Oberlin Baseball Hits the Record Books

Shuntaro Shirota

The best baseball team in Oberlin history? With a roster full of underclassmen, it may have sounded delusional a few months ago, but this year’s baseball team is the finest squad in school history, breaking the record for most wins in a season. Their 19­–18 record edged out the 2010 team’s record of 18–19. Perhaps even more impressive is that they qualified for postseason play for the first time ever, and they currently wait to battle at the Crossover Games this weekend, on May 4.

“It’s my first year, but it feels pretty awesome to be able to say that we were the best team in Oberlin College history,” said first-year pitcher Jessie Kohler.

Looming ahead for the Yeomen is a first time trip to the “Cross-Over” Games, which will determine which four teams will make it to the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament. “It feels great, but we still have a lot to build on. We’re not done yet,” said sophomore infielder Jeff Schweighoffer.

NCAC baseball features two conferences, the East and West, both of which have five teams. The top four teams out of each conference make the “Cross-Over” Games, and out of these eight schools, four qualify to compete in the NCAC tournament. The Yeomen placed third in the East, but this wasn’t before some anxious waiting. Their rival, Kenyon College, had yet to play their final two games, and had they won both, their record would have tied Oberlin’s. Fortunately, Kenyon fell short in both contests, which meant that the Yeomen safely locked up the third seed in the East.

Seeding determined whether the Yeomen would face the best or second best team from the West. With Kenyon’s losses, Oberlin will face Wittenberg University, a team that the Yeomen have not yet played this season.

Kohler explained that despite being a young team and never having faced this particular opponent it doesn’t necessarily hurt their chances. “Just like how we’ve never faced their pitching and their hitting this year, they haven’t either. So I think it kind of balances itself out.”

“Its important to remain calm and just keep doing what we’ve been doing. They’re just another opponent,” Schweighoffer added.

This confidence is the main source of strength the Yeomen are drawing on as they prepare for the upcoming weekend. The team was able to end the season on a great note, with a come-from-behind victory in extra innings against Ohio Northern University. Schweighoffer’s single in the 10th inning sent pinch runner first-year Nathaniel Wehr home for the game-winning run. But prior to this hit, many Yeomen contributed to Oberlin’s rally. Sophomore Andrew Hutson capped off his impressive season by going 2–5 with 4 RBIs. Kohler threw two no-hit innings and first-year Blaise Dolcemaschio had a great day going 2–3 at the plate. With a complete team effort in their season finale, the Yeomen showed what they are capable of as a unit.

“I’ve thought all year that the baseball team is one of the closest groups at the school. We’re always hanging out. Team camaraderie is very good,” Schweighoffer said.

This close-knit squad is making sure they stay rested and mentally focused as they attempt to make Oberlin’s first appearance in the postseason a memorable one.