to Dartmouth in January for the winter term to prepare for the 2013 season and a sixth consecutive Red Rolfe Division Title.

The Big Green would like to thank everyone who made this trip possible. It was a lifetime experience for the players, as they learned a great deal about Dominican Republic culture, plus gained an appreciation for the opportunities that they have. A sincere thanks to the New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox for their generosity and hospitality.

For those who have been following the blog, we appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park during our 2013 season!

Friday, Nov. 30

Dartmouth got back to its winning ways with a 2-0 win in the second of two games against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Big Green were led by the pitching of starter Mitch Horacek, and relievers Mike Danielak and Duncan Robinson, as well as timely hitting by sophomore Thomas Roulis and freshman Nick Ruppert.

Horacek was strong in his second outing of the Dominican tour, throwing three shutout innings while allowing only two hits and striking out five. With his five punchouts today, he finished the trip with seven, while being the starter in two of Dartmouth's four wins thus far.

Touring Santo Domingo
Dartmouth took the time to tour Santo Domingo on Friday afternoon following its 2-0 victory over the Pirates academy team.

After Horacek's performance, Danielak took the mound and tossed two shutout innings, allowing only one base runner. The freshman from Illinois proved to be an effective reliever in both of Horacek's starts, pitching a combined five innings without allowing a run.

The Big Green offense took charge of the game in the sixth. Freshman shortstop Trent Goodrich led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by the center fielder Ruppert. After a ground out by sophomore right fielder Bo Patterson, which moved Goodrich to third, Roulis lined a two-out base hit to left to give the Big Green the lead, 1-0.

Dartmouth added an insurance run in the top of the eighth to go ahead 2-0. The offense capitalized on back-to-back walks to freshman catcher Adam Gauthier and Goodrich. With runners on first and second, Ruppert singled to left to score Gauthier.

Duncan Robinson threw three hitless innings to pick up the save. The only trouble Robinson faced was in his first inning of relief when the leadoff hitter reached on an error. After a quick strikeout, Robinson escaped trouble thanks to Roulis and Goodrich turning an inning-ending double play. Robinson struck out two, running his total to a team-leading eight whiffs.

The Big Green played one of its most complete games of the tour with the 2-0 victory being the first shutout of the trip. Dartmouth's freshmen played very well, as Gauthier and Goodrich accounted for both runs, Ruppert had an RBI single, and Danielak and Robinson threw five shutout innings to earn the win and save, respectively.

The team spent Friday afternoon touring Santo Domingo, including the Palace of Diego Columbus, the son of Christopher Columbus. Dartmouth is now 4-2-1 on the trip and will conclude its tour with the finale on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox academy team in Guerra.

Thursday, Nov. 29

Dartmouth's offense came alive in Game 6 of the trip and the first of two games against the Pittsburgh Pirates Dominican Academy. The Big Green accounted for 11 hits and seven runs with eight of the 10 batters that came to the plate recording a hit, while each one reached base. In a game that saw multiple Dartmouth rallies stopped due to pitch count limits for the Pirates, the game ended in a 7-7 tie.

Senior Kyle Hunter picked up where he left off after his last start against the Padres, throwing four shutout innings, giving up only one hit and striking out two. Hunter was in command from the start, getting ahead of nine of the 12 hitters he faced. Kyle gave up a leadoff hit in the first inning, but proceeded to pick the runner off second base and retired the next 11 hitters he faced.

Dartmouth got on the board in the fourth inning when Ennis Coble led off with a walk and Dustin Selzer followed with a single to left. Coble scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Nick Lombardi, and Selzer later scored on a grounder off the bat of catcher Matt MacDowell.

Ennis Coble batting
Ennis Coble enjoyed a perfect day at the plate against the Pirates Dominican Academy Team.

In the sixth, the Big Green put up three runs on the board. Coble again reached base to lead off the inning, this time getting hit by a pitch. With Coble running on a full count, Selzer drove a ball off the fence in right-center for a double to score Coble. Back-to-back singles by Lombardi and right fielder Ryan Toimil made the score 4-2 Dartmouth. With runners on first and second, Adam Gauthier executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, plus reached himself on an error. Lombardi later scored on a wild pitch to put the Green up by three runs.

Nick Nelson appearing in his first game on the tour, bridged the game by pitching the fifth and sixth inning and scattering two hits. Beau Sulser came on in the seventh to pitch the final three innings. Sulser allowed four hits and struck out one.

Dartmouth continued its hot hitting in the seventh, scoring two runs after two quick outs. Shortstop Matt Parisi singled to left and moved to second on a single by second baseman Thomas Roulis. After a wild pitch moved Roulis and Parisi up a base, Coble drove a base hit to left-center, scoring both.

Coble finished the day perfect at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs. Selzer had three hits, including an RBI double, while scoring two runs. Hunter finished his work on the tour with a combined seven shutout innings, four strikeouts and allowing only one hit.

Dartmouth will conclude its series with the Pirates tomorrow then finish its Dominican tour on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox.

Wednesday, Nov. 28

Dartmouth's three-game winning streak against Dominican academies came to an end today with a 5-4 loss against the Mets. The Big Green hitters faced five pitchers from the upper echelon of the Mets academy, all of whom threw upwards of 90 miles per hour. In addition, Dartmouth competed against current major league player Jordany Valdespin, who played 94 games in 2012 for the NY Mets as a utility player while hitting eight home runs.

Senior Cole Sulser continued his strong performance from game one by throwing three no-hit innings while striking out three Mets hitters, allowing no runs.

Big Green and Mets Academy Teams
The Mets Dominican Academy Team took the time to pose for a photo with the Big Green following the fourth and final game between the two squads.

The Dartmouth hitters came alive in the eighth as freshman Adam Gauthier led off the frame with his sixth walk of the trip, and sohpomore Matt Robinson singled to center field. The rally continued as sophomore Bo Patterson drew a walk, followed by an RBI grounder by senior Chad Piersma. Robinson scored later in the inning on a wild pitch.

The pitching performance by Sulser was matched by sophomore Thomas Olson, who threw three shutout innings starting in the seventh. Olson struck out two while sitting the final eight batters down in order.

The Big Green added on two runs in the ninth, but a second consecutive come-from-behind victory was stopped just short. The inning began with back-to-back singles by Ennis Coble and Nick Lombardi. After a sharp liner to center field by Jeff Keller was snared for an out, Ryan Toimil drew a walk. Coble then scored on a sacrifice fly by Gauthier. Robinson followed with an RBI single to score Lombardi.

Adam Frank pitched three innings, while striking out one hitter. Chad Piersma added to his RBI with a single to left field in the sixth inning.

Dartmouth will continue its Dominican tour in El Toro on Thursday and Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The final game of the trip will be played against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

Tuesday, Nov. 27

Dartmouth scored four runs in the top of the ninth to beat the Mets Baseball Academy, 6-5. The Big Green are now 3-1 on this trip and 2-1 against the Mets. They have four games left on their tour of major league baseball academies in the Dominican Republic.

Senior lefty Michael Johnson pitched the first three innings for Dartmouth and gave up two runs. The Mets got one in the first when Maiki De la Cruz singled to right and Alex Sanchez doubled down the right-field line. Johnson got the Mets in order in the second. In the third, the Mets scored their second run when Eris Peguero singled, stole second, headed to third on a wild pitch, and came home when catcher Matt MacDowell’s throw went into left field. MacDowell did throw out two other base runners in the third. In Johnson’s three innings of work, he gave up two runs, four hits, walked one, and struck out three.

Sophomore righthander Chris England pitched the middle three innings for Dartmouth. He got the Mets in order in the fourth but walked Mike Bernal to lead off the fifth. Anthony Chavez doubled to left to bring Bernal around and give the Mets a 3-0 lead. Second baseman Matt Parisi turned a double play to end the Mets’ threat in the sixth. England struck out three and gave up one run in his three-inning stint.

Team meeting down the line
Coach Whalen chats with his team before taking on the Mets Academy Team.

The Met pitchers shut Dartmouth out on two hits through the first five innings, but center fielder Nick Ruppert walked to lead off the sixth. Right fielder Bo Patterson singled up the middle to put two on with no outs, and Parisi bunted the runners to second and third. Shortstop Trent Goodrich’s grounder to short brought Ruppert home to make it 3-1. Patterson scored Dartmouth’s second run when the Met catcher threw the ball into left while trying to pick Patterson off third.

Junior Mike Dodakian came on to pitch with Dartmouth trailing 3-2 in the seventh. Dartmouth’s second double play of the day ended a threat in the seventh, and Dodakian bore down and got the Mets out with two on in the eighth.

The Big Green still trailed 3-2 entering the top of the ninth. MacDowell led off with a hard shot that the Mets’ first baseman could not handle. Third baseman Jay Graham walked and DH Adam Gauthier loaded the bases with a single to right. Patterson’s grounder to third was muffed and MacDowell came home to tie the game at 3 before Parisi reached on an error by the shortstop to score Graham for a 4-3 lead.

Dartmouth got a pair of insurance runs when Goodrich doubled to left-center, plating Gauthier and Patterson.

Those runs proved to be important when the Mets got two back in the ninth on two singles and a double to left. But with one out and the tying run on second, Dodakian closed out the game with a grounder to short and a strikeout.

Dartmouth got six runs on 10 hits, two by left fielder Ryan Toimil. Goodrich had three RBIs to help Dodakian earn the win.

A total of twelve Dartmouth pitchers have pitched three innings each in the first four games. The top of the rotation comes around on Wednesday in the final game against the Mets. Cole Sulser, Adam Frank and Thomas Olson are scheduled to pitch three innings each.

The Big Green play against the Pirates Academy on Thursday and Friday, then finish their tour with a game against the Red Sox Academy on Saturday.

Monday, Nov. 26

Dartmouth got 11 runs on nine hits to beat the New York Mets’ Academy Team 11-6 in the third game of their baseball tour in the Dominican Republic. The Big Green are now 2-1 on the trip with five games to go.

Junior Mitch Horacek got the start for Dartmouth. The big lefthander from Colorado, who has posted a 7-5 record in 19 starts over two years, did not get much help from his teammates in the first inning as two infield errors led to two unearned runs. Horacek helped himself out of the jam with a spectacular diving catch of a bunt in foul territory. He got sharper as the game progressed and set down the Mets in order in the third. He gave up two hits and two unearned runs in his three innings of work.

Dartmouth got two runs in the first and two more in the second to take an early 4-2 lead. Shortstop Matt Parisi walked with one out in the first and came around on right fielder Ennis Coble’s double to right. Third baseman Nick Lombardi doubled to left, bringing Coble home.

Nick Ruppert
Nick Ruppert delivered two hits and two RBIs in the 11-6 win over the Mets’ academy team.

Freshman Adam Gauthier, serving as the designated hitter, led off the second with a walk and scored on center fielder Nick Ruppert’s double to left. Catcher Chad Piersma moved Gauthier over with a bounder to the right side, and second baseman Thomas Roulis got an RBI with a grounder to the left side that was muffed by the Mets’ shortstop.

Freshman pitcher Michael Danielak came in to start the fourth and walked the first two batters he faced. The big righthander from Illinois settled down and got the next three Mets with a lot of help from his catcher when Piersma dove to catch a foul bunt. Danielak set the Mets down in order in the fifth and gave up two hits but no runs in the sixth. Danielak finished his day allowing two hits, two walks and no runs while striking out two in his three-inning debut.

Dartmouth got two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. Gauthier and Ruppert walked to lead off the fourth. Piersma’s single to center brought Gauthier home, and an errant pickoff attempt at third let Ruppert score easily.

Coble walked to lead off the fifth, first baseman Dustin Selzer singled to left and Lombardi walked to load the bases. Left fielder Matt Robinson’s grounder to the left side brought Coble home, and pinch hitter Matt MacDowell singled to right to bring Selzer plateward.

Dartmouth added another three runs in the seventh to stretch their lead to 11-2. Selzer walked and Lombardi stroked his second double of the day to put runners at second and third. Joe Purritano went the other way to bring Selzer in with a liner to left. Robinson’s sacrifice fly to center brought in Lombardi, and Ruppert’s single to left sent Puritamo home.

Freshman Duncan Robinson came on to pitch the seventh for Dartmouth. The Mets put together two doubles, two singles and a walk to score four and make it 11-6 after seven innings.

Robinson got the Mets out in order in the eighth and ninth innings, and he ended up with six strikeouts in his three innings of work.

Selzer, Ruppert, and Lombardi each had two hits for Dartmouth, and Lombardi, Robinson and Ruppert each had two RBIs. Nine Dartmouth pitchers have given up a total of just six earned runs in three games.

The Big Green return to the Mets Academy again on Tuesday for game four of their tour. Michael Johnson, Mike Dodakian and Chris England are scheduled to pitch three innings each.

Sunday, Nov. 25

After watching a Dominican Winter League game on Saturday night in Santo Domingo, Dartmouth traveled to the San Diego Padres’ Baseball Academy on Sunday for the second game of their Dominican tour.

The Padres Academy, a product of Sandy Alderson’s ’69 tenure as president of the Padres, is a remarkable baseball facility overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the hills of San Cristobal. The Padres, as they did on Dartmouth’s Dominican tour four years ago, were great hosts who made all of their facilities available to the Big Green.

Dartmouth was hoping they could bring their bats to life after a 2-1 loss to the Mets in their opener on Saturday. The Big Green had no trouble putting runners on base against the Mets but left 12 men on, including 10 in scoring position.

Dartmouth was also hoping to get another well-pitched game against the Padres. Senior Kyle Hunter, junior Louis Concato, and freshman Beau Sulser were each scheduled to pitch three innings for the Big Green.

Nick Lombardi home run swing
Nick Lombardi crushed a long home run to left with this swing.

The answer to the hitting question came early. Sophomore Thomas Roulis and freshman Trent Goodrich walked to open the game and junior Dustin Selzer was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Captain Jeff Keller brought Roulis home with a grounder to the right side before sophomore Nick Lombardi crushed a three-run, 415-foot homer to left that brought the Dartmouth dugout to its feet. The Big Green led 4-0 after the first.

Dartmouth got two more in the third. Goodrich walked and stole second, then came around on senior Ennis Coble’s single to right. Selzer’s hard double to the left-field corner brought Coble around.

Darmouth made it 7-0 with another run in the fourth after loading the bases on freshman catcher Adam Gauthier’s single to left and walks to rookie Nick Ruppert and sophomore Matt Robinson. A Roulis single to right brought Gauthier home for the 7-0 lead.

Dartmouth’s pitching was equally impressive against a Padres lineup that included a few highly regarded prospects. Senior Kyle Hunter, 10-7 in his three years as a starter for the Big Green, had two strikeouts and was perfect in three innings of work. Junior Louis Concato, 5-1 in 18 appearances and six starts over two years, gave up one run and struck out four in the middle three innings.

Freshman Beau Sulser, the younger brother of ace Cole Sulser, pitched three shutout innings to close the game out. Six Dartmouth pitchers have now given up a total of three runs in 18 innings of work.

Dartmouth had nine hits on the day, including two by Gauthier, but the one they will remember was Lombardi’s three-run blast in the first that gave them a lead that was never challenged.

Dartmouth returns to the Mets’ Academy on Monday and Tuesday for games three and four of the tour. The tour continues later in the week with games against the Pirates and Red Sox. Still waiting to pitch for the Big Green are veteran starters Michael Johnson and Mitch Horacek, relievers Mike Dodakian and Chris Young, and freshmen Michael Danielak and Duncan Robinson.

Padres' facility
The beautiful facilities at the San Diego Padres’ academy were made available to the Big Green.

Saturday, Nov. 24

In December of 2008, the Dartmouth baseball team traveled to the Dominican Republic for its first-ever overseas trip. The Big Green went 6-2 in games against baseball academy teams from the Mets and Padres. It was no coincidence that the Big Green won the next four Red Rolfe Division titles, two Ivy League championships, and made two trips to the NCAA baseball tournament.

NCAA rules permit an overseas trip every four years. So early Thanksgiving morning, with fall term finals done, Dartmouth baseball departed once again for the Dominican Republic to play eight games against academy teams representing the Mets, Padres, Pirates and Red Sox.

Almost all major league teams now have baseball academies in the Dominican. The facilities include fields, pitching mounds, batting cages, weight rooms, training rooms, meeting rooms, cafeterias and dormitories. Young Dominican players spend their first year in professional baseball at the academies. They train, go to school, and play a full season of games. The goal is to teach the skills required to succeed in professional baseball so that the transition to life on the mainland is easier.

The New York Mets has hosted Dartmouth on both trips. Sandy Alderson ‘69, the Mets’ general manager, made their facilities available. Dartmouth had their own practice field and access to the weight room and other facilities. The Mets’ “clubbies” washed the Dartmouth uniforms, kept the water cooler full and transported the equipment.

Both trips were made possible by the generosity of John “Goose” Gleason ‘76. Gleason, a part owner of the Detroit Tigers’ New York-Penn League Class A team in New London, Conn., said “I have always been a baseball fan and I really appreciate the way Coach Whalen focuses on character development and peak performance. I have been fortunate in life and I thought it appropriate to reward Coach Whalen’s program. Four years ago, we discussed an overseas trip and the Dominican made sense. The first trip was so successful that the boys earned a second trip.”

Day two began with an early morning practice at the Mets academy. The afternoon included a community service day in Boca Chica arranged by Major League Baseball’s development program in the Dominican. The Big Green spent the afternoon at the beach working with at-risk children and their counselors, dancing the Chulie-Chulie, and then walking in a march for children’s rights. The biggest smiles came when the young Dominicans put on their Dartmouth baseball caps and saw their new equipment.

Day three began with an early practice at the Mets complex. Practice was followed by a graduation ceremony for several young Mets who received their high school degrees. Many Dominican baseball players drop out of school long before graduation and the Mets have made education a part of their development program. The Mets asked the Big Green to participate in the ceremony and the speakers, including Coach Whalen, congratulated the graduates and thanked Sandy Alderson for his vision.

It was finally time for the first game of the tour. Cole Sulser, Adam Frank and Thomas Olson each went three innings for the Big Green. Sulser, 15-3 in his first three years at Dartmouth, proved he is all the way back in his first outing since elbow surgery in 2011. Sulser gave up no hits, struck out three, and only allowed one base runner in his three innings of work.

Dartmouth got two runners on in the third, fourth, and fifth but could not bring any of them around. Ryan Toimil singled to left with two down in the fifth, but a great throw just caught Matt MacDowell at the plate.

Adam Frank, 4-1 as a freshman last spring, set the Mets down in the fourth. Ortega singled for the Mets with two outs in the fifth and stole second. Third baseman Nick Lombardi ‘15 fielded a hard grounder down the line but his throw pulled Selzer off the bag at first. Selzer charged across the infield to get Ortega in a rundown between third and home, but the Met escaped to score the first run of the game.

Matt Parisi walked to open the sixth and Thomas Roulis beat out a roller to third to put two on with no one out. A fielder’s choice, a strikeout, and a walk loaded the bases with two out but co-captain Jeff Keller flied out to end the Dartmouth threat.

Frank set the Mets down in the sixth to finish his three innings. He gave up an unearned run on five hits and a walk. MacDowell threw out his third runner of the game from behind the plate to help end the Mets’ threat.

Olson, who posted a 1.69 ERA in 37 innings of work last spring, came on to open the seventh. He put down the Mets in order in the both the seventh and eighth.

The Big Green tied the game at one in the top of the ninth. Keller was hit by a pitch and went to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, rookie Nick Ruppert grounded to second for what looked like the final out, but the second baseman threw away an easy out and Keller came around to tie the score.

The Mets scored the winner in the bottom of the ninth when Zabala singled to short and came around on a double by Urena. Olson took the loss for Dartmouth.

The Big Green travel Sunday to the Padres academy in San Cristobal for the second game of their tour.

Baseball team at pro Dominican game
After playing the Mets' academy team, Dartmouth took in a game between the Tigres del Licey and the Gigantes.

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