WATERVILLE — When Bowdoin starter Jason Bogdanos twirled the first pitch of the day plateward late Saturday morning, there was no guarantee either the Polar Bears or their in-state rivalColby would be still playing baseball after lunch. Such is the nature of double-elimination college baseball playoff tournaments.

Colby junior Matthew Scibilio spent the last three weeks entertaining the notion that he may have already beaten the rest of the Mules and Polar Bears to the season’s finish line. But when his number was finally called after an interminable wait, Scibilio was ready.

The junior lefty from Scituate, Massachusetts, tossed 2.1 scoreless innings in relief Saturday to lead Colby to a 14-7 win over Bowdoin in the loser’s bracket of the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship at Coombs Field.

Scibilio’s efforts meant that the Mules would don the spikes at least once more before the weekend was out.

“Mentally, I was trying to stay ready,” said Scibilio, who hadn’t pitched in a game since April 21. “I had been battling a little tendinitis in my shoulder, so it’s been a tough three weeks. I was waiting for this moment. I was ready. I didn’t want to say goodbye to any of the seniors just yet.

“I wanted to keep going.”


Staying in the moment isn’t easy, not when the script you penned at breakfast was chucked in a garbage bin before the first cup of coffee even had time to jolt you awake.

Colby starter Nick Thompson made it through the Bowdoin batting order only once, and Colby entered the third inning down a pair of runs. The Mules scored four in the third, a single run in the fourth and tacked on two more in the fifth to take a 7-4 lead.

Tom Rioux, the second of four Colby pitchers, bulled his way to the seventh having given up only a pair of runs in 4.1 innings of relief. Rioux ran into trouble in that seventh when he allowed three straight hits to begin the inning, setting the table for Greg Levins to enter and surrender a two-run, game-tying single to Polar Bear Kevin Murray.

“You see someone sprinting down the sideline telling you to get hot and start throwing,” Scibilio said. “In that case, someone came down and told me to start throwing. I didn’t have too much time, but it was enough time.”

The first batter Scibilio faced — pinch-hitter Aidan Carey — fouled off one two-strike pitch after another before Scibilio finally blew a third-strike fastball past him to end the threat, and the Colby bats went to work with six runs in the eighth and another in the ninth to turn it the seesaw affair into a laugher. The victory marked Colby’s fifth straight win over Bowdoin, its longest winning streak in program history against the Polar Bears.

“I felt a little bit of pressure there, but I knew the only way to get through it was to stay in my own head,” Scibilio said. “I had to be myself and go out there and shut it down.”


In the setting of a college baseball season, three weeks is an eternity.

It’s nearly a third of the schedule. And when you mix in New England spring weather — dosed with drizzle, blustery winds, bitter cold and even a snowflake or two sprinkled in for good measure — it’s not always conducive to nursing nagging arm injuries back to health.

After waiting through all of that, Scibilio wasn’t about to succumb to the moment.

Even if the bases were loaded in a tie ballgame with the loser packing away the balls, bats and gloves until next year.

Even if, when the day started, he wasn’t even sure he’d even be called into duty.

Saturday’s appearance was only the ninth of the season for Scibilio in a tournament marked by unlikely heroes and wild rollercoaster rides.


Less than 24 hours earlier, Colby saw a ninth-inning lead disappear thanks to a leadoff home run and a bases-loaded balk.

“We get to keep playing,” Colby head coach Jesse Woods said. “There is no second game (Saturday) unless you get the first one. (Scibilio) has been nails. He’s prepared the last couple of weeks to come back and do exactly what he did. The hard work pays off.”

It’s been a remarkable season for the Mules, who entered Saturday with a 24-11 record and in need of two wins to make it to Sunday’s championship round.

“We have a saying around here, to just go out and play loose and have fun,” said sophomore catcher Ethan Hillenburg, who went 4 for 6 with three doubles and five RBIs in the win. “Big moments get stressful. Bases loaded, no outs, it can get a little bit tense. But you always try to have fun and stay in the moment, because how much longer are you really going to get to do this?”

For the Mules, at least once more.

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