[Print] Dartmouth Baseball Excelling in 2013

The Dartmouth Review: Obviously you’ve been having a very successful season thus far; how does it feel compared to where you were at this point in the last couple of years?

Ryan Toimil: I think we have a really good chance this year to win the Ivy Championship. We returned most of our starting position players, which helps because we are experienced, and also have a really solid pitching staff that always keeps us in the game. Everyone on the team is very excited and working hard to keep improving as well. Overall we’re feeling great about our chances this year.

TDR: What were your expectations for this team at the beginning of the season and how has the team’s performance compared to them?

Toimil: We knew we would have a good team in all aspects of the game. Our strong start to the season boosted everyone’s confidence, especially as we beat Minnesota, a team that started an incredibly strong pitcher against us. I had high expectations for the team and we have lived up to them so far. We’ve hit a bit of a rough patch in the past couple weeks but we are recovering from it and still have a lot of confidence moving forward in our season. Our 19-4 win over Holy Cross on April 10th was a big confidence booster because we had been struggling with hitting a little bit until then.

 TDR: What is the team doing psychologically to get over the “hump” of losing in the finals last year and move forward?

 Toimil: If anything, the loss last year has motivated the team to play harder and better this year. We’ve learned not to underestimate any opposing teams and to give 100 percent in every game, but overall last year’s loss has only served as motivation for us this season. A key thing about this team is the chemistry between us; we’ve become as much a family as a team. This togetherness keeps everyone focused and on the same page as we work to reach our common goal of getting to and winning the championship. Everyone has put in the work and we have gotten really close over the course of the year in preparation for the season.

 TDR: Which team(s) do you see as the biggest remaining obstacle(s) for Dartmouth on the way to the championship?

 Toimil: The two teams we have lost to before in the finals are Princeton and Cornell, who are both consistently strong and are likely opponents for the Ivy League championship. Having played them before in the championships of previous years definitely brings out more emotion when we play these teams. We are currently in the middle of conference play and are playing four games this weekend against Brown. We need to go out and play well in these games because Brown is in our division, and beating them would really help us in our chances to reach the Ivy Championship. Yale and Harvard are the other two teams in our division and we will play series with them on the subsequent weekends.

 TDR: Are there any particular strengths this team has that are driving the success you’ve had so far?

 Toimil: This is a very balanced team that is strong in all areas. I play outfield, where we have a number of particularly strong players. Bo Patterson has done a great job coming off the bench and filling in at center field, and Jeff Keller and Ennis Coble are two of our most reliable hitters who always play with their hearts. The pitching squad has also been excellent this year. This team is very close off the field, which has really made a difference in winning games because it motivates us all to do our jobs and not be a weak link in the chain. We took a trip to the Dominican Republic together at the end of the fall, and it was a great team bonding experience. Everyone has a good attitude, which is also important for winning big games. We have a lot of depth, which is helpful when we run into injuries, and our confidence stemming from our experience and ability to compete with anybody is a big factor in being able to win consistently.

 TDR: Can you talk a little bit about the pitching rotation and why it is working so well this season?

 Toimil: Cole Sulser is our starter and is fully recovered from an injury he sustained during his junior year. This season, he’s been an absolutely dominant factor on the pitcher’s mound. We also have three lefties who all have different styles but are all very effective and can win games for us. Having a majority of left-handed pitchers is unusual and can make batting against us particularly difficult for opposing teams.

 TDR: Are there any standout freshmen that you expect to make a particularly important contribution as you work towards the championship?

 Toimil: All of the freshmen are playing and doing a very good job. Right now most of the spotlight is on upperclassmen because of the number of strong upperclassmen we have, but the freshmen are all working hard and taking advantages of the opportunities they are given. They’re going to ensure that we have a really strong team going forward. Nick Ruppert had been having a great year in the outfield until his injury, and all of the freshman pitchers we have show a lot of promise for the future.

 TDR: Is there anything else you would like to share?

 Toimil: We had our first televised game against Cornell last weekend on our field which was quite an experience. This was the first Ivy League game to be televised and we are proud to have had the opportunity to play in it. We’re very happy with this season and are doing things this year that Dartmouth baseball has never done before. For example, this is the first time in program history that Dartmouth has won 15 of its first 18 games, and we are very confident about our prospects moving forward to the championship.

— Paul F. Danyow