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.
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.
The weather was gorgeous this weekend, and the baseball was even better. We had more walkoffs than I can ever remember in a single weekend, and plenty of sweeps, upsets, and offense throughout the region. In Division I, UConn knocked off a top-30 opponent, Northeastern got a big road sweep, and the Ivy League standings got bunched about as tightly as possible entering the final two weekends. In Division II, Southern New Hampshire won its midweek grudge match with Franklin Pierce as part of a perfect week that left it atop the NE-10 Northeast. And in D3, a slew of title races came into focus in a weekend of walkoffs and upsets. Read on for more.
Revenge was a theme this week, with teams like Rhode Island, Dartmouth, and Mass Maritime avenging painful playoff losses from a year ago. Along with that, we saw Boston College earn a big series win over the defending national champions, big weeks for the Rolfe Division and the NE-10 Northeast, and conference standings taking shape in D3. Read on for more.
I’ve gotta say, I really wish the weather were cooperating for this weekend, because the schedule is absolutely loaded. The defending CWS champions will pay a visit to New England (something that hasn’t happened in decades), and Hartford, Rhode Island, and Northeastern host big D1 series as well. In D2, Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire, who’re both in the top 5 nationally now, will celebrate the honor with five home games apiece. And it’s rivalry weekend in D3. Williams and Amherst renew the oldest rivalry in college baseball, and Babson-Wheaton, Suffolk-Saint Joseph’s, and Bowdoin-Bates will also be on display. Bottom line: if you’re willing to layer up, you won’t need to travel far for some great baseball this weekend. Continue reading
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.
The games are only getting bigger as we turn the page on March, and there were plenty of big wins to fill the roundup. Hartford and Sacred Heart both took to the road to earn sweeps, Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire kept on rolling ahead of their showdown this Wednesday, and there were some big results in D3. All that, and some thoughts on some big news about the D3 Tournament, after the jump.
So we’re going to try something new with our weekend previews. Instead of going division-by-division, league-by-league like before, I’m going to break things down by region. The idea is to give people an idea of the best games on offer in their own backyards. Every week, I’ll pick the can’t-miss series from every corner of New England and talk about the narratives, players, and implications surrounding each of them. As I’ve written elsewhere, you’d have plenty of reasons to get yourself to a park even if we weren’t expecting sunshine this weekend. So thanks for clicking, enjoy the post, and if you won’t already be playing in one, get out and see a game.
We’ve gotten in a lot more non-conference baseball than we’re used to this year, but with the end of March, we’re finally getting into conference play. Leagues like the ACC, AEC, NEC, and NECC are in full swing now, and some fascinating title races are already taking shape. More on those, and on the slew of NECB clubs representing the region well as our center of gravity shifts from south to north in the weeks ahead.
(One other thing, a favor to ask: I’ll be linking the blog posts on a Facebook page from here on out, and I’d much appreciate it if you’d give it a like and help spread the word to folks who aren’t on Twitter to follow the season along with us. Thanks, and enjoy the post!)
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.)