Playoffs bittersweet for Lions

by Beacon Staff • April 25, 2007

Although the team lost its first-round playoff game to Rivier College, 14-4, the Lions scored a victory in making the playoffs in their first season back at the varsity level, justifying the school's decision to move them up from their previous status as a club team.,Despite a first-round loss in the playoffs, Emerson's baseball team proved this year it belonged playing against the big boys of Division III.

Although the team lost its first-round playoff game to Rivier College, 14-4, the Lions scored a victory in making the playoffs in their first season back at the varsity level, justifying the school's decision to move them up from their previous status as a club team. Coach David Hanley, the architect of the team's renaissance, said he was very pleased by the squad's showing this season.

"Our only goal was to get to the playoffs," Hanley said. "We won five conference games and beat four different conference teams. Our whole team performed very well."

Senior Co-Captain Drew Sumner agreed that the season was a victory for the program.

"It's really big," he said. "I'm not sure what people expected of us, but the whole team expected to go in and compete. It feels good to accomplish that goal."

Just as important for the team is the effect the year will have on future seasons. Hanley said the team's performance makes the program more appealing for prospective recruits.

"Two things are really important for recruiting," Hanley said. "Playing a 30-game schedule is important, and we would have if we didn't have so many rainouts. Also, [recruits] will see we finished number five in the conference. That shows we're a legit varsity program."

The loss marked the final game for seven senior players. Senior Co-Captain Lucas Einstein, who has been with the program since it initially lost its varsity status after a miserable 1-28 season three years ago, said being able to compete in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference was very special for the team.

"This was a major goal and a major stepping stone for the program," Einstein said. "The program and the team are set up for good things next year."

The Lions struggled down the stretch, losing five of six games over the final weekend of the season. On Friday, they lost twice to Suffolk University, 8-2 and 11-3, respectively. Saturday against Western New England College, the team suffered a pair of drubbings to the tune of 16-2 and 11-1. However, Sunday proved to be a little better, with an 11-8 victory over Johnson and Wales, coming before a 17-4 shellacking in the second game.

Emerson finished the season with a record of 7-19 overall and 5-9 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

Einstein was pleased with the team's performance this season.

"This was huge for the program," Einstein said. "We made the playoffs. We beat out two other conference teams. We were competitive in our conference. There were more than a number of positive things that came out of the season."