BEVERLY, Mass. – The 2013 Endicott baseball season culminated in a record-setting number of wins (35), a national ranking of #19 in the country, the team's fifth CCC title, and the deepest run towards a College World Series appearance the program has ever seen. Now, the Gulls now look ahead to the 2014 season as the team releases their spring, 40-game regular season schedule that includes a bevy of nationally and regionally ranked opponents that will ultimately prepare them for another shot at their ultimate goal.
"I strongly believe that playing the best non-conference schedule possible strengthens our program," says seventh-year head coach Bryan Haley, owner of a 163-106 (.606 win-percentage) overall record during his tenure at Endicott. "In order to achieve our goal of competing for and ultimately winning a National Championship, we must understand what it takes to beat the best teams in the region."
Scheduling the region's top teams is exactly what Haley's program has done year-in and year-out and 2014 is no exception with seven of New England's top-10 teams at the end of last season on the docket. Two of those teams were consistently ranked among the nation's top-25 including NCAA Division III Runner-Up Southern Maine, champions of the Little East Conference and the team that ousted Endicott from the NCAA Regionals in the championship game, as well as NEWMAC Championship winners Wheaton (Mass.). The Gulls will face off with both teams with split doubleheaders, taking on Southern Maine Wednesday, March 26th at home and Wednesday, April 16th on the road and Wheaton (Mass.) on Thursday, April 3rd at home and Tuesday, April 22nd on the road.
Endicott take on Western New England, ranked #4 in New England at the end of last season and the team that had won the previous five CCC titles before the Gulls were victorious in 2013, on Sunday, April 6th for a pair of road conference games. The Gulls will also face regionally-ranked #5 Amherst on April 12th, #6 Saint Joseph's (Maine) on May 8th, and #8 Suffolk on April 9th. Salve Regina, Salem State, and MIT, who all appeared on the regional rankings at one point during the 2013 season are also on Endicott's schedule this spring.
After their season and home opener on March 9th against Bates, the Gulls travel south to Central Florida to compete in the annual RussMatt Invitational from March 16th-25th where they expect a challenging schedule of opponents to be revealed in early February.
"Our annual trip to Florida is always one of the highlights of the year," says Haley. "This trip allows us to play meaningful games, in warm weather, against some of the top regional teams that we don't have the opportunity to play up north. In 2014, we anticipate games against Trinity (Conn.) and Bowdoin from the NESCAC along with at least one game against Eastern Connecticut State out of the Little East."
After spring break, eight of Endicott's dates of competition are dedicated to a difficult conference schedule in a league full of parity as nine CCC teams vie for the league championship.
"This year, the conference will be more competitive than ever. The recent coaching changes at Western New England, Salve Regina, Nichols, and Eastern Nazarene have brought four highly-talented young coaches into the league. Dave (Perdios) returning to Curry with Paul (Bortolotti by his side immediately makes the Colonels a championship contender. Roger Williams, Gordon, and Wentworth are also led by great coaches that work hard throughout the recruiting process, year round. I expect every conference game to be a hard-fought battle and the CCC to be a premier league in New England, once again."
The Endicott baseball program boasts a 426-322 (209-78 in-conference) record over 19 seasons with six conference championships (1997, 2000, 2003-04, 2006, 2013), five appearances in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament (regional final appearance in 2013), and three ECAC DIII New England titles (2005, 2011-12). The team plays at the newly-turfed North Field (capacity ~ 1,015) on Endicott's beautiful Beverly, Massachusetts campus.
Each home game on the 2014 schedule will be made available online for those who cannot attend via live statistics and a live webcast. Check the schedule page for links to those offerings.