Baseball

Two NHC baseball players
Baseball players Fref F. Hayes & Fred W. Smith, 1897 team

Either Better Batters or Worse Pitchers

The 1897, the New Hampshire College team experienced one of the most unusual baseball seasons in history. The nine played seven games but only one score reads like modern tallies: Exeter Athletic Association 16, New Hampshire 2.

In the other six games, of which the college team won only one, New Hampshire amassed 241 runs to their opponents' 279. The highest scoring game was against Colby College, in which the Maine Mules squeezed out victory, 60 to 55. Other high scoring games included: Andover 34, NH 37; Bates 49, NH 40; Bowdoin 49, NH 33; Brewster Academy 49, NH 42.

Secret Stash

It was "Old Home Week" in 1935 when many of the university's best athletes returned to campus for the New Hampshire Banquet. During the inevitable round of stories, baseball coach Hank Swasey told this one about Ralph Brackett '18, who was then coaching baseball at Portsmouth High School.

Swasey noticed that the ball had rolled far into the underbrush, so when the teams changed sides, he hurried to the spot where Brackett had picked up the ball. Bushing aside some leaves, he discovered a half dozen baseballs hidden but still within reach.

Ralph played right field when he was not catching, and the home field had a short right field, with a thick underbrush, where baseballs had habit of disappearing with amazing frequency.

After a time, Brackett began to reappear more and more rapidly with the balls, and soon long drives were being held to singles.

On a day off, Swasey decided to investigate. He parked himself along the right foul line, and sure enough, a batter drove a long hit into the bushes. Brackett chased it, reappeared suddenly, and threw the runner out at second. Swasey noticed that the ball had rolled far into the underbrush, so when the teams changed sides, he hurried to the spot where Brackett had picked up the ball. Bushing aside some leaves, he discovered a half dozen baseballs hidden but still within reach.

Whatever You Say, Coach

Andy Mooradian '48 coached the UNH freshman baseball team for thirteen years. The game he remembers best is not one of the many he won: The UNH frosh led Exeter Academy 2–1 in the ninth. Exeter had two outs and two strikes on a batter who swung and missed a pitch in the dirt.

As the UNH catcher dug the ball up, the batter, still not out, broke for first. The frosh catcher, excitedly celebrating the apparent victory, did not notice. "Throw the ball, throw the ball," Mooradian shouted from the dugout. The catcher promptly threw the ball to Mooradian! Awarded second base on the overthrow, the Exeter boy scored on a blooper just over the infield to tie the game at 2–2.

Home Free

Earl E. Lorden, a distinguished coach of the University of Massachusetts baseball team tells this story.

UNH loaded the bases against their Bay State rivals and a Wildcat pounded a pitch over the right fielder's head. The ball rolled to the fence with the fielder in blazing pursuit. In fact, the UMass player was running so fast that he put his foot up to keep himself from crashing into the fence. His spikes got stuck in the fence. He could not free his foot and, with the ball just out of his reach, the UNH runners gleefully circled the bases.

Green Monster Memories

On a beautiful May afternoon in 1990, 400 fans accompanied the UNH baseball team to its game against Boston University. The team was on a seven-game winning streak, but better than that—with the Red Sox away on a West Coast road trip—the team was playing in Fenway Park!

"It's a dream come true for many of the kids," said coach Ted Conner before the game, gazing over the Green Monster toward the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square. Players, toeing the dirt in front of the third-base dugout, grinned at each other and spoke in hushed tones. All of the Wildcat players entered the game and had their chance to play. Keeping score was almost beside the point, but the Wildcats beat the Terriers, 13–4.