Men’s baseball seeking to continue recent success

Article by: Alex Mellion

“The past few years we have done very well in the GNAC. We have proven ourselves [to be] one of the teams to beat.”

One of Suffolk’s most successful teams in recent years, the baseball team is looking to experience the same success this season that they’ve seemingly seen year after year.

Coach Cary McConnell is entering his 15th season as head coach, and the team has finished at least .500 in each of his previous 14 seasons. McConnell’s teams also have four GNAC championships and four NCAA Division III championship tournament appearances.  The Rams enter this season as the defending GNAC champions and clearly have the biggest target on their backs.

“The past few years, we have done very well in the GNAC,” said catcher and senior captain Bobby Barrett. “We have proven ourselves [to be] one of the teams to beat.”

Barrett is one of four captains, along with fellow senior Rory Gentile and juniors Mark Annese and Mark Addesa.  Barrett set the school record for RBIs last season with 68, and also had seven home runs and a .374 batting average.  Annese should have an impact on the team’s offense as well as he comes back from a knee injury.

The Rams also have depth at pitching and will count on several underclassmen to help shoulder the load.

“Freshmen Jhonneris Mendez, Chris Campbell and Remy Carpinito could all see a bunch of innings this season,” said assistant coach Anthony Del Prete.

Aside from the freshmen who will be counted on to provide quality innings, the Rams also return many players who gained significant pitching experience last season, including sophomore Charles Kilgore (1-0 record, 4.30 ERA) and senior Marc Doyle (2-1 record). There’s an old saying that “pitching wins championships,” and in order for the Rams to defend their GNAC title, their pitching staff must stay on-track and provide good, solid innings each time out.

Just because the Rams won the GNAC championship last season doesn’t mean that they are going to load their schedule up with cupcake opponents.  The GNAC is always a hard-fought conference and this year shouldn’t be any different.

“This year’s goal will be to be the first team in program history to make consecutive NCAA tournament appearances,” said Del Prete. “The GNAC should be good this year with St. Joe’s, Albertus Magnus, Johnson & Wales and Lasell all looking to contend.”

The Rams’ non-conference schedule will be challenging as well, with games against Husson College, two top-25 teams in Wheaton and Rowan, and defending MASCAC champions Westfield State.

All the pieces are there for the Rams to meet their goals: 30 wins, a GNAC championship and an NCAA tournament berth.  There’s no reason to believe that this team won’t experience the success it has grown accustomed to, and there is a very good chance that the Suffolk Rams will be counted among the elite teams in NCAA Division III by season’s end.

The Suffolk baseball team will start their season with ten games in Florida, at various sites in Winter Haven and Babson Park against teams from around the country. The Rams’ first game back in New England will be on Mar. 23 at Babson College at 3:30 p.m. The Rams’ first home game, played at played at Adams Field in Quincy, will be a double header against Johnson & Wales on Mar. 27. The first game will be played at noon, with the second game played at 3:30 p.m.