Though the baseball team remained in the race until the last weekend of the season, the bats of Brown bested the Elis’ formidable pitching staff. The Bears took three of four from the Bulldogs in the last series of the year, leaving Yale in third place to end the season.
“It was disappointing to lose the last two against Brown,” Zac Bradley ’06 said. “It was a weird day – I thought we were the better team overall, but we just didn’t score enough runs. But it wasn’t a completely somber finish because we were able to take away a lot of positives from the season.”
One of these positive results was the Bulldogs’ record (23-17), which was the best since 1993. And despite a somewhat disappointing finish, the Elis’ record was not the only bright spot at the end of the 2005 season.
Josh Sowers ’05 was named Ivy League Pitcher of the Year and was one of six Bulldogs to earn postseason Ivy League Honors. Sowers led the Ancient Eight with a 2.10 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 60 innings.
“Josh was dominant the whole year,” catcher Eric Rasmussen ’06 said. “He consistently made great pitches, kept us in games, and was just phenomenal. He was expected to pitch well and he did well beyond what he was expected to do, so he definitely deserves the honor.”
First baseman Marc Sawyer ’07 and designated hitter Justin Ankney ’07 were selected to the All-Ivy first team along with Sowers. Sawyer made the first team after being selected to the second team last year, finishing the season with a team-leading .353 batting average. Sawyer also tied a team record with 16 doubles on the year and was named Yale’s Most Valuable Player.
Ankney, who earned honorable mention last year as a second baseman, closed out the season with an eight-game hitting streak to finish with a .321 average. Ankney also hit four home runs over the last week of the campaign to end with five and led the team with 26 RBI.
Third baseman Matt Stone ’06 was selected to the All-Ivy second team after batting .319 with 24 RBI and 23 runs scored in 2005. Stone also struck out just nine times in 142 at bats.
Right fielder John Janco ’06 and closer Brett Rosenthal ’07 earned All-Ivy honorable mention with two strong seasons. Janco led the Elis with seven homers from the cleanup spot, and his .674 slugging percentage in league play ranked second in the Ivies. Rosenthal was dominant in his role as the Bulldogs’ fireman, fanning 21 in 18.2 innings while notching four saves.
On May 5, the Elis elected Alec Smith ’06 team captain for the 2006 season. Smith was Yale’s second-best starter in 2005, going 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA. Smith and Sowers tied for the league lead with 5 complete games.
The team believes Smith will be just as impressive in his role as captain as he is on the mound.
“Alec is going to do a great job,” Rasmussen said. “This team can do a lot of special things next year, and we just need to make sure we’re there mentally. Alec is the guy to do that — everyone respects him.”
The team is expects to continue its winning ways in 2006 despite the loss of Sowers, Colin Ward-Henninger ’05, and captain C.J. Orrico ’05.
“Obviously it’s tough to lose guys like that, but we still think we have a good shot at winning the championship next year if we continue to improve,” Bradley said.