Four years ago, the baseball team finished in the basement of the Gehrig division, taking last place honors in the division for the third straight year.
Four years later the Red’s graduating class of seniors William Pauly, Matt Goodson, Josh Foster, Michael Hudson, Mike Weiss, and co-captains Seth Gordon and Rocky Collis have played a crucial part in the Red’s baseball renaissance – helping to bring the East Hill its first Gehrig division title last year and transform a foundering program into a strong Ivy contender.
“They were a group that we saw coming in that they had a lot of talent,” said head coach Tom Ford. “They’ve contributed every year that they’ve been here. … I’m just really proud that they’ve been a part of our program.”
While each of the seven seniors have made their own unique contributions, collectively this core of veterans has changed the culture of Cornell baseball.
“This group of seniors is probably the nicest group of people you will ever meet,” said sophomore center fielder Brian Kaufman. “Their hard work and dedication to the Cornell baseball program has really rubbed off on the younger guys, including myself. Their work ethic has really set the tone for the younger guys and that work ethic is going to be passed down for years to come.”
The consensus pick for embodiment of that work ethic by his coaches and teammates, Hudson has not seen many innings in his career as Red pitcher. Although Hudson’s contributions to the team are the kind that don’t show up in the box score his effort and commitment to the program has not gone unnoticed.
“I don’t think you’ll ever find a guy that works harder than [Hudson] does. He gave a lot to this program just by being the person that he is,” Ford said. “I can’t say enough good things about Mike and how much he’s sacrificed to be with the team. He hasn’t necessarily got the innings, but certainly he’s played a large role in this whole program.”
A transfer from the University of Michigan, Foster was the team’s starting center fielder during last season’s Gehrig title run, and pounded a clutch RBI-triple in Cornell’s 4-3 win over Princeton to clinch the division. Limited in his senior year by a broken wrist, Foster still managed to appear in six games pinch running and started in the Red’s final game against Princeton last Sunday.
“He was a guy that came into the games when he probably shouldn’t have even been playing because of his wrist and he stole a couple of bases when we needed to move some runners over into scoring position,” Kaufman said.
Defensively and offensively, Cornell has benefited from the catching duo of Goodson and Pauly, both of whom were clutch peformers in Cornell’s Gehrig division showdown with Princeton last season.
Transferring from Vanderbilt after his freshman year, Pauly was given the Dr. Albert H. Sharpe Award for the team’s most valuable player. Despite suffering an injury to his vision after getting hit with a ball while playing summer ball inbetween his sophomore and junior years, Pauly bounced back this season to lead the team in batting with a .345 average
Pauly’s counterpart at the plate, Goodson has been a starting catcher for four years at Cornell.
“He’s a guy that really knows the game well, and just did a great job at a catcher for us,” Ford said.
Known for calling a good game, Goodson has helped manage and develop many of Cornell’s hurlers, developing a special rapport with junior pitcher Blake Hamilton.
“Goodson handles our pitching staff really well,” Kaufman said. “His knowledge of the game and his on the field leadership is definitely going to be missed.”
Batting cleanup for Cornell, first baseman Weiss boasted the second best batting average (.333) on the team this season, and was possibly even more impressive in the field where, he made numerous defensive saves for the Red.
“He just has a knack for picking balls up out of the dirt,” Kaufman said. “He made so many outs for us that other guys wouldn’t have made.”
As for ace pitcher Collis and second baseman Gordon, not much can be said that hasn’t already been written about the four year starters, two-time captains, and All-Ivy nominees.
However, one story remains about Gordon which has yet to be told – that of Gordon’s long-suffering hat which has more salt stains on it than 1986 Volvo after an Ithaca winter.
“Now that I’m retired I can say that my biggest superstition is not telling people my supersititions,” Gordon said. “The hat’s never been washed. I’ve worn it every practice and every game, and it’s something I’m going to be able to put on my wall and cherish. It’s a sign of my hard work at school and a reminder of all my friends and teammates.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Assistant Sports Editor