Colby’s Cole Palmeri, right, is greeted by teammates at home plate after he belted a 3-run homer in the first inning of a game against Thomas College on Monday in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Four batters into a game Monday with Thomas College, the Colby baseball team was up by three runs on a home run by Cole Palmeri. Four batters later, it was was up by six runs after another long ball, this one off the bat of Charlie Furlong.

It was a sizzling start, and it was hardly an aberration. Colby’s bats have been cooking so far this season, and as a result, so have the Mules.

With Monday’s 22-7 victory over the Terriers, the Mules are now 12-3, matching their win total from all of last season. For Colby, the offense has been thriving. After hitting .277 as a team last season, the Mules came into Monday hitting a scorching .337. They slugged .392 collectively last season; this year, the number’s up to .474. Colby scored nine or more runs in a game six times in 22 games last season; it’s now happened eight times in 15 this spring.

“I think it’s a hitting culture that we’ve really been working to create here,” Colby coach Jesse Woods said. “These guys, they pass it on through each other. It doesn’t matter who goes in there. They’ve all got a great approach up there, they know what they’re trying to do, they’ve got good plans and they’re executing right now. And it’s contagious.”

The key to the success, Palmeri said, has been the approach at the plate.

“We’ve just been aggressive early in the counts, looking for fastballs, and we’re just doing what we’re supposed to do with them,” he said. “Just crush them. We’ve been doing that all year, and as you can tell it’s resulted in a lot of wins for us.”


The Mules have seen a surge at the plate without relying heavily on seniors. The one senior in the lineup Monday, designated hitter Cabot Maher (3-for-4, three runs Monday), is batting .316. But third baseman Brady O’Brien (3-for-4, three runs, three RBIs), batting .415 and leading the team with 20 RBIs, is a sophomore. Left fielder Genki LeClair (0-for-2, run), the No. 9 hitter despite a .400 average, is a junior. Catcher Palmeri (2-for-5, two runs, three RBIs), batting .362 with a team-high four home runs, is a sophomore.

And second baseman Clint Flippo, who went 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBIs Monday and was the team leader going in with a .417 average, is a freshman.

Colby College pitcher Charlie Jodka challenges a Thomas College hitter during a nonconference game Monday in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“It’s a really good culture with the program right now,” Woods said. “Whether it’s seniors or freshmen or sophomores or juniors going in there right now, they’re really focused on what they need to do to win games.”

The Mules are young, and they’re balanced. Every starter Monday took a .300 average or better into the game.

“We’ve got incredible depth on this team, and it’s a testament to the way our coach is recruiting and the amount of hard work that everybody has been putting into the offseason,” said Furlong, who went 3-for-4 with a team-high five RBIs Monday. “I was talking with one of my teammates during the game, we were saying that if we split our team in half and made two full teams on the field, we think both teams could compete and put a heck of a series together.”

The offense that has been dicing through the Mules’ opponents was on full display against their crosstown foes. Marcus Forrester (2-for-3, two runs) led off with a single and, after a fielder’s choice, Maher followed with another base hit. Palmeri needed to see only one pitch before unloading on a second with a shot that soared easily over the 367-foot sign in left-center field, giving Colby a quick three-run lead. The Mules weren’t done in the inning, as Drew Miller (2-for-4, three runs) tripled and scored on a Flippo sacrifice fly, and Furlong followed two batters later with a two-run shot to right field that pushed the lead to 6-0.


It was only the beginning of an offensive onslaught. O’Brien answered a Thomas run in the top of the second by tagging a home run to left in the bottom half, and he had a two-run single in the third to help Colby to four runs in the frame and an 11-1 lead.

The Terriers showed some punch of their own in the fourth as their first six batters reached safely, with Aaron Young (3-for-3, two runs), Ryan Kappelmann (2-for-4), Devin Grindle, Jake LaCroix and Jake Perry smacking singles to help Thomas cut the gap to 11-6. The hopes for a comeback were short-lived; Palmeri and Miller scored runs in the bottom of the fourth, and Furlong’s two-run single was the big hit in a five-run fifth that gave the Mules an 18-6 advantage.

It was just the latest impressive display from a team that, after winning 25 games over three years from 2017-19, is enjoying the feeling of victories again.

“We know we can compete with the best of the best,” Furlong said. “We’re just trying to keep the Mule train rolling.”

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