After back-to-back seasons falling short in the CCC Championship to Salve Regina, the Endicott Baseball team will hope third times the charm this season.
The Gulls followed up on their 29-15 record in 2016 with a 25-19 record in 2017. Despite the down tick in the win column, the team still battled through the conference play to make it to the CCC Championship again, but fell to Salve Regina 12-2 and 8-2.
The boys in blue and green will look to buck this trend in the 2018 season, and will do so led by a few experienced veterans including: Seniors Mike DeDonato, Nick Berno, Michael Casciano and Junior Will Bryant.
DeDonato played a large part in the Gulls success last season, producing a .310 average in 44 games at second base. He also added 29 RBI’s and 19 stolen bases.
Last season, Berno hit for a .338 average, as well as caused havoc on the base paths with 16 stolen bases. The outfielder was named to the 2017 All-CCC Second Team for the second straight year. He will be accompanied by Michael Casciano in the outfield. For Casciano, he broke out onto the scene last year, playing in 43 games batting .302, going yard twice. Berno and Casciano will look to continue their hot hitting into their Senior year.
Bryant, the team’s closer, was named to the D3baseball.com All-New England Second Team. He was also named to the 2017 All-CCC First Team, and 2018 “Player to Watch” by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Bryant pitched in 21.1 innings, striking out 18 batters. He finished the season with an ERA of 1.27 and seven saves. Bryant spent his off season pitching for the Stanford Mainers of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Despite bringing back a strong group of players from last year, the team will be missing quite a few big pieces.
Reigning CCC Pitcher of the Year Kevin Gould will miss the season for Tommy John surgery. Gould had the lowest ERA for the Gulls last season at 2.38. Similarly, Bailey Train will miss the season with an elbow injury, but will bypass on the surgery for rest and physical therapy. Starting first baseman Chris Seidl has also announced he has stepped away from playing. Graduate-student Colby Morris, who pitched the third most innings last season, suffered an ACL injury, costing him his final season.
Additionally, the team graduated a large Senior class last season, pictured below:
With the losses, the Gulls will add some key pieces. The roster for the team has yet to be announced, but the large freshman class will fill key positions on the infield.
Coach Bryan Haley enters his 11th season at the helm at Endicott. For this season, he adds former alum Harry Oringer ’15 to the coaching staff. Oringer will join Frank DeFelice for his 12th season.
Overall, losing a couple players to injury, as well as a big Senior class, on paper it might be considered a rebuilding year for the Gulls. Though, Coach Haley is known for having deep teams at Endicott, and if some young players can step up in new roles, watch out for this team down the stretch.
The Gulls will travel to California in just a few short weeks to kick of their season. Their first home game will be March 21 against Salem State, pending the weather of course.