“Probably a little too well,” he said. “But that disappointment is what makes this all the more satisfying to me.”
Today, Stuper’s Bulldogs made amends for last year’s ninth-inning meltdown that cost his boys the Ivy League championship and the first trip to the NCAAs since 1994. For those who don’t recall, the Elies had a 1-0 lead in game three at Princeton going into the ninth inning. But a leadoff hit, a few walks, a few wild pitches and an ejection of Stuper before the final batter of the game led to Yale losing 2-1 at Princeton.
This year, he can smile when he thinks about that day because his Yale Bulldogs blitzed Penn in two straight games at Yale Field on Tuesday afternoon, 5-0 and 11-7. With the wins Yale takes its first step into the Big Dance in 23 years.
But I couldn’t help but ask him if he had any thoughts about last year’s playoffs where the Blue & White won game one, lost game two and then had game three until the last inning meltdown.
“I don’t know if they thought about it, but I did,” said Stuper. “Before the season started I actually thought about getting shirts made up that said ‘Finish the Job’ and all that but then I had a long talk with James Jones, our basketball coach who had the same kind of thing happen to him a couple years ago where they lost two tough losses at the end of the year which knocked them out of a shot at going to the NCAA tournament. I said ‘How much did you talk to your team about that?’ and he said, ‘About five minutes… and that’s it.’ So that’s what I did too. After talking about it at our first practice I didn’t bring it up again all season.”
It didn’t matter. His Bulldogs certainly played like champions today. In game one, a 5-0 win, Bulldog ace Scott Politz tossed a complete game five-hitter and never let the Quakers have any kind of breathing room, tossing a very efficient 110 pitches and not giving the Quakers much hope after his offense got him a handful of runs in the mid-innings to put them up for good.