Normally, we can’t wait to see the end of February. It’s the month of being snowed in, snowed out, snowed under, and put under by warm-weather teams who haven’t had to put a jacket on all winter. But this year, things have been different. Very different. In D1 and D2, New England teams are roaring out of the gates, and D3’s starting to get in on the action too. Click on for a roundup of the weekend that was in NECB.
For the first time in 2016, we saw action in all three divisions (even one game in right here in New England!). As a region, we’re off to a much quicker start than last season, especially in Division I, where several teams grabbed the headlines in their first weekend out on the field. More on that, and some D2/3 action, after the jump.
After a rough weekend in D2 and D3, we’ve thankfully got something else to turn our attention to– six Division I conference tournaments will see teams from New England battle for NCAA Tournament bids this weekend. Three of them– the AEC, NEC, and MAAC– are being held right in our back yard. Below, I’ll take a look at each tournament, previewing the formats, history, and key players as eight different teams look to punch bids to the field of 64.
May is college baseball’s equivalent of September and October. This weekend will see NCAA Tournament tickets punched and playoff races wind down, and by the end of the month, we’ll have national champions crowned in Divisions II and III. With a few exceptions, winning the conference tournament will be teams’ only path to getting a shot at that, which is what makes the next couple weekends so much fan. You don’t have to wait around hoping that one of a handful of series will get to a decisive game five or seven, you get to see baseball played with everything on the line almost every day. It’s one of the many things that makes this sport great.
We always get a mixed bag of emotions in this great sport of ours, but even more than usual, this weekend saw some of the highest highs juxtaposed with the lowest lows. Tournament tickets punched, title games lost. Key series won, many more dropped. Playoff berths clinched, title bids up in smoke. Rookie coaches hitting it big, retiring veterans hitting the home stretch. Freshman leading playoff teams, and, what’s always the worst part of this best time of year, way too many careers coming to an end. Here’s a look at the action.
This weekend, we saw a team pull off a four-game sweep without allowing an earned run, an 11-inning start where that pitcher’s team actually lost, a pitcher win both ends of a doubleheader with 9.1 one-hit innings, and 27 walks in a nine-inning game. Just another weekend in the best sport in the world.
Remember how I couldn’t find a sweep to mention last weekend? That wasn’t be a problem this week. Lots of teams put out serious statements of intent as we turned the calendar from March to April. Boston College headlined some stellar play in Division I. Stonehill and Post both got off to great conference starts in Division II. And in Division III, Western Connecticut pulled off a huge upset sweep of Southern Maine, and Endicott and Husson had stellar weeks as well.