Yeah. That’ll teach me to gloat about early-season weather. Mother Nature really took a buzzsaw to the New England college baseball scene this weekend. Thanks to some creative scheduling, though, we’ve still got plenty to recap. Big weeks for Northeastern and Hartford in D1, Franklin Pierce kept on rolling in D2, and Wesleyan stayed hot after returning from Arizona in D3. More on those teams and plenty of others after the jump.
All right, this took way longer than expected, so I’ll wish you a happy Pi Day and let you get to it. (Didn’t have time to spell or fact check, so let me know what I messed up, and I’ll fix things.)
If there’s a best week of the year in New England college baseball, this is it. Between Divisions II and III, more than two dozen NCAA Tournament games happen right in our backyards. For the third straight year, Harwich and Whitehouse Field are the lucky hosts of the Division III New England Regional. If you live anywhere near the Cape, there’s really no excuse not to catch a game or two. This is can’t-miss baseball.
So, now that everything’s cooled off a bit, let’s take a look at the selection committees’ work before we start getting excited for these regionals to kick off. I’ll discuss the at-large decisions, travel arrangements, and tournament format as a Q&A. If there are any questions/issues I don’t address that you’d like me to, let me know, and I’ll add to the post. None of what I say is an endorsement of the committee’s decisions, I’m just trying to explain them.
Some conferences see the same one or two teams contending for the tournament title year after year. The MASCAC isn’t one of them. In 14 years of conference tournaments, only one program has managed to repeat. That was Bridgewater, who did the deed in both 2003-2004 and 2011-2012. It’s a testament to the league’s parity that the Bears didn’t even make this year’s tournament. We also saw a three-way tie for first and a race for the final playoff spot that came down to the final weekend. Add that to the storyline of Bob Corradi’s title-winning sendoff at Mass Maritime, and you’re looking at one of the most compelling conference tournaments in New England.
We’ve turned the calendar to April, and it feels like the conference standings are starting to settle out. We’re a couple weekends into league play in Division I, and New England teams sit atop the standings in the MAAC, NEC, and Patriot League. In Divisions II and III, some teams have gotten some separation in the early going. Franklin Pierce’s 27-2 start has powered it to a 7-1 divisional mark, and they swept one of their direct rivals this weekend. Every one of the Division III conferences has seen a team race off to a perfect start so far. Husson in the NAC (10-0), Endicott in the CCC (8-0), Saint Joseph’s in the GNAC (6-0), Mitchell (6-0) and Becker (5-0) in the NECC, MIT in the NEWMAC (5-0), Western Connecticut in the LEC (4-0), Amherst (3-0) and Wesleyan (3-0) in the NESCAC, and Salem State in the MASCAC (2-0). It’s still early, of course, but in all three divisions, New England teams have set the bar high for the rest of the teams in their conferences.
Apologies for the delay, I wanted to wait for as many cancellations as possible to roll in before I put anything down on paper. The weekend schedule definitely took a hit, but it’s not as bad as it could’ve been. The way a lot of teams are scheduling, it looks like we’ll be in the clear by next weekend. Then I can stop leading every blog post with the weather, and we can focus exclusively on the baseball. Imagine that. Here’s a look ahead to this weekend.