|Needham resident Sam Bean has been a force for Dartmouth's baseball team, which plays for the Ivy League title this weekend. (Dartmouth College)|
Bean helps extend Dartmouth streak
Sam Bean could not have picked a more opportune time to belt his first career home run at Dartmouth: the senior outfielder from Needham connected in the opener of a four-game series against Ivy League foe Harvard.
Playing on Senior Day before a home crowd in Hanover, N.H., the former Buckingham Browne & Nichols two-sport standout cleared the scoreboard in right center. His two-run shot gave the Big Green a 3-0 lead on the way to a 4-1 win, setting the tone for a four-game sweep last weekend.
“Sam was our leading hitter in Ivy League games, and that homer was the difference in what was a one-run game,’’ said Dartmouth coach Bob Whalen, a Needham native. “His hit gave us the confidence to build on.’’
With the victories, Dartmouth (28-10, 14-6 Ivy) extended its winning streak to 10 games — the best in the nation through last weekend — and set up a best-of-3 series for the league title this weekend at Princeton.
Bean has been a force for the defending Ivy League champs, starting in 37 games and posting a .338 average and ranking second on the team with 51 hits and a career-best 11 doubles.
He was named Dartmouth’s Most Improved Player last season, when he cracked the starting lineup during the Big Green’s drive to the Ivy title and an NCAA tournament berth.
He batted .347 overall and was named to the Coral Gables Regional All-Tournament team after hitting .571 (8-for-14) in Dartmouth’s three regional NCAA games.
“I’m not a big guy, but I run pretty well and have to bring other things to the table,’’ said the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Bean. “I like to put pressure on the outfielders and if I hit anything in the gap, I’m immediately thinking of getting to second base. But I don’t walk up to the plate thinking home run.’’
Bean played in just 19 games as a Dartmouth freshman and sophomore, and never batted higher than .235.
“We had a veteran outfield my first season, and my sophomore year was tougher because I didn’t contribute as much as I would have liked,’’ he said.
So Bean took time off from baseball. “I was getting over a couple of injuries and worked on campus at our Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, and just tried to get more out of my Dartmouth experience and put things in perspective,’’ he said.
And that fall, the government major studied at the London School of Economics.
“It was a great experience and I even got to play some cricket, which actually helped refine my baseball swing, and by the time I returned to Dartmouth for second semester I was excited about baseball again,’’ he said of his junior season. “I had a really good preseason, then found a role as a late inning pinch-hitter and had a few game-tying and winning hits before I got a shot at starting.’’
Bean was a baseball captain at BB&N, and played on its soccer squad that won the Independent School League and New England Class A titles. But his versatility extends far beyond sports.
He was second violinist in the orchestra at BB&N, and still plays violin with a chamber music group at Dartmouth.
Bean, who also performed with the New England Conservatory Youth Orchestra and the Greater Boston Youth Symphony, started taking lessons at age 4.
“It’s relaxing and I love to play,’’ said Bean. “I always joke with my mom how I hated to practice, and she said ‘Someday you’ll be glad you stuck with it,’ and she was right.’’
Bean first met Whalen while playing in a league for high-school-age players at Stanford University, setting the stage for his enrollment at Dartmouth.
“I kind of went with the broken leg rule’’ in choosing his college, said Bean, who played last summer with the Holyoke Blue Sox of the wooden-bat New England Collegiate Baseball League. “Like, if I couldn’t play baseball, would I still be happy I chose Dartmouth? And the answer is yes.’’
His father, Thomas, was his Little League coach and also taught him the basics of soccer, and his mother, Elaine Becker, spent many early mornings driving Bean to Needham Squirt hockey practice.
Bean is hoping for an international relations internship in Washington, D.C., after graduation, but in a perfect world, he envisions himself working someday in the front office of the Boston Red Sox.
“That’s my dream,’’ he said.
Here and there
Framingham High graduate Erin Greenstein (inset) was honored last weekend as Springfield College’s Outstanding Female Sophomore Team Sport Athlete. She started all 20 games in net for the Pride’s women’s soccer team last fall, when she had a 15-5 record with just 13 goals against, and set a single-season program record with nine shutouts. She also was named the Most Outstanding Player of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference tourney. Springfield won the NEWMAC regular season and tournament titles, and advanced to the NCAA tournament. . . Samantha Estes and Kerryann Goode of Millis, Audrey Hunt of Concord, Olivia Keefe of Acton, Erin King of Waltham, Lindy Monteith of Arlington, Lucinda Quigley of Newton, and Kaitlyn Rooney of Shirley were members of the West Concord-based Assabet Valley girls’ team that won the recent USA Hockey U-12 National Championship in Rochester, Mich. Estes had a goal in the title game, a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Colonials.
Marvin Pave can be reached at email@example.com.