ATTLEBORO, Mass. - The Newbury Nighthawks collected 15 points in the New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Preseason Poll, placing them fifth in the preseason vote as determined by the NECC Coaches and announced by the NECC Office on Thursday.
The Nighthawks return a number of starters to the lineup including senior Matt Sobray (Santa Clarita, Calif.) and junior David Center (Medford, Mass.). Sophomore Dante Serino (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) also returns after his freshman season of hitting .333.
The pitching staff gets senior Jake Pringle (Acushnet, Mass.) back after missing much of last season due to injury. Senior Jim McGrorry (Oakhurst, N.J.) also boosts the Nighthawks pitching staff, returning following a season of 13 appearances and a 3.92 ERA.
Mitchell College took the top spot in the polls, amassing 34 points and four first-place votes. After winning three of the last four NECC Championships, Mitchell will look to take back the title after a one-season hiatus. The Mariners return five starters, including the 2017 NECC Player of the Year, Garet Griffin, and first team All-NECC selection, Kyle Hartenstein. Griffin, a senior shortstop, led the conference in batting average (.496), on-base percentage (.556), and slugging percentage (.752).
Second in the vote was Lesley University, gathering 31 points and three first-place votes. The defending NECC Champions will return eight starters, highlighted by first-team All-NECC selection Tom Muratore. The senior pitcher was a workhorse for the Lynx in 2017, leading the conference in innings pitched at 71.
Finishing in third with 24 points is Elms College. The Blazers will have a strong pitching rotation, as they return two first-team All-NECC pitchers, Jacob Graveline and Matt Plasse. Plasse was second in the conference in ERA, at 2.89, finishing with a 5-3 record. Graveline also finished 5-3 with an ERA of 4.21.
Becker College is a close fourth with 22 points. Becker will look to first team All-NECC selection Josiah Shepard to make an impact for the Hawks. The senior center fielder committed only two errors and boasted a .981 fielding percentage last season.
After the Nighthawks, closing out the polls are Southern Vermont College with 11 points and Dean College with 10 points.
Portions of this release courtesy the NECC Office