Colin Healy ’25
At last, baseball is back at Fitton Field. As the last of the snow melts, the College of the Holy Cross Crusaders will take the field in Worcester on Friday, March 18 against Northeastern. The team will have already played 17 times by the time Friday’s game rolls around, but game 18 will be the first of the year at Fitton. The prospect of baseball this time of year in New England always teases the arrival of spring and the ushering in of America’s favorite pastime. How can you not get excited?
HC baseball has already seen action in Alabama, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia, and posts a 3-13 record as of March 14. A quick glance at that record does not garner much excitement. Remember, though, it is only March. And on top of that, Patriot League play does not start until March 26. The season is young, and hopes are still high. There is plenty of time to shake off any remaining rust to make sure HC is ready for Navy on March 26.
The Crusaders concluded their warm weather schedule with a win last Sunday in Virginia against Richmond to avoid a Spider sweep. The non-conference games south of the Mason-Dixon line to begin the year are typical of the HC baseball schedule and allow for baseball when Fitton Field won’t. The conclusion of this stretch means Fitton is ready to welcome players and fans into the friendly confines.
The first home game of the year was originally scheduled for March 15 against Boston College, but a schedule change moved the game from Worcester to Brighton and the Eagles home field. After the Crusaders open up Fitton for the season, they will play another five games of non-conference ball before Patriot League play starts. Brown, UMass Amherst, and UMass Lowell round out the docket of games before HC heads to Annapolis and the Naval Academy.
First year Nick Wang comes into Fitton Field a two-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week. On the road trip, Wang slashed a team-leading .379 batting average and a 1.055 OPS. As of March 13, Wang’s 11 doubles on the season are tied for second in the country and only one behind the leader. Wang’s hot start has forced head coach Ed Kahovec’s hand, who has started Wang in 15 of the 16 games played so far. The first year has proven to be a difference maker in the lineup, and has become a bat the offense can rely on.
Nick Escoto is another Crusader who returns to Fitton with a hot hand. The senior right hander was named the Hilton Garden Inn Crusader of the Week from March 7 to 13. Escoto pitched five innings of relief against VMI on March 9, giving up only one hit and one earned run. The performance gave him his second save of the season. Coming out of the bullpen again against Richmond last Sunday, Escoto secured his first win of the season. The honor is no small feat, as Escoto established himself as the best of the week across all HC sports programs.
The days are getting longer and the sun is shining ever so slightly brighter. Worcester is not known for its consistency in weather this time of year, but on March 18, we will have baseball at Fitton Field. It’s time to rally around the diamond Crusaders.