With men on first and second and the Lions trailing Gordon College 6-4 on March 24, Head Coach David Hanley made a call to the bench-a call that proved to be a game changer.
"Coach occasionally makes changes to get the match-ups he wants," said senior captain Pete Hall, a TV/Video major. "So I was on the bench, and he was like 'Pete, grab a bat.' So I grabbed a bat, and stepped into the box."
Hall then proceeded to crank the first pitch he saw deep over the left field fence, bringing three runs across the plate. Each one proved to be more important than the next, as the Lions snuck past Gordon College by a final score of 8-7.
Hall said he didn't immediately realize that his hit had cleared the fences.
"Honestly, I didn't know it was gone," Hall said. "I was hoping it would carry over the outfielder's head for a double, but when I saw [my teammates] Coity and Majdi running out onto the field, I knew it was out. Then I trotted home and enjoyed the glory."
Before the season started, Hall found himself battling for a spot on the starting roster, after spending last year as only a spot-sub and a bat off the bench. However, after posting a .571 average over the team's spring trip, any questions about the big lefty's bat were answered, and Hall has seen time in nine of the team's 12 games-being used as a designated hitter when the game allows for it.
"It's kind of cool to be having this success at the plate, especially in my senior year," said Hall. "I mean, we have a young team, a team that's maturing quite nicely as an entire group. It feels good to be a catalyst in our success and help in the development of our underclassmen. But the real story is how well we're doing as a team right now. It feels good, but it's all about the Ws."
Hall's success couldn't have come at a better time, as entering his senior year the captain had never had a starting spot on the squad. Being the only member of the 2009 Lions to have played back in 2005 when they were merely a club team, Hall has been with the organization a long time-and it's finally paying off.
Hall's success, combined with All-GNAC Player of the Week Peter Karl and sophomore Brian Kitson has given the Lions plenty of offense, as they sit atop the GNAC in a first-place tie with Suffolk.
"We've made big strides in the way our program operates as a baseball team," said Hall, quick to credit his coaches and teammates of the past.
"Coaches Hanley and James Taylor along with Alumni Zach Wintrow, Bryan Fennessey, and Kent Anderson helped bring the program from a 1-28 team to one that is now a serious playoff contender."
Hall's emergence as a power hitter has given some serious pop to a lineup that features seven freshmen, three of which have started all 12 of the Lions' games. With such a young team, it is more important than ever that the more experienced players like Hall pick up the slack.
"The bone-crusher's a great guy," said freshman infielder Austin Fontanella. "He's a great guy to have on and off the field, and it's great to see him hitting the ball the way he is now."
The players on the team aren't the only ones who are quick to compliment Hall's presence on the team.
"Pete has always been capable of hitting the fastball," said Hanley. "He's been getting up in situations where he's seeing a lot of fastballs. He's come up big in clutch situations for us. The guys on the team like Pete. He's been a combination of class clown, and class chaperone."
This combination could prove deadly for their GNAC foes, because if Hall continues to produce like he is right now, Emerson won't give up their number one seed easily.
"All I can try to do is stay loose, have fun, and keep doing what I'm doing," said Hall. "Bottom line is we want to win. Whatever I can do to help that is a bonus."