One On One with Dan Bartlett

04/22/2014, 4:30pm EDT
By Jeff Noreman


1on1-slideshow_largeDan Bartlett, of Levittown, New York, is a senior at Caldwell College, a small liberal arts college in Caldwell, New Jersey. He played for the Long Island Whalers for five years under the well-respected coaches Tony Nunziato and Mike Herbst. He also played for the collegiate New York Atlantics for two summers.

According to Bartlett, his first memory of organized baseball was when his brother Jonathan was playing t-ball. “I was running around, chasing the ball. When it was my turn to play, I remember not being able to hit the ball very well.”

At the suggestion of the president of the Island Trees Baseball/Softball organization Dan Sguigna, he started “playing up” with his brother’s classmates who are three years older than Dan. At that time it became clear that he enjoyed pitching more than other baseball activities. Even in the summer on Island Trees “travel” team, he played with ballplayers a year older than him. When he was ten years old, Bartlett’s travel team won the Cal Ripken Metro NY Championship.

Bartlett’s high school team, the Island Trees Bulldogs, were also a successful team. When he was a junior they went to the Nassau County Championship game, and as a senior they got to the semifinals. Personally, he was named to the All-Conference Team as a junior, and received All-League accolades as a senior.

When researching colleges, Bartlett knew he’d achieve more in a school that had smaller class sizes. He saw that Caldwell College had an average class size of 22 students, which fit nicely with what he was seeking. He’ll graduate with a degree in digital graphic design in December of 2014.

As a freshman, Bartlett earned a record of 5-2 as a pitcher. He had an earned run average of 2.78 over 55 innings. He chalked up 50 strikeouts while allowing only 13 bases on balls. In fact, through his first three college campaigns he has maintained a strikeout to walk ratio of greater than 2.5-to-1. Bartett’s arsenal includes both a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a knuckle-drop (a pitch that is indigenous to Levittown), a slider, a split-change, and a knuckleball.

“Baseball taught me teamwork, leadership,” explained Bartlett, laughing. “I know it’s such a cliche answer.

“It’s also taught me to become a teacher. The kids on my team at school, if they need help with something (related to) pitching, I’ll help them out. My coach (Head Coach Jay Messina) all the time will say ‘They need help with this. Go work with them.’

“I ask people what they want to do and (guide) them through it. On a baseball field, I’m always trying to help everyone get better… making sure everyone is doing the right thing.”

Since he was three or four years old, Bartlett has said he wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up. He says it was a major reason he went to college, where his future changed. For now, he has a few months left in school, to earn his degree. Then his options for the future will become clear.


Bethpage Little League: For The Love Of The Game

04/18/2014, 11:30am EDT
By Mike Stainkamp, Photo Provided By Bethpage Little League


little-league-slideshow_3__largeLately, it seems as if only the negative side of youth sports is being talked about. Whether it’s a parent erupting over a call or driving their child too hard, the negative tends to out-weigh the positive.

One of the best to ever play the game, Yogi Berra once said, “Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.”

That may be true, but Little League baseball also has a huge impact on the kids that play the game, and the Bethpage Little League is in the business of having fun and keeping kids out of trouble. Isn’t that what youth sports is really about?

“We make sure that we not only cater to travel players, we cater to everybody,” Bethpage Little League commissioner Dennis Baggia said. “We promote the sport endlessly. We make sure we have something for the kid that just likes the sport, but might not be that good at it. We make sure there is a place for that kid to play.”

Bethpage Little League is made up of three different seasons, each with a different number of kids playing. The spring teams field about 800 total players, while the summer fields 400-500, and the fall ball program fields about 900, according to Baggia.

In a time today where the professional level of baseball is money-driven, the Little Leaguers from Bethpage have old-fashioned morals instilled in them at a young age.

“Our goal is old fashioned. We believe it is important to have the kids playing sports through high school. It keeps them focused, especially boys,” Baggia added. “It keeps them from getting into trouble, so we promote baseball. We’re more than happy to help out.”

“You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too.”  – Roy Campanella

In the case of the Bethpage Little League, the younger players also team up with the bigger guys on the high school level.

“The varsity coach, Rob Fisher, has been fantastic,” Baggia said. “He wants to build the program. He does a summer training camp with us and keeps the cost very, very low. The idea of the camp is to have the kids fall in love with the sport.”

In return, the league donated brand-new dugouts for the high school field and provided new clay and outfield fences for the other fields the schools use.

Baseball is a funny sport. You can fail 7-out-of-10 times, and still be considered a good ball player.

Baggia went on to say, “like Derek Jeter said, ‘it’s a game of failure.’ If kids learn how to deal with failure, it helps them later in life.

“I like the game of baseball because it’s the most American sport there is. It not only promotes teamwork, but it promotes individual accomplishments as well.”

In an effort to make the kids feel a little more “grown up”, Bethpage Little League puts the annual All-Star game in the kids’ hands.

“We have an All-Star game where the kids pick the teams, they manage it, they do the announcing and they do the field work,” Baggia said. “The parents have to stand on the side and watch.”

Bethpage Little League is one of the leagues that conducts itself in “the right way.” For more information, please go to

The Path Of A College Pitcher with Tyler Manez

04/16/2014, 7:45pm EDT
By Jeff Noreman; Photo By Jeremy McKnight

Manez-spotlight-slideshow_largeTyler Manez is a 20 year old from North Massapequa, New York. He is currently a sophomore at Elon University, and a pitcher for the Phoenix baseball team. He attended Plainedge High School, where as a senior he helped the Red Devils win the Long Island Championship.

BPM: What is your first memory of baseball?
TM: My first memory of baseball would be going out in the backyard with my mom, playing catch and hitting wiffle balls off the tee while my brothers and sister were at school. I also remember going to field after field every spring and summer to watch my older brothers’ (Jason and Kyle) baseball games. When I was six, I went to Cooperstown, N.Y. with my family to watch my brother play and from that point on, I couldn’t wait to experience baseball at Cooperstown myself.
BPM: What was the first team or league you played in? Tell me what you remember about it.
TM: The first league that I played in was Plainedge Youth Baseball League and one of the best memories was playing on the White Sox with my good friend Ralph Caccavale and going undefeated and winning the World Series.
BPM: When did you know you were a talented baseball player? How did that become clear to you?
TM: When I was seven years old, I was asked to play up on the 8 year old travel team in the summer and was selected to be one of the starting pitchers. From that point on, I realized I was a pretty good player. I had a strong arm and loved to pitch. Even the 8 year olds had a hard time getting hits off me.
BPM: What positions did you play over the years? What was the most fun?
TM: Over the years I played just about every position, even catcher. As I got older, being a lefty, I was forced to settle in at pitcher, outfield and first base. Pitcher was definitely the most fun because I loved being a part of every pitch and every play and really having control over the tempo of the game.
BPM: Who is the coach that you played for that you think had the biggest impact on the development of your baseball skills? Describe him and tell me why.
TM: I was fortunate to have several great coaches over the years that helped me develop my baseball skills and make me the competitor I am today. Up until I was fifteen, my Dad and Coach Fred Kurz taught me the game, how to0 practice and made me understand that I needed to work hard if I wanted to be better than the next guy. Once I got to high school, I started working with pitching coach John Byrne and played in the summer for Coach Herbst of the Long Island Whalers. My Dad and Plainedge baseball coach Tom Pisani probably had the biggest impact on my short baseball career. Playing on varsity for three years helped me become the player I am today. Coach Pisani is a really hard worker and expects the best from you at all times. He was one of the best baseball coaches on Long Island and knows the game extremely well.
BPM: How did you decide on Elon University? What was your major when you started there? What degree will you have when you graduate?
TM: I decided on Elon University because I loved the school and liked that the coaches had a real interest in me. I heard great things about the baseball program and the coaching staff and when I met them, they seemed like great people who really knew the game. I also wanted to be part of a program that had a winning tradition and had a chance to win conference championships. Knowing Elon’s history and after seeing the all the championship banners at their field, I knew this was the place for me. My major at Elon is Sport and Event Management with a minor is Business. I’m currently on pace to graduate in three years so I hope to start my masters in my last year.
BPM: What has been the most memorable situation that you’ve experienced because of baseball? 
TM: The most memorable situation on the field would be winning the Long Island championship my senior year of high school in an 11-inning game against Shoreham Wading River allowing us to go to states. The opposing pitcher and I both pitched complete games where we both went 10 scoreless innings and in the top of the 11th we drove in 3 runs. I went back out there for the bottom of the 11th where I let up a run and had a man on first and second with two outs and struck the player out at the plate to end the game.
BPM: Where did you attend high school? Tell me about your time there, baseball-wise.
TM: I attended Plainedge High School where I was a three-year varsity player. I was a two time All-County selection my junior and senior years, and I was a first team All-Long Island selection my senior year. As a Sophomore I was mainly a reliever and had a few spot starts. We had an older team with lots of returning starting seniors. My junior year I became one of the ace of the staff when we had a undefeated season and lost in the county semi-finals. My senior year I was the ace of the staff, but as a team, we struggled in the regular season and just sneaking into the playoffs where we went on a major run to win the Long Island championship.
BPM: What is the best baseball moment in your life so far?
TM: One of the best baseball moments of my life was last year at Elon when we won the Southern Conference Championship. There was nothing like losing the first game in the tournament and having our backs against the wall and going on to win every game after that defeating The Citadel in the championship and then attending the Regionals hosted by The University of Virginia.
BPM: Did you play summer ball with your school friends and teammates? Or did you make a new group of people there?
TM: For majority of my career I played summer ball with a few of my good friends and high school teammates but also making a bunch of new friends on travel teams along the way.
BPM: Tell us about your summer baseball experience? What years? What teams?
TM: Up until I was 15, I played summer ball with the N. Massapequa Red Devils coached by my Dad and Fred Kurz. After that team broke up I continued to play summer ball for the Long Island Whalers with a few of my friends. I loved traveling to all the different tournaments and playing some of the best teams in the nation. The coaches of these teams really helped me develop not only as a player but as the person I am today.
BPM: What did you get to do or see because of summer baseball?
TM: Summer ball allowed me to play against some of the best competition in the country and also exposed me to a lot of college scouts which helped me earn my scholarship. My most memorable experience would be pitching a pretty good game in East Cobb, Georgia, and having a lot of college coaches call me after the game. Before this, I wasn’t highly recruited because I didn’t attend any showcases or win any major tournaments.
BPM: Where does the game of baseball fit into your life now?
TM: Right now, baseball is a really big part of my life and I’m constantly thinking about it and doing everything I can to make myself better.
BPM: Describe your experience with the MLB Draft. Who contacted you? When? When did you tell the team that drafted you that you’re deciding to go to Elon instead?
TM: I was being looked at by the NY Mets and Houston Astros in the last few games of my high school season. After pitching well in the finals, the Houston Astros called me and told me to listen for my name because they were going to draft me. It was an awesome feeling and I was lucky to be with a few friends when they called my name in the 32nd round. Even though it was exciting and I was seriously thinking about going to the minors, I was also really looking forward to going to Elon. The Astros came to my house and made me an offer, which I thought about for a few days. I later decided that a college education was important to me and figured if I was good enough, I would have another shot in the draft in three years.
BPM: What would your best possible future look like if it involves baseball? 
TM: My dream is to become a Major League Baseball player and I’m doing everything possible to make that happen. If that dream doesn’t come true, I would still love to be involved with baseball in some capacity with either coaching or scouting.
BPM: What would your best possible future look like if it did not involve baseball?
TM: If baseball isn’t part of my future after college, then I hope to work in my field of study which is sport and event management. I would love to work for a major sports organization planning and managing events in a state-of-the-art facility.

U.S. Military Academy (Army) Black Knights

04/16/2014, 7:00pm EDT
By U.S. Military Academy (Army) Black Knights; Photos By U.S. Military Academy (ARMY) Athletics“We are excited about the upcoming season. We have very good leadership and a good mix of veteran and younger players. We are working hard every day and hope to be playing our best baseball as the season progresses.” – Matt Reid, Head Coach
army-slideshow_largeThe Army baseball team will embark on the 2014 season in search of its eighth Patriot League Tournament Championship and seventh NCAA Regional bid.Army’s weekend rotation will have a bevy of arms to choose from. Gunnar Carroll, used primarily out of the bullpen amassing 14 saves, may move to a starting role. Nick Dignacco, who went 7-2 as a sophomore, is healthy for his senior season. Junior Alex Robinett was 7-4 last year with 62 strikeouts in 86 innings. Junior Brian Hapeman posted a microscopic 1.69 earned run average in 11 appearances last season. Sophomore Brock Davidson went 2-3 last year and figures to play a larger role.Senior catcher Connor Love and sophomore Ben Smith will both see time behind the plate with freshman Baggio Saldivar adding depth.

The Black Knights veteran infield started nearly every game last year. Patrick Mescher played first, sophomore Grant Van Orden second, junior Alex Jensen manned short stop and senior Harold Earls occupied the hot corner. Mescher led the team with a .341 batting average in 2013 and knocked in 40 runs. Van Orden hit .238 while Jensen batted .292. Earls hit .254 and scored 35 runs.Senior Jon Crucitti, sophomore Jacob Page and juniors Daniel Cortes and Mark McCants are expected to anchor the outfield. Crucitti led the team with 43 runs scored and will start in right. Page collected All-Patriot League honors in center and was third on the squad with a .307 batting average. Cortes played in 21 games last season in left. McCants, also a designated hitter, was second on the team with a .314 average and six doubles. Sophomore Ryan Levenhagen and freshmen Brock Davidson will provide depth in the outfield.

Player Spotlight

Senior OF Jon Crucitti has played both football and baseball at Army. Missed sophomore baseball season due to injury. Missed senior year of football because of injury and rehabilitation to be ready for the baseball season.

U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons

04/16/2014, 6:30pm EDT
By U.S. Air Force Stats Information Department; Photos By Ray McCoy

“The vision and mission is much different than a normal university. Our mission at the United States Air Force Academy is to produce leaders of character. My job is not only to be a baseball coach, but more importantly to be a role model, mentor, guidance counselor, facilitator, and a father to these young men to ensure their success in the profession of arms. Upon graduation our men will wear our nation’s uniform and provide the security blanket that will allow us to sleep well each night. My job is to make boys into men, and men into warriors. Our Air Force mission is to Fly, Fight, Win” – Mike Kazlausky, Head Coach

air-force-slideshow_largeAir Force baseball features a young squad in 2014.  With the loss of six starters in the field, the Falcons will be looking for several new faces to produce. 15 newcomers enter the fray, joining 15 returners. The slate is not entirely clean however, as Air Force returns two-time all-conference first baseman Seth Kline and senior right-hander Cameron White (3-11, 5.21) to lead the way.

Kline, a smooth swinging lefty is a returning first-team all-Mountain West first baseman and has led the Falcons in hitting each of the last two seasons. White, a rubber-armed right hander, is coming off a junior season that saw him toss 107 innings, the second-best total in school history. White possesses some of the best control in all of collegiate baseball, ranking amongst the NCAA Top 10 in walks-per-nine innings (5th-0.76) and strikeouts-to-walk ratio (6th-7.78).Air Force will look to replace several key losses in the field, including four-year starting catcher Garrett Custons, a 10th round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2013 MLB draft.  The Falcons will have new faces at shortstop, second base and two outfield spots.

The Falcon’s two other returning starters are infielders sophomore Spencer Draws and junior Tyler Saleck. Draws saw action at second and third and Saleck played several spots including third, short, and outfield.

Air Force returns two starting pitchers.  Joining White in the rotation is soph. RHP Steven Trojan (4-7, 5.99). The Falcons also return closer soph. RHP Bo Wilson (1-0, 5.40).

The Falcon’s 15 newcomers are led by freshman IF/RHP Griffin Jax. Jax is the 2013 Colorado Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year and was a 12th round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013 out of Cherry Creek HS in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Player Spotlight

Bo Wilson is the fifth member of his family to attend USAFA. His father is a grad and played baseball at Air Force. Wilson is a Civil Engineering major that was a member of the conference all-academic team as a freshman. He led all Falcon relievers with two saves and a 5.40 ERA.

Niagara University Purple Eagles

04/16/2014, 6:15pm EDT
By Niagara University Purple Eagles; Photos By Niagara University
“As a team we are looking to do big things this year. We have a young but talented team. Our pitching staff is deep and the defense is much improved. We had a great fall and the guys are playing with a ton of confidence.” Rob McCoy, Head Coach


niagara-slideshow_largeThe Niagara Purple Eagles head into the 2014 season looking to take advantage of a stronger starting rotation.

This season Niagara is led by junior Jordan Schwartz who was named to College Sports Madness’ Preseason All-MAAC Second Team. The righty will lead starting rotation and look to improve on his 2-7 record last season. Drew Fittry is back after an injury ended his 2013 season after just three starts and Liam Stroud joins the rotation as a right-handed freshman.

Schwartz also finished second on the team last season with a .299 batting average and was also able to add five doubles and 16 RBIs on his way to a 2013 All-MAAC Second Team nomination.

It will be the trio of Thomas Rodrigues, Joel Klock, and Taylor Hackett will set the tone at the plate. Rodrigues is coming off a summer where he won Canada’s Western Major Baseball League batting title with the Okotoks Dawgs. He hit .281 with seven doubles and 19 RBIs last year for Niagara. Klock collected a team-high four triples last season. Hackett enters the season as a redshirt-freshman.

Niagara University is coming off of a 16-38 season in 2013. Niagara topped nationally ranked Pittsburgh 7-5 in last season’s Panther Classic. Niagara also put together an impressive streak from late March into mid-April which saw it go 8-3 in an 11-game span.

Player Spotlight

Jordan Schwartz leads the Purple Eagles on the mound and at the dish. His 2013 season was highlighted by a seven-inning, complete game shutout of the Manhattan Jaspers. He gave up six hits and recorded three strikeouts in the contest. At the plate he finished the 2013 season second on the team with a .298 batting average. He also recorded five doubles, a triple, and 16 RBIs.

Columbia University Lions

04/16/2014, 6:00pm EDT
By Columbia Stats Information Department; Photos By Gene Boyars
“The staff and players are excited about the season ahead and the opportunity to compete at a high level. Our goal is to win the Ivy League every year. We have a motivated and talented group that will work as hard as we can to accomplish our goal.” – Brett Boretti, Head Coach

Coming off the most successful season in Columbia baseball history, the Lions will look to capture its 12th Ivy League Championship and third in the last seven years in 2014. Columbia returns the core group, including three of its top four pitchers, to a team that tied a program record with 28 wins and won its first NCAA Tournament game last season.

Similar to head coach Brett Boretti’s scheduling philosophy in years past, the Lions will head out on the road during the beginning of the spring to play some of the best teams in the nation. Trips to South Florida and Kennesaw State kick-off the season, before Columbia heads to Texas for matchups against UT-San Antonio, Texas A&M, UT-Arlington and Texas. The Ivy League slate begins on March 29 with a doubleheader against Brown.Joey Donino, David Speer and Adam Cline return to the mound for the Lions in 2014. The trio combined for 16 victories and 180 strikeouts last season.Speer will share captain duties this season with fellow seniors Mike Fischer and Aaron Silbar. Fischer is the field general behind the plate for the Lions, while Silbar, who finished second on the team last year in batting average, hits and doubles, commands the middle of the infield as the starting shortstop.

Columbia returns a total of seven All-Ivy League selections from last season, including: Speer (P), Donino (P), Silbar (SS), Fischer (C), Joey Falcone (DH), Kevin Roy (P) and Jordan Serena (OF). Falcone, the Lions’ power bat, returns for his junior campaign after being named a Gregg Olson semifinalist for breakout player of the year and ABCA Northeast Region second team honoree.

Player Spotlight

Joey Falcone’s lengthy journey to Columbia, including six years in the Marine Corps and a year at junior college, culminating in a breakout season for Columbia in 2013. The Gregg Olson Award semifinalist matched MLB amateur draft selection Alex Black with a team-best .331 batting average, while finishing second with a .520 slugging percentage and five long balls. His power bat will be especially crucial this season to the Lions’ success with the departure of Black.

U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen

04/16/2014, 5:30pm EDT
By U.S. Naval Stats Information Department; Photos By Phil Hoffman

“The Naval Academy prides itself on educating future leaders and that philosophy will never be truer than in 2014. Having to incorporate 15 freshmen into our program, along with eight sophomores, the leadership of our senior class and veterans will be important in helping the young players develop and prosper quickly. Every player will be key for Navy Baseball this season.” – Paul Kostacopoulos , Head Coach

navy-slideshow_1__largeA season after leading the Patriot League in pitching, the Navy baseball hurlers will be counted on heavily once again in 2014 as the Midshipmen will look to replace multiple key pieces on the offensive side of the ball. Navy returns 16 letterwinners from a 2013 team that earned the second seed in the Patriot League postseason tournament. To make up for the loss of a large graduating class, Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos and his staff added 15 freshmen for 2014.

Pitching will be a strength of the Mids as the junior class hurlers of Stephen Moore (’13 First Team All-Patriot League) and Anthony Parenti (team-high 65 strikeouts) return along with sophomore Luke Gillingham (3.23 ERA), giving Navy three of its four weekend starters back.

On the offensive side of the ball, senior first baseman Kash Manzelli, a member of the 2013 Second Team All-Patriot League, is one of five returning starters for the Mids. Manzelli is joined in the infield by versatile junior Brad Borosak, who will see time at both third base and on the mound. A complete all-around athlete, Borosak led Navy with 16 stole bases in 2013.

In the outfield, senior Brandon Beans and sophomore Robert Currie give Navy a pair of speedy, multi-talented athletes who can steal bases, as well as drive in runs. Together the duo stole 21 bases and drove in 40 runs in 2013.

Player Spotlight

Kash Manzelli
The team captain for Navy in 2014, Manzelli is poised to improve upon his excellent junior campaign in which he led the Mids in batting average, on-base percentage, hits and runs scored. This will be his third season as Navy’s starting first

Bard College Raptors

04/16/2014, 4:15pm EDT
By Bard College Raptors; Photos By Bard Athletic Communications

“On a team made up mostly of club players in 2013, Danz became a quiet leader with his grind-it-out mentality and all-out approach in the outfield and on the base paths. As a sophomore, he batted .296 and led the team in several categories, including slugging percentage (.451), on-base percentage (.453), triples (3), walks (14) and steals (10). As a junior he is considered a veteran on a roster with 14 freshmen.”
– Ed Kahovec, Head Coach

bard-slideshow_largeVarsity baseball at Bard returned after a 76-year hiatus with a doubleheader sweep to start the 2013 season. Playing an independent schedule, the Raptors won five of their last 10 to finish the campaign at 8-18.
In 2014, second-year coach Ed Kahovec has one full year of recruiting under his belt and the youthful squad joins the prestigious and tough Liberty League. A small group of players return from the historic 2013 season, and the rest of Bard’s roster is made

up of freshmen eager to establish respect among its peers in the conference.Among the top returning players are junior centerfielder Tom Danz, who hit .296 last year and led the team in stolen bases, and sophomore catcher/pitcher Alec Montecalvo, who started all 26 games in 2013 and produced a team-best seven doubles.

Key to Kahovec’s recruiting efforts has been the construction of Honey Field, a turf facility currently being built on Bard’s campus, and the product of a gift from an anonymous donor. The field will not be complete for games in the 2014 season, so Bard will play its home games at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, NY, the home of the Hudson Valley Renegades, a Class A Short Season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Among the large group of freshmen on the roster, Kahovec is looking for big things from outfielder Jack Hawke, lefty starter Zach Ward and middle infielder Mark Leonhard.

Player Spotlight

On a team made up mostly of club players in 2013, Tom Danz became a quiet leader with his grind-it-out mentality and all-out approach in the outfield and on the base paths. As a sophomore, he batted .296 and led the team in several categories, including slugging percentage (.451), on-base percentage (.453), triples (3), walks (14) and steals (10). As a junior he is considered a veteran on a roster with 14 freshmen.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy Bears

04/16/2014, 3:30pm EDT
By U.S. Coast Guard Stats Information Department; Photos By U.S. Coast Guard Academy Athletics

We had an outstanding season last year winning a school-record 24 games and getting to the ECAC Championship Game led by an outstanding senior class. This year, we need some of the younger guys to step up and fill the roles left by those players for us to be successful.”- C.C. Grant, Head Coach

coast-guard-slideshow_1__largeThe Coast Guard baseball team coming off its most successful season in school history. They will have to replace 14 seniors off a team that made the program’s first ECAC championship game appearance and finished with a school-record 24 wins.

The Bears senior class finished with 71 wins in their careers tying the mark set from 2000-2003. Six players finished their careers with over 100 hits.

Senior co-captain Dave Wolinski, who hit .345 last season, will start at first base while junior Matt Hanks (.272) will start at second. Sophomore Mark Behne is expected start at shortstop while classmate Kyle Wood (.250) will see time at third as well as significant mound time as the Bears top returning pitcher.

Wood made 11 appearances and five starts last season and had a record of 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 36.3 innings. The Bears lost their top four pitchers to graduation. Junior Andrew Lucak (0-0, 3.45) pitched 15.6 innings last season and is the only other pitcher who pitched more than three innings returning this season.

Senior co-captain Lukas Laplante, who played in the outfield last season, makes the move to catcher this season and will see time along with junior Dan Sabourin behind the plate. Junior Blake Thompson is expected to start in the outfield with the two other spots up for grabs.

The Bears who compete in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) will open the season on March 1st vs. rival Merchant Marine Academy in a doubleheader at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY.

Player Spotlight

Kyle Wood is expected to take over the top spot in the Bears rotation and also be a key hitter in the middle of the order this season seeing action at third place as well as on the mound.