Monks Chosen As Top Seed In GNAC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll
GNAC Sports Information Specialist
The 2011 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Champion St. Joseph’s (ME) were picked as to repeat and place first in the 2012 preseason poll. Suffolk was voted to finish second to the Monks while Johnson & Wales was picked to place third the conference. Lasell and Anna Maria were voted to finish fourth and fifth while Emerson and Albertus tie the poll in the sixth.
1. St. Joseph's College of Maine (62) (32-15 overall in 2011 and 12-2 in Great Northeast Athletic Conference play) will look to capture their seventh conference crown over the last eight seasons after returning 27 letter winners from last season. All-Conference: 1st Team player Mike Pratt will look to lead the Monks at the plate after tallying a batting average of .385 in 2011 with four homeruns and 38 runs batted in. He was one of three players to play in all 47 games last season. St. Joseph’s will look to Chad Rafferty to lead them on the mound after earning a record of 6-1 over nine starts and an ERA of 1.87. Rafferty struck out a team leading 68 batters through the 62.2 innings pitched.
2. Suffolk University (57) (24-21, 9-5 GNAC) who finished third in the conference in 2011 was voted to finish second in 2012. The Rams look to bounce back after falling to St. Joseph’s in last year’s conference championship match, 8-6. They return 21 letter winners from the 2011 squad and will be led at the plate by second year player Jake Cintolo, who led the Rams with a .438 batting average with 16 doubles, a homer and 31 RBIs. Junior starter Mitch Monke will take to the mound for the Rams after posting a record of 5-2 with a 4.85 ERA in the eight games he pitched in. Monke threw in 52 innings and struck out 53 of the batters he faced.
3. Johnson & Wales University (48) (21-21-1, 11-3 GNAC) was selected to finish the 2012 season in third place. They will return 22 members from last year’s team and will look to junior outfielder Zach Boyes to lead them at the plate after a .392 performance last season. Boyes registered 56 hits through his 39 games played last season, including nine doubles, a pair of triples and a homerun. He also drove in 21 runs. Senior Mike Wood will be a key starter on the mound for the Wildcats after making eight starts in 11 total appearances in 2011. He hurled a total of 47.1 innings, posting an ERA of 4.75 and striking out 27 batters.
4. Lasell College (41) (21-15, 8-6 GNAC) was voted to finish the season in fourth place after a fourth place finish in 2011. The Lasers will return 17 members of the 2011 squad, including senior Joshua Sullivan who led the team with a .403 batting average through the 34 games he played in. He registered 50 hits, including 11 doubles, four triples, and a homerun and drove in 20 runs. Sophomore pitcher Eric Howard will return to the mound for the Lasers after a solid 4-1 performance in 2011. Howard started in seven of the nine games he appeared in for a total of 45.2 innings. He ended 2011 with an ERA of 3.94 and tallied a team high 46 strikeouts on the season.
5. Anna Maria College (38) (26-19, 13-9 GNAC) has been selected to finish fifth in the conference at the end of the 2012 season. This year’s team will include 18 members from the 2011 team, including senior slugger Jeff Scafidi, who posted a .356 batting average last season for the Amcats. Scafidi played in 43 games and struck 52 hits, tallying 10 doubles, three triples, and three homers while driving in 24 runs. Dean Diamantopoulos will see a bulk of the action on the mound for Anna Maria after making 12 appearances last season with four of those being starts. He earned a record of 4-2 and tallied a pair of saves while posting an ERA of 3.56. He struck out a total of 23 batters last season.
6. Albertus Magnus College (27) (11-19, 8-6 GNAC) rounded out the preseason poll, being voted to finish sixth in the conference. Albertus returns to the 2012 season with a well-seasoned team of juniors and seniors, but also adding nine newcomers. The Falcons will look to captains Kyle Calechman, Malcolm Mendez, Jon Almonte and Matthew Finkenzeller to provide the depth and leadership on and off the field for 2012. Also 2011 Second team all-conference, Robert Gambardella, will be returning to anchor the Falcons outfield.
6. Emerson College (27) (12-24, 4-11 GNAC) rounded out the preseason poll, being voted to finish sixth in the conference. The Lions will return 19 players from the 2011 team for the 2012 season. They will look to senior catcher Geoff Lopes who finished last season with a batting average of .327 through the 35 games he played in. He finished the year with 35 hits that included 10 doubles and two homeruns and 18 runs batted in. The Lions will be led on the mound by Ben Quick who pitched a total of 51.3 innings in 2011 and threw for five complete games. He made eight starts in 12 appearances for a record of 5-5 and an earned run average of 5.79. Quick led the team in strikeouts with 47.