Beau Horan started his Williams College baseball career with a bang this March on a season-opening trip to Arizona.
The former Princeton Day School standout got a hit in his first at-bat in their 9-3 win over Wisconsin Superior on March 18 and then went 7-for-18 with six runs and six RBIs in his next six appearances.
“In the first game, I got in as a defensive replacement and in the second game, I took an at-bat,” said infielder Horan.
“I got a curve and hit a little blooper that fell in. It was nice to get out there and get a hit. The first base coach said ‘see how easy it is.’ I played my best ball of the spring in Arizona. I was competing with some other guys for shortstop and second base and I really wanted to make an impression and solidify my spot.”
For Horan, earning that spot was the culmination of an effort that started when he entered PDS.
“As a kid, everyone dreams of being in the major leagues; logically you realize at some point that isn’t going to happen and that college ball is the next thing,” said Horan.
“In my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I was starting to focus on it. I went to a lot of college showcases after my junior year. Right off the bat, I wanted to go to a school that was well off academically. You can’t depend on having a career in baseball. I was initially looking at Ivy schools like Princeton and Columbia. I realized that those programs might not work out. I had gotten a lot of looks from Division III schools so I realized that was my best option.”
Horan travelled to the northwestern corner of Massachusetts and found his best option in D-III Williams.
“Williams was the only school where I went on an official visit,” said Horan.
“I visited a couple of times over the summer when no students were there. I came in early October. I got to see the community and go to classes. I really enjoyed it, I learned a lot, I met some great people. Williams is quite the place.”
Upon starting college last September, Horan started his baseball learning curve with fall ball.
“We went on the field every other day and the other days we were weightlifting,” said Horan.
“In the beginning we did a lot of batting practice and took grounders. Near the end, we did some intra-squad stuff. That was a big help for me.”
While the preseason was spent mainly indoors, it helped acclimate Horan to what he would be facing in the spring.
“February 15 was the first day of real practice,” said Horan. “We were in the field house, we only got outside once before we went to Arizona. There are two cages, you can set up infield and take ground balls. It is a little tough for outfielders because the roof isn’t high enough for fly balls so they work more on their hitting. We have live pitching and live batting toward the end and work on game situations.”
After his hot start, Horan hit a tough stretch as Williams got into New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play.
“The quality of pitching is a big difference,” said Horan, who ended up batting .195 with 15 hits in 77 at-bats in 29 games as the Ephs went 15-23.
“Also you have scouting reports in college. In high school, you have seen some of the guys in travel ball. In college, you get information on the pitchers and a list of batters with their tendencies and details on who can run and who is hitting the ball well. I had to adjust to the league games, those games were really hyped up. It was scouting three pitchers against our three best pitchers and every pitch and every at-bat matters. It is a higher level of intensity.”
This summer, Horan is keeping his intensity up by playing for the Jersey Pilots in the high-level Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League (ACBL).
“It is a better quality of baseball,” noted Horan, who was hitting .180 (9-for-50) through 19 games with the Pilots.
“It is mostly D-I guys. We have three D-III guys and they play on Kean which is one of the top D-III programs. It is a really tough league, I am getting adjusted to the pitching. I am going against guys who played for Rutgers, Rider, and Siena. I am hanging in there. I am working on becoming a better batter and going against guys like that will help me.”
As he looks ahead to his sophomore season, Horan is confident that he can be a better player for Williams.
“I won’t be surprised by things as a sophomore; I know what the coach is looking for,” said Horan.
“I know what the workouts are about. I want to put my best out there. I won’t be as worried about my spot and I think that will help me.”