Weekends like this are why I write. Nine New England baseball teams, who’ve had great seasons just to get this far, are one good weekend away from a trip to the College World Series. There’s just nothing else like it. We’ll take a look at the paths all nine of them have taken after the jump.
Last year, I was pretty charitable to the D3 Selection Committee. I thought deserving teams were left at home, but more as a function of the field being too small than the committee picking the wrong teams to fill it. This year, I’m not so sure. Let’s dig in.
After winning titles in 2014 and 2015, Wesleyan enters this weekend’s NESCAC Tournament looking for Division III’s third three-peat of the season, something that’s never been done. The league’s three historical powers– Amherst, Trinity, and Tufts– will all be itching to wrest the trophy back for themselves. For the second straight year, they’ll head to Nashua’s Holman Stadium to punch New England’s final ticket to the D3 Tournament. Though it may be tough to follow up 2015, when not a single game was decided by more than three runs, it promises to be an exciting weekend.
As in 2015, the Maine schools will make the long trek down to Castleton to contest the NAC title. The host Spartans swept to their second straight title a year ago, but three good teams will be itching to wrest that title away from them this time around. Tourney history, the pennant race, and capsules on all four competitors after the jump.
As usual, we enjoyed competitive title and playoff races in the CCC, which has set us up with a deep tournament field to enjoy this weekend. Will a surprise team make a run to the title, like Curry in 2015? Or will things look more like the seasons prior, when the top seed took home the title in three of four years? The history, the playoff chase, and team capsules ahead– let’s get to it.
On a D3 scene where parity has been in fairly short supply in 2016, the MASCAC stands out. Salem took up their usual spot at the top of the standings, MMA and Fitchburg put up their best league marks in years to finish 2nd and 3rd; Bridgewater had its best year since 2013 to return to the playoffs after 2015; and Worcester, 2014 champions and 21-7 over the last two years, missed the field entirely. It’s in character for a league in which five different teams have finished atop the regular-season standings since 2011. More on the history, pennant race, and all six participants after the jump.
What a fun week to round up. Division III took center stage and didn’t disappoint. We saw upsets, walkoffs, records broken, incredible plays, and, of course, our first dogpile. And in D1 and D2, things are coming right down to the wire for playoff spots and league titles. More on all that plus Teams of the Week within.
(One quick programming note: It’s come to my attention that WordPress is showing ads for some folks. That’s their price for giving me free hosting, not my choice, but I still apologize for that, and please let me know if it’s a big issue for you.)
For the first time since 2010, someone other than Saint Joe’s comes into this week as defending GNAC champions. After Suffolk wrested the championship away from the Monks last season, the two teams contested this year’s regular-season title through the final weekend, and both look primed for a deep playoff run. And of course, four other teams will be itching to break up their duopoly on the league’s autobid. They’ll play games in Waltham, Standish, East Boston, and Providence this week before deciding a champion come Sunday. More ahead on the history, the playoff race, and each of the six teams involved.
Playoffs! After Babson and Coast Guard kicked things off today, we’ve got full slates of conference tournament action in the NEWMAC and NECC to look forward to this weekend. That also means that we’ll have regular-season champions crowned and playoff spots decided all over D3. Add that to the top 4 facing off in the NE-10 Northeast and decisive weekends in the Rolfe Division, Patriot League, and NEC, and we’ve got a heck of a weekend to look forward to.
(Apologies for the delay in getting this out– the conference tournament previews set me back a bit. As a result I’ll only be focusing on Saturday and Sunday games in this post.)
Heading into this weekend’s conference tournament, you can make a pretty strong case that this has been the most competitive, entertaining season in NECC history. For the first time since its inaugural year in 2009, all four tournament teams enter the weekend at .500 or better. With their regular season championship, Mitchell’s seniors have won or shared the title every year they’ve been on campus. Elms, Southern Vermont, and Lesley all set or matched program records for wins. Of the six head-to-head series among the tournament teams, only one ended in a sweep, and that only after both teams had already clinched a playoff berth. All indications are it’ll be a very entertaining weekend in New London. More on the history, the pennant race, and the teams after the jump.