Westfield State Sits On Top of 2018 MASCAC Baseball Preseason Poll
The 2017 conference regular season champions Westfield State have been picked to win the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Championship as voted on by the coaches from around the league.
Westfield State earned five first place votes for 45 points in this year's poll. They finished last season 12-2 in league action to earn the regular season crown. Returning for the Owls is outfielder Anthony Crowley who led the conference in RBI (40), home runs (7), triples (6) and slugging percentage (.746). He was also second in batting average (.395) and on-base percentage (.490) to earn a spot on the All-Conference team.
Salem State was up next in second with one first place vote for 39 points. The Vikings were 10-4 during MASCAC play last season. All-Conference honoree Joe White is back for the team. During the 2017 season, he tallied a .354 batting average with 56 hits, including seven doubles, three triples and a home run. He finished with 33 RBI, three stolen bases and a .456 slugging percentage.
The reigning MASCAC Tournament Champions Worcester State are in the third slot with a first place vote for 35 points. The Lancers were 7-7 during the league schedule last season. 2017 MASCAC Rookie of the Year Ben Palatino looks to continue the success of his freshman season. Last year, he had a .331 batting average with 45 hits, including 11 doubles, a triple and two home runs with a .446 on-base percentage. He also had 24 RBI and drew 20 walks.
Tied for fourth with 28 points is Fitchburg State and Framingham State. The Falcons received the final first place vote. They were 7-7 during MASCAC play in 2017. Sean Maki is back for Fitchburg State. He finished with a .352 batting average, 43 hits, including 11 doubles, two triples, four home runs with 31 RBI. He also was third in the league in slugging percentage at .574. The Rams had six wins last season and bring back the 2017 MASCAC Pitcher of the Year Kevin Connelly. He was first in the league with seven wins and third with a 2.35 ERA while holding his opponents to a .212 batting average. He threw five complete games, including three shutouts and totaled 63 strikeouts on the season.
Sitting in sixth with 18 points is Massachusetts Maritime. The Buccaneers had five wins in league action last season. All-Conference honoree Connor Kennedy returns for the team after finishing fourth in the conference in batting average (.383) and slugging percentage (.561) while collecting 41 hits, including six doubles, five triples and a home run with 14 RBI and four stolen bases.
MCLA is seventh with 16 points. The Trailblazers finished with six wins during MASCAC play. Christian Seariac is back for the team. In his first season, he batted .275 with 22 hits, including four doubles and six RBI. He drew 15 walks and had seven stolen bases on his way to All-Conference honors.
Closing out the 2018 preseason poll is Bridgewater State in eighth with 15 points. The Bears had three wins during the league campaign last season. Matt Levasseur returns for the team after batting .311 with 33 hits, including five doubles and a home run with 15 RBI to earn a spot on the All-Conference team.
Fitchburg State is the first team in action from the MASCAC on February 24 with non-conference play while the rest of the league begins the following week with other non-conference contests.
The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, the nation's oldest Division III men's and women's playing conference, has a rich and storied tradition of competitive success while celebrating excellence in the classroom. MASCAC member schools include Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, MCLA, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Salem State University, Westfield State University and Worcester State University. Two other institutions, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Plymouth State University, are affiliate members of the conference in the sports of football and men's ice hockey, while Western