BOSTON – Suffolk baseball has hoisted the GNAC trophy in each of the last four seasons and the conference's nine head coach have predicted that nothing will change in 2019 as the Rams sit atop the 2019 GNAC Preseason Poll, the league office announced Wednesday morning.
Suffolk is considered the conference's top contenders for the third straight season with 80 points thanks to receiving all, but one first-place nod. Anthony Del Prete's Rams look to keep its streak going and win its fifth consecutive conference crown, a feat that has only been accomplished once in the league's 19-year history. Saint Joseph's (Maine), who slides into the second spot in the poll with one first-place vote and 71 points, was the last squad to win five straight titles from 2010-14.
The historic rivals have all season to prep for one another, however, as the Rams and Monks will not meet until the final conference twinbill of the regular season, Saturday, April 27 in Vacation Land.
The preseason frontrunner has gone on to win the regular season on six occasions and raised the postseason trophy a league-best eight times. The predicted runner-up, meanwhile holds six postseason wins and five regular season titles.
Johnson & Wales (63) checks in at No. 3, while Lasell (43) and Albertus Magnus (33) close out the top five. League newcomer Colby Sawyer (29), Norwich (25) and Rivier (16) file out the remainder of the poll.
Del Prete, who has guided the Rams to four straight GNAC banners in as many years as Suffolk's manager, assembled a 31-player roster comprised of 21 returners and 10 newcomers, nine of which are true freshman. The Rams pen builds nearly half of the Rams' role with 15 pitchers on the list – four south paws, nine righties and two positional pitchers. Seniors Charles Batchelder (59.2 IP, 39 Ks, 4.53 ERA), Kevin Sinatra (59.1, 35 Ks, 2.73 ERA), Worth Walrod (45.0 IP, 35 Ks, .560 ERA (2017)) and Tyler Zell (39.0 IP, 27 Ks, 2.31 ERA) look to anchor Suffolk's 15-player staff. In the field, Del Prete will call upon the experience of Tim Brigham (.258/.366/.394, 17 H, 14 RBI), Blasé Cormier (.317/.422.393, 46 H, 26 RBI), Rich Gilbride (.237/.370.298, 31 H, 18 RBI, 10 SB) and Trevor Lee (.278/.435/.322, 32 H, 18 RBI, 10 SB) to hold down the infield and Will Hopkins (.265/.376.408, 39 H, 27 RBI, 11 SB) to buoy the outfield.
Suffolk is set for its 72nd-season opener in the Bay State, next Friday, March 1 when it makes the short trip to No. 9 UMass Boston. First pitch between the Rams and Beacons at Monan Park is scheduled for 3 p.m.
|2019 GNAC BASEBALL PRESEASON COACHES' POLL|
2. St. Joseph's (Maine)
3. Johnson & Wales
4. Anna Maria
6. Albertus Magnus
7. Colby Sawyer
|2018 GNAC RECORD