This Weekend in Division III — February 26, 2015

A handful of Division 3 teams have already kicked off their seasons, making their counterparts stuck in basketball gyms or on half-shoveled turf pretty jealous.  Bates had a nice 4-2 showing in California, and a few others stand at .500 as we close in on the start of March.

We’ll have to wait a week for most teams to get going, but about a half dozen more will have started up by the end of this weekend. The region’s biggest presence is in Florida, but teams are also trekking down to New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina to find a field to play on. Here’s a look ahead to the action.

Marquee Matchup

Eastern Connecticut, ranked #20 in this week’s D3Baseball.com poll, highlights the weekend’s action with a Saturday trip to #10 Kean (Cane, not Keene, according to my friends from New Jersey). The Cougars are a traditional D3 power, and the two teams like to meet up each year. Things haven’t gone well lately for Eastern, as they’ve lost meetings in each of the last three years, managing a total of only two runs.  The Little East’s preseason favorites will look to change that this year and make a statement to the rest of the region.

Working Our Way South…

Two One other teams will be heading somewhere other than Florida this weekend. Eastern’s LEC rivals Western Connecticut are right outside DC for two games with Frank Leoni’s Marymount Saints. (Leoni’s the former head coach at URI and will also be managing the Futures League’s Martha’s Vineyard Sharks this summer.)  The game will be played at George Washington’s turf.  Saint Joseph’s, after an 0-3 showing at the Emory Tournament earlier this month, will get back in action in North Carolina, site of some 30-degree temperatures that have Southern twitter barely holding it together (I mean, can you even play in that?).  That’s about 30 degrees warmer than it’s been in Standish lately, though, so the Monks shouldn’t be pretty happy to get on a field and play Frostburg State, Pitt-Greensburg, and Ramapo.

And in the Sunshine State

Two teams are in the midst of Florida trips. Mass Maritime (did they get off the Kennedy down in Florida and head straight to the field again this year?) opened up with a split against SUNY Maritime yesterday, while Lyndon State dropped a pair to 7-0 Alma.  They’ll both get a few more games in before heading back north.

That leaves Clark, Anna Maria, and Newbury to get their seasons going this weekend. The Cougars have MSOE for a Saturday doubleheader in Winter Haven, and the AMCATS open up at the same complex against Trine on Sunday.  The NECC’s Nighthawks are down on the Gulf Coast in Fort Myers.  They’ll play six games before facing off with preseason favorites Mitchell for a conference series next weekend.

Links

Lots of good stuff up on D3. Bryant SID (and Eastern alumnus) Tristian Hobbes turned in a typically stellar New England Region preview.  Three New England teams currently sit in their Top 25, with several others receiving votes. Brandeis‘s Nick Falkson made last week’s Team of the Week, and their Thursday roundup featured Mass Maritime. Also some early season blurbs on local papers about Bates/St. Joseph’s and Castleton.

I’ve also previewed the weekend in Division I and Division II, as well as spilled some ink about the debate over an April to August calendar here, here, and here.

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