Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Elms College baseball squad was selected to finish fifth in the 2017 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Baseball Coaches' Preseason Poll, announced by the league office Tuesday afternoon.
The Blazers received 26 total points in the poll, including one first-place vote. Elms enters 2017 after posting a program-best 32-13 mark last season, including a 12-6 record in conference play. The Blazers, helmed by 2016 NECC Coach of the Year Scott Netkovick, are returning 14 players from last year's team, headlined by four All-Conference selections. Seniors Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.), Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.), and Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) earned All-NECC Second Team honors in 2016, along with senior Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.), who was an All-NECC Third Team selection. Last season, the Blazers set 13 new team records, including hits (367), complete games (14), saves (9), earned run average (3.54), and consecutive wins (12).
Mitchell College was selected to repeat as the NECC Champions finishing the Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll with 46 points and four first place nods.
The Mariners have an experienced team returning with 20 total players and the entire starting infield. Also returning for Mitchell is designated hitter Tyler Pina who was named to the 2016 All-NECC First Team. The Mariners will work without two of their top pitchers from a season ago as Al Jordan Johnson and Tyler Shamas who are the two winningest pitchers in their history graduated.
Lesley University finished with two first place votes of their own and 31 total points. The Lynx are coming of their best season in program history and will look to continue to improve this season. Lesley returners 18 players including nine starters, which is highlighted by four All-NECC selections, Jacob Cervantes, Mike Slaby, Tom Muratore, andRyan Pumphret.
Finishing just behind with 30 total points was Becker College. The Hawks return their entire starting nine which includes the 2016 NECC Rookie of the Year, Josiah Shepherd. Also returning for Becker are fellow 2016 All-NECC First Team members, Chris Testa and T.J. Sempkowski.
Southern Vermont College was a close fourth with 28 total points. The Mountaineers fell to the Mariners in the Championship game a year ago. SVC will look to their experience and talented group of freshman to get them back to the NECC tournament.
Closing out the polls in sixth is Newbury College with 21 total points, while Daniel Webster finished seventh with 14 total points.
NECC teams will begin their seasons with nonconference matchups on Friday February 24th. Conference play will begin with a three game series between Daniel Webster and Becker on March 16th and 17th.
Baseball Coaches' Preseason Poll
- Mitchell – 46 (4)
- Lesley – 31 (2)
- Becker – 30
- Southern Vermont – 28
- Elms – 26
- Newbury – 21
- Daniel Webster – 14