This past weekend, Jonathan Santucci ’21 hit two home runs, driving one beyond right field and into the construction site of the new Pan Athletic Center in Andover Baseball’s three game sweep against Pingree. The team’s record now stands at 10-0.
Heading into its games against Pingree, the team had the expectation that they would play more strongly than Pingree on the field. Despite this, the team looked to maintain its sportsmanlike attitude and put forth its best effort, according to Head Coach Kevin Graber.
“We had the sense that we’re a stronger team than Pingree, so the goal was to focus less on the score and more on what it means to us to play hard – to run everything out, sprint on and off the field, and play with energy and enthusiasm at all times,’ wrote Coach Graber in an email to The Phillipian.
In the week leading up to these games, the team worked on batting under the pressure of two strikes. According to Head Coach Kevin Graber, the hard work the team put in at practice translated to success on the field.
Coach Graber wrote, “We worked this week on hitting with two strikes, and it paid dividends, as we kept our strikeouts to a minimum and had some really good at-bats all weekend, especially Jonathan Santucci ’21, who’s hitting is really starting to come around the way we hoped it would. He hit a homerun on Saturday that cleared the fence in right field and landed in the Pan Athletic Center construction site.”
Defeating Pingree 4-0, 6-0, and 11-3, the team had impressive play from all around the field, according to Thomas McAndrews ’22.
McAndrews said, “I think we played really good defense, the pitchers threw strikes, we controlled the game. We kind of dominated that aspect, and then in hitting, we were just all over the pitchers–hitting doubles, home runs, singles, we were just smashing the ball. So I think in every aspect this weekend, we just overall played very well.”
Over the course of the season, the team has seen exceptional levels of support through the leadership of the upperclassmen on the team, according to Coach Graber.
Coach Graber wrote, “This is a super supportive team. In baseball, it’s rare that everyone has their best game on the same day. Some players excel, while others struggle. We do a great job supporting one another and picking up the slack when a teammate’s having a rough day on the field. L.J. Keevan, Jonathan Santucci, and Jack Penney, Sebastian Mexico, and Jack Palfrey have been exceptional in this regard.”
McAndrews shared a similar sentiment, noting the brotherhood the team has built and the improvement the team has seen over the course of the season.
McAndrew said, “I would say over the course of the season, we’ve definitely become closer as brothers and teammates, and I think everyone apart of the team is really close with each other. So the first thing I would say would definitely be a brotherhood aspect. And obviously over the course of the season, we’ve gotten better on the field, hitting, defense, pitching. But I think the most important part is us just coming together and having as much fun as possible on the field.”
With the success Andover has found on the field this year, the team looks to continue excelling in all aspects of the game and improve its hitting, according to McAndrews.
McAndrews said, “There’s always stuff we can work on, we probably could have hit the ball better and scored more runs. But at the end of the day, we got the job done, we won all three of our games. So now we’re just onto the next, we’re focusing on this weekend and what we can do better and stop making those small mistakes… I think our pitches are gonna keep on doing what they’re doing. Defensively, we’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing. Errors are going to come, but we’re going to try to limit those. Hitting wise, we’re just gonna continue to work on our two strike approach, keep hitting the ball in play. We’re gonna work on hitting for the most part, that’s kind of been our weakness this year. So we’re just trying to do what we can hitting wise.”
Andover will look to maintain its undefeated record in a doubleheader at home against Winchendon this Saturday.