Castleton Baseball Headlines 2017 NAC Coaches' Preseason Poll

The three-time defending champion Castleton Spartans have been unanimously voted the favorite in the 2017 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) baseball preseason coaches' poll. Castleton received 49 points, including all seven first place votes, while 2016 runner-up Husson was selected second with 41 points.

Only a few points separated the next four teams, as Colby-Sawyer was tabbed third after claiming 25 points, Lyndon took fourth just one point behind the Chargers, while the University of Maine at Farmington was fifth earning 21 points and Thomas was tabbed sixth one point behind the Beavers. New England College (16 points) respectively rounded out the poll in seventh.

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head baseball coaches.

2017 NAC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll

   Team                    Points (First Place Votes)
 1. Castleton  49 (7)
 2.   Husson  41
 3. Colby-Sawyer    25
 4. Lyndon      24
 5. UMaine-Farmington          21
 6. Thomas 20 
 7. New England College 
16 

 

The top two teams in the 2017 preseason poll faced off for the NAC title a season ago. Castleton and Husson, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the 2016 tournament, both earned wins on day one, while day two saw the Spartans claim a 7-5 12-inning victory over the Eagles in game four. Husson then earned a win in game five to claim a spot in the championship game, but had to defeat Castleton twice. After five innings of play, the Eagles led the Spartans 4-1, but then a five-run sixth inning turned things around for Castleton, as the team eventually claimed a 6-5 victory to capture a third-consecutive title.

Castleton went on to participate in the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament after earning the NAC's automatic bid into the national tournament. In the opening round of the regional, the Spartans fell to  No. 1 Cortland 14-4, but rebounded with a 3-1 win over Union on Day 2. Unfortunately, Castleton then fell 7-2 to Susquehanna and were eliminated from the regional.

Throughout the next three weeks all seven NAC baseball teams will kick off their quest for the 2017 conference title. The top four teams in the NAC regular-season standings will qualify for the conference tournament, which gets underway Friday, May 5, and will continue through Sunday, May 7.

Click HERE to view the 2017 NAC Baseball composite schedule.
Click HERE to view the 2017 NAC Baseball conference only schedule.

2017 NAC Baseball Previews

**For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the baseball section of each school's website.

 

1. Castleton (33-12, 21-3 NAC) will be led by Ted Shipley who enters his 17th season at the helm of the Spartans. Zach Bahan (Shaftsbury, Vt.) will continue his presence as a power bat in 2017, leading all returners with three home runs, 12 doubles, 34 RBI, and a .459 slugging percentage last season. Deagan Poland (Williston, Vt.) looks to build off a strong freshman campaign that featured 47 hits, 38 runs scored, and a .318 batting average in 44 games played, while Nick Patierne (Schenectady, N.Y.) returns behind the dish after throwing out 25 percent of base stealers and posting a .979 fielding percentage last season. On the mound, Steven Jurkiewicz (Essex Jct., Vt.; pictured right) leads all returners with a 3.73 ERA in 60.1 innings of work last season. The Spartans lost their top hitter and pitcher from a season ago, but they will look to defend their NAC title in 2017 with a blend of new talent and core returners. 

 

 

2. Husson (23-21, 15-9 NAC), led by 10th-year head coach Jason Harvey, will see 21 returners from last season. The Eagles will look to four seniors, Ryan Rebar (Harmony, Maine; pictured right), who was a first team all-conference selection, Cam Archer (Old Town, Maine), Christian Corneil (Bangor, Maine), and Ben Walls (Bar Harbor, Maine), who was a second team honoree, to lead the team. Second-year player's Mike Wong (Lewiston, Maine), Conor Maguire (Ellsworth, Maine) Alex Chapman (Westfield, Vt.) and Sam Huston (Bangor, Maine) will look to repeat upon their success from a season ago.

 

 

3. Colby-Sawyer (13-23, 8-16 NAC) will be led by Jim Broughton for the 23rd-straight season. The Chargers return all three of their All-NAC honorees from last season in junior Doug Avellino (Woodstock, Vt.), senior Nathan Frongillo (Haverhill, Mass.; pictured right) and senior Jackson Musco (Litchfield, N.H.). Frongillo hit .393 and led the team in slugging (.512), while Musco led the team with 15 steals. Avellino, a two-time NAC Rookie of the Week last season, hit .333 and knocked in 16 runs. Senior first baseman Justin Devoid (Quechee, Vt.) dealt with an injury last season, but hit .411 in 19 games and hopes for a healthy return to this year's lineup. With the loss of just one starting position player, the Chargers' lineup will look similar this season, while the pitching staff returns three of its top four starters. Colby-Sawyer opens the season with 11 games in Florida in the middle of March and will battle Lyndon on April 1 to begin conference play. 

 

 


4. Lyndon (11-28, 6-18 NAC)
 will be under the guidance of Tom White who enters his fourth season at the helm of the Hornets squad. White is confident in the quality and depth of his pitching staff this season with returners Jeff Williams (Gilsum, N.H.), Zak Johnson (East Hampton, Conn.), and James Mundy (Brentwood, N.H.). Other key returners include Andre Eason Jr. (Waterbury, Conn.), Devon Rollins (Winooski, Vt.), Ben Rollins (Lincolnville, Maine) and 2016 All-Conference Second Team selection Ryan Cordeiro (Rollinsford, N.H.; pictured right). The team will look to improve every single day with consistency and confidence, with the goal of making an appearance in the 2017 postseason. 

 

 

5. UMaine-Farmington (23-16, 15-9 NAC) will be led by seventh-year head coach Chris Bessey. Key returners for the Beavers include senior catcher Jordan Croteau (South Paris, Maine; pictured right) who was named Second Team All-Conference a year ago, senior Chad Snowman (Dixfield, Maine) who will see time in the outfield and catching, Mark Leahy (Rochester, N.H.) who is the team leader in pitching appearances, and Trevor Hisler (Skowhegan, Maine) a three-year starter in the infield. A pair of juniors will bolster the pitching staff, as Riley Chickering (Otisfield, Maine) lead the team with five wins and Nate Pushard (Auburn, Maine) lead the team with four complete games a season ago. After finishing with program-records in wins a year ago and graduating eight seniors that were all major producers, the Beavers will have to find production from the underclassmen. With a mix of upperclassmen and a solid group of first-year players, the team hopes to make its fourth-consecutive NAC Championship appearance. 

 

 


6. Thomas (20-20, 13-11 NAC)
will see Greg King at the helm who enters his 21st season and will lead a young Terriers squad, consisting of 20 freshmen. Key returners for Thomas include juniors Alex Curtis (Monmouth, Maine), Triston Pena (Portland, Texas), and Matt Rutherford (Saco, Maine; pictured right). Curtis appeared in 29 games last season, batting .269 with 11 RBI, while Pena saw action behind the plate and batted .283 in 21 games. Rutherford will handle the load on the mound for Thomas after throwing 56.1 innings last season in nine starts and three relief appearances, which was the second most on the Terriers last season. 

 

 

7. The New England College (7-25, 6-18 NAC) will look to turn the tides in 2017 under first-year head coach Chris Shank. The Pilgrims return senior Conor Crouse (West Haven, Conn.) to the outfield after he led the team at the plate last year with a .352 batting average, 26 runs scored, and a .423 on-base percentage. Pitcher Vincent Backert (Shelton, Conn.; pictured right) also returns after his Second Team All-Conference recognition in 2016. The Pilgrims have also brought in six transfers this season, including Evan Delaney (Hadley, Mass.), a sophomore outfielder from UMass-Amherst and Jamie Carey (Amherst, Mass.), a freshman from SNHU.