SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Coming off a record-breaking campaign in 2013 that ended with a NCAA New England Regional finals appearance, the program's first Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship since 2006, and a school record 35-win season, the Endicott baseball team will play their first games this spring as the preseason favorite to win the 2014 CCC Championship. The Gulls claimed eight of nine first place votes by the league's head coaches to repeat as conference champions.
Endicott welcomes back six All-CCC honorees including ABCA/Rawlings NCAA DIII All-America Gold Glove first baseman Brett Holmgren (Middleboro, Mass). The Gulls will also return six of their top seven hitters from the 2013 roster that placed Endicott atop nearly every offensive category in the conference a season ago. One of the league's most dangerous lineups, however, will need to make up for the loss of four high-impact senior pitchers that combined for 229.1 innings, 22 victories, and seven saves and delivered a program record 35 wins last spring.
Leadership on this year's squad begins with a trio of senior captains in outfielder Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.), utility man Taylor English (Barre, Vt.), and short reliever Connor McLaughlin (Clinton, Mass.) who all exhibit high character and exceptional athletic skill. Bryan Haley, the 2013 CCC Coach of the Year, who in six seasons has a 163-106 (.606) overall record, and his veteran coaching staff will lead the Gulls into the spring ranked No. 23 by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and just outside the top-25 preseason poll according to D3baseball.com.
Coming in behind Endicott (80 points, eight first place votes) in the CCC Preseason Coaches' Poll was last year's conference runner-up Western New England (69, one first place vote) who also earned an at-large bid into the NCAA New England Regional Tournament. Salve Regina (67), who was eliminated in game 10 of the 2013 CCC Tournament, checked in at third place followed by Roger Williams (54) in fourth.
The Gulls begin their 2014 season on Saturday, March 8th with a home doubleheader against Bates before heading down to Central Florida for the RussMatt Invitational from March 16th-22nd. Endicott begins their conference schedule on Saturday, March 29th with a road doubleheader at Eastern Nazarene looking to get a jump on obtaining one of six spots in May's CCC Tournament.
2014 CCC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll
||Team||Points (First Place Votes)|
|2.||Western New England||69 (1)|