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May 2009 Archives

Associate head coach Bob Wojick to be honored with Kevin Burr Award

All-Star Game Rosters.pdf      Directions to Campanelli Stadiium

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Senior All-America Shawn Gilblair (Windham) will represent Eastern Connecticut State University at the 35th Annual New England College Baseball All-Star Game, scheduled for Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA.

At right: Shawn Gilblair

Gilblair, named the New England Player-of-the-Year and NCAA Division III national co-Player-of-the-Year this past spring, is a member of the  31-player College Division roster at the utility position. The College Division team is comprised of Division II All-New England players and a senior all-star team from Division III. Senior first-team All-New England selections in Division III were joined on the College Division team by additional senior All-New England picks. According to NCAA Division III rules, only seniors are eligible to compete in all-star games.

The College Division team looks for its third straight win against the University all-star team Thursday, The University team is comprised of first and second-team Division I All-New England selections.

During pre-game ceremonies Eastern associate head coach Bob Wojick will be presented the Kevin Burr Award, which is presented to a New England college baseball assistant coach for dedication and integrity. The award is being presented for the third straight year and is named in honor of the late Tufts University assistant and Dean College head coach, who passed away suddenly Janaury 6, 2007 after two seasons at Tufts. Previous winners of the award were Norm Govoni of Babson College in 2007 and Bob Clarke of Tufts last year.

campanelli stadium signdfccece0f377f986bc7_500.jpgPrior to the game, Eastern will also receive a trophy as the top-ranked team in the final  NEIBA New England Division III Coaches' Poll, conducted prior to the NCAA tournament. Boston College will receive the Division I award and Franklin Pierce College the Division II trophy. 

After being named MVP of the Little East Conference tournament for the third time in his career, Gilblair was named to the NCAA New England Regional all-tournament team the following week. In addition to a pitching win, he was 9-for-24 (.375) with three doubles, a home run and a team-leading seven RBI, and handled 32 chances at first base without an error,

Giblair started all 45 games in which he appeared this year and batted over .400 (.402) for the second straight season this year. He totaled career-highs in hits (70), doubles (21/one shy of the season record), total bases (118), RBI (68), and runs (51) and also hit nine home runs. As a left-handed pitcher, he was 8-1 with a 2.71 ERA which topped all starting pitchers. He fanned 99 batters and walked only 12, opponents hitting .212 against him. In his final start, he fanned 14 in seven innings in a regional tournament win over the University of Southern Maine. 

Gilblair leaves the program as the only player ever with as many as 20 pitching wins, 20 home runs, and 200 hits and is among the all-time offensive and pitching leaders in most every category.  In his career, he collected 236 hits with a .373 batting average, and 29 home runs. He is ranked second all-time (one behind the leader) with 194 RBI and fourth in total bases (370). His 28 pitching wins in 35 decisions rank him in a tie for fifth all-time, and he also ranks fourth in strikeouts (281) and seventh in ERA (2.31).

Wojick's regional award comes on the heels of a national award in 2005, when he became the wojickWEB2_1692.jpgfirst Division III coach to receive the ABCA National Assistant Coach-of-the-Year Award. Wojick has been associated with the Eastern baseball program since 1969 as a player, sub-varsity, varsity assstant and varsity associate head coach. The Willimantic native played three seasons under current 41st-year head coach Bill Holowaty between 1969 and 1971 and recently completed his 33rd official season on the coaching staff this past spring.

At right: Bob Wojick

This past year, Eastern won the the Little East Conference tournament championship and was the top seed and host for the NCAA Division III New England Tournament. With a final overall record of 39-8, the Warriors were ranked eighth nationally in the final ABCA Division III poll, released Monday.

 Ed Flaherty, head coach at Southern Maine, and George Reidy, head coach at Assumption College, will serve as College Division co-coaches. Jim Foster of the University of Rhode Island will coach the University Division all-stars.

Campanelli Stadium serves as the home facility for the Brockton Rox of the independent Can American League.

The rain date for the game is Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at Campanelli Stadium.


 

M-LACROSSE HEADLINES NEILA EAST-WEST SENIOR GAME SUNDAY

Program-high four players to compete in New England All-Star Game

Complete roster.pdfsavagek 72dpi_0703.jpg                                                             Kyle Savage (below)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Four Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse players - the most of any institution - will compete in the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) East-West Senior All-Star Game Sunday, May 31 at 1 p.m. at Bello Field on the Tufts University campus.

Named from Eastern were goalie Kyle Savage (Southington), attackman and twin brother Matthew Savage (Southington), midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic) and defenseman Steve Lane (Groton). Both Simmons and Lane were earlier named to the NEILA All-New England second team and as USILA Division III honorable mention All-Americas. All four Eastern players were first-team All-Little East Conference selections, with Simmons the Offensive Player-of-the-Year and Lane the Defensive Player-of-the-Year.

Behind Eastern's four selections, host Tufts, and Western New England College -- all Division III institutions -- and Division II Merrimack College all had three representatives.

This season marks the 12th consecutive year and the 13th time in the program's 14-year history that Eastern has had at least one representative to this game. Prior to this year, Eastern had had as many as three representatives in 2001 and 2003. Only one player had been named each of the last five years.

Below: Accepting the conference playoff trophy earlier this month were Eastern captains Douglas Hackenyos (28) and seniors Kyle Savage (24), DJ Simmons (20), tourney MVP Matthew Savage (10) and Steve Lane (21).

mlax captainslecWEB_0424.jpgA total of 37 athletes representing 21 Division I, II and III institutions will compete in the all-star game, which returns to Tufts University after a two-year stint at historic Harvard Stadium. A total of ten Division III institutions are represented, with players coming from four Division II schools and seven Division I schools.Eastern was the only Little East Conference institution represented.

Along with junior defenseman Douglas Hackenyos (West Suffield), Eastern's four senior participants in the game served as team captains this past season for the Warriors, who equalled the program record for wins (15-4 record), captured the conference regular-season and playoff championships, and won their first-ever NCAA tournament victory.

Kyle Savage, the program leader in five goalie categories, becomes the first Eastern goalie ever named to the team. He is joined on the all-star squad by Tufts goalie Matt Harrigan. Matthew Savage (53 goals/77 points) and Simmons (49/63)  ranked 1-2 in the conference this year in goals and points, with Simmons also the LEC leader with seven game-winning goals. Matthew Savage ranked in a tie for third this year in New England Division III in goals (tied for seventh nationally) and was fourth in the region in points (seventh nationally).

Matthew Savage closed out his Eastern career ranked second all-time in goals (130) and seventh in points (186), and also set a program record by scoring at least one goal in 22 consecutive games between the 2008 season-opener and the fifth game of this season. Simmons is ranked fourth all-time in goals (127) and ninth in points (168). Simmons also ranks first in career games (70), Lane second in games (69).and fourth in ground balls (266).


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Senior baseball player is first-team selection to elite college division team

                                                                                                                Tristan Hobbes (below)

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior  baseball player Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) has been recognized for four years of academic and athletic success by becoming the institution's first-ever ESPN The Magazine/College Division Academic All-America, announced today. Hobbes was a first-team choice to the team, which is co-sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

All first-team all-district winners were eligible for national consideration. Hobbes was a three-time, first-team member of the College Division District 1 team, which is comprised of Division II and III student-athletes from institutions located in New England and New York.

A first baseman, Hobbes was a four-year member of the Eastern baseball team who graduated this past Sunday with a degree in Communication and a minor in Sport and Leisure Management.

 "This is a very deserving honor and  is a fitting end to his career at Eastern," noted head baseball coach Bill Holowaty of his 2009 team co-captain. "His accomplishments in the classroom and on the baseball field speak for themselves.  He's just a good, all-around kid - everyone likes and respects him. He's earned respect by his actions on and off the field and has been a great example for future ballplayers here."

A total of 34 student-athletes were honored as academic All-America. Eleven individuals comprised the first and third teams and 12 were named to the second team. Hobbes was one of only two selections from New England, having been joined by MIT senior infielder Thomas Phillips, a second-team selection from Durham, N.C.

Hobbes became the baseball program's first academic all-district choice ever two years ago in his first year of eligibility and has followed that up by repeating the honor each of the last two years.

"The thing that I am most proud of is that I haven't (promoted) him (for these kinds of awards)," said Holowaty. "Other people have pushed him, and when that happens, you know as a student-athlete, that you've been doing something right."

Hobbes carried an overall 3.82 grade-point average through the fall semester He was been a member of the Dean's List (3.50+) in seven of his eight semesters at Eastern and is a member of the Communication honor society.

As an undergraduate, Hobbes has received numerous awards and citations for academic and extracurricular activities. He earned an Eastern/E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award  (cumulative 3.50 GPA) and also qualified for a spot on the the Little East Conference baseball academic honor roll in each of his two seasons of eligibility for those awards.This past spring, he received the prestigious Connecticut State University System Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award. For that award, nominees must have a minimum cumulative 3.75 GPA and have exhibited a record of hobbes1b 72_1019.jpgsignificant community service.

In addition to his academic accomplishments, Hobbes has served as the president of Eastern's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for two years, has been Eastern's representative to the Little East Conference SAAC, has been active as a play-by-play and color commentator for a variety of the department's internet broadcasts the last two seasons, and has hosted a weekly sports radio show dedicated to campus events.

Hobbes is also a finalist for the Jim McKay Scholarship --  a $10,000 scholarship presented by the NCAA to one male and one female student-athlete in recognition of  outstanding academic achievement and potential to make a major contribution in the sports communication industry. 

This past spring, Hobbes  was awarded the prestigious Francis E. Geissler Senior Male SportsPerson-of-the-Year Award, which rewards one male student-athlete for team spirit, dedication, integrity, sportsmanship, and leadership.

A first baseman, the left-handed hitting Hobbes was named second-team all-conference and a member of this year's conference tournament championship team and NCAA qualifier. He batted .331 in 42 games, with six home runs, 32 RBI and 72 total bases and fielded .987. The Warriors won 39 and lost 8 and were ranked first nationally in Division III after winning their first 13 games.

 A first-team All-New England selection as a sophomore in 2007, Hobbes was a member of two regional championship teams in his career. He batted .330 with 175 hits, 12 home runs, 122 RBI and a .986 fielding average.

Hobbes was a 2005 graduate of  Notre Dame High School in Utica. As a senior captain in baseball, he was named first-team all-state and Tri-Valley League Player-of-the-Year and led his team to the New York state championship


 

FRESHMEN M-TRACK DUO FINISHES ON HIGH NOTE IN 2009 SEASON

At Open, Ricketts All-NE and Spranzo breaks steeplechase record

 Ricketts (top), and Spranzo

ricketts head 72_6243.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - On an Eastern Connecticut State University men's track and field team which sparkled with freshmen this year, Andrew Ricketts (Hartsdale, NY) and Stephen Spranzo (Colchester) may have shone the brightest.

With 13 of the  22 roster athletes being 'true' freshmen, Rickets and Spranzo wrapped up their first seasons by excelling in post-season competition.

After winning the Little East Conference and New England Alliance 100 meter titles in late April, Ricketts finished sixth in a field of 23 at the New England Division III Championships May 2 and placed eighth among 29 competitors the next spranzo head 72_2645.jpgweekend at the New England Open, which features the top Division I, II and III athletes in the region. At the Open, Ricketts was timed in a personal-best 10.97 in the preliminaries before being clocked at 11.18 in the finals.

Ricketts finishes in those New England meets earned him All-New England status in only his first season. In all, he achieved All-New England status three times, as he ran the third leg of the 4x100 relay which placed sixth at the Division III championship. Despite featuring three freshmen and a sophomore, that relay was timed in 43.42, less than a second off the program record of 42.47 set three years ago. Ricketts and standout freshmen classmates Nick Pates (East Haven) and Alex Springer (Willimantic) were joined by sophomore Mike D'Elia  (Windham) on that relay.

Ricketts concluded his freshman season by taking 17th in a field of 27 May 14 at the ECAC Division III Championships at Springfield College.

Spranzo, who ran middle and long distances during the indoor season, excelled outdoors in the 3,000 meter steeplechase during the outdoor season. After gaining all-alliance honors by finishing sixth among 21 comeptitiors at the LEC/NEA Championships with a time of 10:11.16, Spranzo broke 10 minutes in that event the next weekend at the New England Division III Championship with a time of 9:53.56 that made him the tenth-place finisher among 23.

Spranzo capped his first collegiate season by breaking the 28-year-old record at the New England Open May 9. In that race, Spranzo was timed in 9:48.70, besting Mark Cutler's program record of 9:49.5, set in 1981. That time was less than two seconds off the ECAC Championship qualifying time.

Pates and Springer were also key performers in a group of standout freshmen. Pates ran to all-conference honors with a third-place finish in the 400, and was fifth at 200 meters, competing  in the New England Open in that event.

Springer, who did not compete indoors until the last day of January, won the conference long jump championship and set a personal-best mark of 21-6 at the New England Division III  Championships. He was also seventh in a field of 24 in the conference 200 meter championship.


 

GILBLAIR PLAYER-OF-YEAR (AGAIN)

 He is a first-team baseball All-America for third time; Castillo third-teamer

 Shawn Gilblair (below)

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Complete team.pdf

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior Shawn Gilblair (Windham) has been named NCAA Division III Player-of-the-Year by the American Baseball Coaches' Association (ABCA) for the second time in his career, in the process becoming the first player in Eastern Connecticut State University history to be named to the All-America first team as many as three times.

Gilblair, a left-handed pitcher and lefty-swinging, designated hitter, first baseman, and outfielder, shared the Player-of-the-Year Award for the second time, this year with Pomona-Pitzer Colleges senior first baseman Drew Hedman. As a sophomore first-team All-America in 2007, Gilblair shared the award with Chapman University utility player Kurt Yacko.

Joining Gilblair from Eastern on the 50-player ABCA/Rawlings All-America team was junior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury), who received the identical honor as a freshman shortstop in 2007. Gilblair was a first-team All-America as a freshman in 2006 as a left-handed pitcher before being named at the utility position in 2007 and in 2009. An assortment of shoulder, elbow and knee injuries limited Gilblair to 123 at-bats and 24 1/3 pitching innings last season.

Re-gaining his form of 2006 and 2007 was a difficult process for Gilblair. He underway surgery to repair a torn ligament in  his right knee less than a week after the 2008 season ended, and went under the knife again at the conclusion of the fall season to fix three tears in his right shoulder. With rest, the  pain in his left elbow dissipated enough to throw 63 innings this year - second-most on the staff.

By dieting and adhering to a swimming and running and weight-lifting regiment, Gilblair dropped more than 40 pounds from last year, beginning the 2009 season at 196 pounds. "I had so many things wrong with my body, I didn't know if I'd ever be able to play a full season (in 2009)," admitted Gilblair. "I really didn't think that I'd ever be able to throw again. That was one of my biggest worries. I definitely had my doubts. But I just worked extra-hard last off-season and in the summer, and I came back strong. All of that work paid off."

One of the most versatile players in program history, Gilblair started ten games on the mound this year, 33 at designated hitter, seven at first base, and five in left field. He was the team's starting cleanup hitter in 40 of 47 games. castilloWEB_1951.jpg

Prior to this year, no Eastern player had ever garnered first-team All-America honors as many as three times. The only previous three-time All-Americas were right-handed pitcher John Caneira a second-team NAIA selection between 1972 and 1974, and Don Fusari (1976-78) a two-time second-team and one-time third-team NCAA pick at designated hitter.

At right: Melvin Castillo (21)

Last week, Gilblair was named New England Player-of-the-Year at the utility position for the second time in three years and became only the second four-time all-region selection in Eastern Connecticut State University baseball history.

"I was recognized as an all-region player in 2008, but I didn't think that I as one of the top players," said Gilblair. "I didn't play the way I wanted to in 2008. I had been very successful my first two years, and I just wanted to get back to that level. You expect something out of yourself , and when you don't achieve it, it's a big disappointment. I wanted to help the team (this year). I wanted our team to work hard and be one of the top teams in the country."

Giblair started all 45 games in which he appeared this year and batted over .400 (.402) for the second straight season this year. He totaled career-highs in hits (7), doubles (21/one shy of the season record), total bases (118), RBI (68), and runs (51) and also hit nine home runs. As a left-handed pitcher, he was 8-1 with a 2.71 ERA which topped all starting pitchers. He fanned 99 batters and walked only 12, opponents hitting .212 against him.

After being named MVP of the Little East Conference tournament for the third time in his career, Gilblair was named to the NCAA New England Regional all-tournament team last weekend. In that  tournament, he was 9-for-24 (.375) with three doubles, a home run and a team-leading seven RBI, handled 32 chances at first base without an error, and pitched a complete-game five-hitter against conference rival University of Southern Maine in the second round.

Gilblair leaves the program as the only player ever with as many as 20 pitching wins, 20 home runs, and 200 hits and is among the all-time offensive and pitching leaders in most every category.  In his career, he collected 236 hits with a .373 batting average, and 29 home runs. He is ranked second all-time (one behind the leader) with 194 RBI and fourth in total bases (370). His 28 pitching wins in 35 decisions rank him in a tie for fifth all-time, and he also ranks fourth in strikeouts (281) and seventh in ERA (2.31).

The national Player-of-the-Year Award was instituted in 1988. Prior to Gilblair, junior outfielder Basilio Ortiz of Eastern was accorded the prestigious honor in 1991. Gilblair becomes the third player to be selected for the award as many as two times, but the first to earn the distinction in non-consecutive seasons. Shortstop Tim Jorgensen of UW-Oshkosh was the recipient in 1994 and '95 and utility player Joe Thomas of Marietta College  the winner in 1996 and '97.

 In his first season at third base, Castillo batted a career-high .388 and led the Warriors with 138 total bases - two  more than his freshman total - and matched his freshman total of 14 home runs. He drove in a career-high 60 runs and equaled his career high by scoring 60. Castillo carried a 15-game hitting streak through the first four games of the regional tournament. Castillo broke the program's career record with his 39th career home run Sunday in the regional championship round against Trinity College.

Hedman of Pomona-Pitzer batted .500 with 23 home runs, 166 total bases and 79 RBI through the regular season. Like Gilblair, Hedman re-gained first-team All-America honors this year after earning the award as a sophomore, and helped his team to the top seed in the regional tournament.

Gilblair and Castillo become the 51st and 52nd All-America selection since 1970 under 41st-year head coach Bill Holowaty, who led the Warriors to their ninth straight 30-win season this spring and a final record of 39-8. Ranked first nationally early in the year, Eastern was ranked first in the final New England Division III poll and is rated seventh in the most recent ABCA national poll. The Warriors have reached the championship round of the New England/Northeast Regional Tournament the last 22 times in which they have compted, losing this year, 5-4, to Trinity College.

The selections of Gilblair and Castillo give Eastern seven All-Americas in five sports this year. Previously selected were DJ Simmons (Mystic) and Steve Lane (Groton) in men's lacrosse, Molly Rathbun (Hebron) in softball, Kyle Bedini (Manchester) in men's soccer, and Ashley McFetridge (Canton) in women's basketball.

 

 

LANE, SIMMONS CAP FOUR-YEAR CAREERS AS M-LAX ALL-AMERICAs

Former Fitch High School teammates receive ultimate honor as seniors

                                                                 Steve Lane (below, at right))

laneWEBAA_0709.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Former high school teammates and classmates Steve Lane (Groton) and DJ Simmons (Mystic) have capped four-year careers in the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse program by earning 2009 USILA Division III All-America honors.

Each a senior captain and four-year letterwinner, Lane and Simmons were each named to the 56-person honorable mention team. Lane is a defenseman and Simmons a midfielder. They become the ninth and tenth USILA All-America picks in the program's 14-year history - the first since attackman Marc DiGiovanni (second team) and long stick midfielder Pat Ammendolia (honorable mention) were honored six years ago.

Lane and Simmons both earned all-state honors under Dave Howes at Fitch Senior High School in Groton, leading the Falcons to a conference championship in their senior seasons of 2005. Lane began his high school career at midfield. Simmons' lacrosse career began when he joined the Fitch High program in his junior year.

 

simmonsWEB_0693.jpg"Steve and DJ were both great athletes out of high school who had  incredible work ethics and the desire to become the best," praised second-year head coach Justin Axel. "They exemplify exactly what we look for in our student-athletes. These two young men illustrate the fact that it does not necessarily matter where you come from, but rather, where you want to go."

DJ Simmons (at left)
 
Earlier this week, both were named second-team All-New England by the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA). Earlier this month, Lane was named Defensive Player-of-the-Year and Simmons Offensive Player-of-the-Year by the Little East Conference.

Lane was second on the team this year behind national ground ball leader Eric Vasil (Southington) with a career-high 75 ground balls. For the third time in his career, Lane started every match and concluded his career ranked first all-time among field players with 69 starts and second with 69 appearances. He leaves the program ranked third all-time with 266 ground balls - 16 behind the leader.

"Steve was a true shut-down defenseman as he held some of the best players in the country to very limited goals," offered Axel of Lane, who was a three-time (first-team) all-conference selection in his career. "His work ethic off the field truly showed in his senior campaign."

Lane (21) and Simmons (20) after the LEC title game.

mlaxcaptainsWEB_0428.jpgAlways assigned to defend the opponent's most dangerous scorer, Lane held national Midfielder-of-the-Year Kylor Berkman without a goal and to just two assists when the Warriors faced No. 1 nationally-ranked Salisbury University March 21 at Salisbury, MD. Against Lane, Keene State College attackman Tony Santa Fe - a selection to this year's national USILA North-South Senior All-Star Game - managed only two goals in two games.

Lane becomes only the second Eastern defenseman to earn All-America accolades, following Shannon Sligo - the program's first All-America -- who was an honorable mention choice in 1999 and 2000.

Simmons recorded career highs this year with 49 goals and 63 points and added 14 assists. He ranked second in the conference in goals and points behind teammate Matthew Savage (Southington) and shared the conference lead with 11 extra-man goals. Seven of his goals this year were game-winners, four coming in the team's final four victories. One of those game-winners came in the LEC playoff title win over Keene State  and another came 82 seconds into overtime against Merchant Marine four days later. Simmons leaves the program ranked fourth all-time in goals (127) and ninth in points (168).

"DJ has been a special player for us who continued to get better every day," stated Axel of Simmons. "Despite his late start into lacrosse, DJ blossomed into one of the best midfielders in the country with his hard work and effort."

Simmons was a three-time conference all-star in his career, twice achieving first-team status.

This year's All-America Awards Reception is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Marriott Copley Place in Boston. The Division I semifinals and finals and Division II and III championship games are scheduled this weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

A total of 39  institutions were represented with at least one of the 92 All-America selections. Twelve players were named to each of the first, second and third teams. Ten New England schools received an All-America pick, Eastern the only state institution to be represented. Three institutions - Stevenson University, Roanoke College and Gettysburg College - were accorded six All-Americas each. Stevenson was ranked No. 1 in the final USILA Division III poll, Roankok third and Gettsburg fifth. Gettsburg will compete in the national championship game Sunday against fourth-ranked Cortland State College.

Eastern equaled the program record for wins en route to a final 15-4 record in 2009 and a berth in the program's sixth NCAA Division III tournament in nine years, with its nine-game winning streak exceeded only three times in program history. The Warriors earned an automatic berth in the tournament this past spring  after winning their sixth conference playoff title in nine years, then posted their first-ever NCAA tournament win with a 10-9 overtime decision at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. They were ranked seventh in the final New England poll, and also received votes in the final regular-season USILA Division III national rankings.

Lane and Simmons become Eastern's fourth and fifth student-athletes to achieve All-America status, joining senior Kyle Bedini (Manchester) last fall in men's soccer, senior Ashley McFetridge (Canton) this past winter in women's basketball, and freshman Molly Rathbun (Hebron) this spring in softball.


 

HOBBES: ACADEMIC THREE-PEATER

Senior baseball player named to ESPN The Magazine team again

hobbes 72_0978.jpg

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - For the third straight year, Eastern Connecticut State University senior  baseball player Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) has been recognized for his academic and athletic successes by earning a spot on the ESPN The Magazine/College Division District I Academic All-District Team, sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Student-athletes from Division II and III institutions located in New England and New York were eligible for consideration to the College Division team.

Hobbes became the baseball program's first all-academic choice ever two years ago in his first year of eligibility and has followed that up by repeating the honor each of the last two years. He was named to the first team all three years.

This year, a total of 28 student-athletes were named to the All-District baseball team: 11 on the first team and 17 on the second team. Hobbes was one of four infielders chosen. Only one other institution from the Little East Conference was  represented on the team.

A Communication major minoring in Sport and Leisure Management, Hobbes carried an overall  3.82 grade-point average through the fall semester, with his GPA the third-highest among first team selections. He has been a member of the Dean's List (3.50+) in six of his seven semesters at Eastern and is a member of the Communication honor society.

As an undergraduate, Hobbes has received numerous awards and citations for academic and extracurricular activities. He earned an Eastern/E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award  (cumulative 3.50 GPA) and also qualified for a spot on the the Little East Conference baseball academic honor roll in each of his two seasons of eligibility for those awards.This past spring, he received the prestigious Connecticut State University System Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award. For that award, nominees must have a minimum cumulative 3.75 GPA and have exhibited a record of significant community service.

In addition to his academic accomplishments, Hobbes has served as the president of Eastern's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for two years, has been Eastern's representative to the Little East Conference SAAC, has been active as a play-by-play and color commentator for a variety of the department's internet broadcasts the last two seasons, and has hosted a weekly sports radio show dedicated to campus events.

This past spring, he was awarded the prestigious Francis E. Geissler Senior Male SportsPerson-of-the-Year Award, which rewards a student-athlete for team spirit, dedication, integrity, sportsmanship, and leadership.

Hobbes is also a finalist for the Jim McKay Scholarship --  a $10,000 scholarship presented by the NCAA to one male and one female student-athlete in recognition of  outstanding academic achievement and potential to make a major contribution in the sports communication industry. 

A first baseman, the left-handed hitting Hobbes was named second-team all-conference and a member of this year's conference tournament championship team and NCAA qualifier. He batted .331 in 42 games, with six home runs, 32 RBI and 72 total bases and fielded .987. The Warriors won 39 and lost 8 and were ranked first nationally in Division III after winning their first 13 games.

 A first-team All-New England selection as a sophomore in 2007, Hobbes was a member of two regional championship team in his career. He batted .330 with 175 hits, 12 home runs, 122 RBI and a .986 fielding average.

All first-team selections from the nation's eight districts are eligible for Academic All-America consideration.


 

TWO REPRESENT M-LACROSSE ON NEILA ALL-NEW ENGLAND TEAM

Lane and Simmons are second-team selections to Division III squad

                                                                                                             Steve Lane (below)

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Complete team.pdf

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior defenseman Steve Lane (Groton) and senior midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic) represent Eastern Connecticut State University on the 2009 New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) Division III All-New England Team.

Lane was among three second-team defensemen named to the team, while Simmons was one of six second-team midfielders.  Lane was the Little East Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year this season and Simmons the LEC's Offensive Player-of-the-Year.

The entire 28-person All-New England team (14 first team, 14 second team) came from nine schools. Eastern was the only state institution represented on the all-star team.

Lane was second on the team this year behind national ground ball leader Eric Vasil (Southington) with a career-high 75 ground balls. For the third time in his career, Lane started every match and concluded his career ranked first all-time among field players with 69 starts and second with 69 appearances. He leaves the program ranked third all-time with 266 ground balls - 16 behind the leader.

DJ Simmons (below)

simmons WEB_0808.jpgSimmons recorded career highs this year with 49 goals and 63 points and added 14 assists. He ranked second in the conference in goals and points behind teammate Matthew Savage (Southington) and shared the conference lead with 11 extra-man goals. Seven of his goals this year were game-winners, four coming in the team's final four victories. One of those game-winners came in the LEC playoff title win over Keene State College and another came 82 seconds into overtime against Merchant Marine four days later. Simmons leaves the program ranked fourth all-time in goals (127) and ninth in points (168).

Both Lane and Simmons completed four-year careers this past spring for Eastern, which equaled the program record for wins en route to a final 15-4 record and a berth in the program's sixth NCAA Division III tournament in nine years. The Warriors earned an automatic berth in the tournament after winning their sixth conference playoff title in nine years, then posted their first-ever NCAA tournament win with a 10-9 overtime decision at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. They were ranked seventh in the final New England poll, and also received votes in the final regular-season USILA Division III national rankings.

Since 1997, Eastern has had 22 selections to the NEILA team. Until this year, Eastern's most recent pick was Andrew Handras, an honorable mention selection on defense in 2004 who was also the LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year that season.


 

SEVEN FROM BASEBALL ALL-NEW ENGLAND REGION ALL-STARS

Player-of-the-Year Gilblair becomes program's second four-time pick

IMG_1608.jpg

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior Shawn Gilblair (Windham) was named New England Player-of-the-Year for the second time in three years and became only the second four-time all-region selection in Eastern Connecticut State University baseball history as one of seven selections on the 2009 NCAA Division III All-New England Region team.

Shawn Gilblair (at right)

Gilblair, a pitcher, designated hitter and first baseman this year, was named first team utility player, and was joined on that team by junior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury). Junior right-handed pitchers Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) and Will Musson (Wethersfield) and sophomore outfielder Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) were second-team picks and junior middle infielders Travis Bass (West Hartford) and John Parke (Middlefield) were third-team selections.

Ranked third nationally and second in New England, Eastern was one of two programs to receive as many as seven all-region selections. A total of 49 players were selected: 15 to the first team, 16 to the second team, and 19 to the third team.

As first-team selections, Gilblair and Castillo are eligible for All-America consideration. Gilblair was named first-team All-America as a freshman sophomore (earning national co-Player-of-the-Year as a sophomore). He was joined on the first team in 2007 by Castillo, a freshman that season.

 Gilblair joins Joe Funaro '95 as the only four-time all-region pick in program history. A shortstop, Funaro was also named to the first team three times and to the third team once.

Gilblair was named first-team utility for the second time. As a junior last year, he was a third-team DH and as a freshman in 2006 named as a pitcher. Castillo was the first-team shortstop as a freshman in 2007 and Parke a third-team utility pick last year after playing left field and shortstop. Bass was a third-team selection at shortstop as a freshman in 2007 at Castleton State College.castillo WEB_1553.jpg

Along with Parke and Castillo, Giblair started all 47 games this year and batted over .400 (.402) for the second straight season this year. He totaled career-highs in hits (7), doubles (21/one shy of the season record), total bases (118), RBI (68), and runs (51) and also hit nine home runs. As a left-handed pitcher, he was 8-1 with a 2.71 ERA which topped all starting pitchers. He fanned 99 batters in 63.0 innings and walked only 12, opponents hitting .212 against him.

Melvin Castillo (at right)

After being named MVP of the Little East Conference tournament for the third time in his career, Gilblair was named to the New England Regional all-tournament team this past weekend. In that tournament, he was 9-for-24 (.375) with three doubles, a home run and a team-leading seven RBI, handled 32 chances at first base without an error, and pitched a complete-game five-hitter against conference rival University of Southern Maine in the second round.

Gilblair leaves the program as the only player ever with as many as 20 pitching wins, 20 home runs, and 200 hits and is among the all-time offensive and pitching leaders in numerous categories. In his career, he collected 236 hits and 29 home runs and is second all-time (one behind the leader) with 194 RBI. His 28 pitching wins in 35 decisions rank him in a tie for fifth all-time, and he also ranks fourth in strikeouts (281) and seventh in ERA (2.31).

In his first season at third base, Castillo a career-high .388 and led the Warriors with 138 total bases - two  more than his freshman total - and matched his freshman total of 14 home runs. He drove in a career-high 60 runs and equaled his career high by scoring 60. Castillo carried a 15-game hitting streak through the first four games of the regional tournament. Castillo broke the program's career record with his 39th career home run Sunday in the regional championship round against Trinity College.

Schult batted .388 as the everyday rightfielder and No. 3 hitter in the lineup, starting all 44 games in which he appeared. He had 66 hits and was second to Castillo with 122 total bases and second to Gilblair with 19 doubles. During the year, he put together a 17-game hitting streak - tops among all players this year. As a pitcher, he was 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA in 46 1/3 innings. In six NCAA games, he drove in five runs with a double, triple and home run.

Fontaine and Musson joined Gilblair in the starting rotation. Fontaine was 6-2 with a 3.21 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 61 2/;3 innings. Musson, a first-year transfer from the University of Connecticut,  led the staff in innings (75 1/3) and was second to Gilblair with 85 strikeouts. He was 9-1 with a 2.87 ERA.

Fontaine's best stretch came late in the regular season and early in post-season, when he was 4-0 in four starts and pitching into the seventh inning each time. He gave up only 22 hits in 29.0 innings in that stretch, fanning 30 and walking only three. He started and won the LEC tournament opener against Keene State  after pitching a two-hitter over seven innings with a season-high 13 strikeouts and one walk against regionally-ranked Wheaton College in his final regular-season start.

Musson  won his ninth straight game in a second-round NCAA tournament win over Suffolk and pitched the first seven innings against Trinity in the championship round, sustaining his first loss. Musson, who defeated Keene State in the final of the LEC tournament, led the staff by pitching 23.0 post-season innings (LEC and NCAA), striking out 23 with a 3.13 ERA.

Parke started 43 games at second base and Bass 42 at shortstop this year, and the duo also batted 1-2 in the order and each stole 20 or more bases.  Parke had a 14-game hitting streak during the year and ended the season by hitting safely in the last 11. Bass batted .382 and led all players with 79 hits, 61 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases. He also had 119 assists. Parke batted .364 with a team-high 135 assists and swiped 20 bases in 23 tries. Both players batted over .400 in nine post-season games, and shared the NCAA tournament lead with 13 hits. Parke earning a spot on the NCAA all-tournament team with a .448 average (13-for-29) and handled 25 chances in the field without an error.

GOOD GOLLY, RATHBUN SOFTBALL ALL-AMERICA AS A FRESHMAN

Pitcher one of only five first-year players named to the elite 46-player team

rathbunWEB9719.jpg

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Freshman right-handed pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron) has been selected as the 36th player in Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball history to earn  All-America honors when she was picked for the 2009 National Fastpitch Coaches' Association/Louisville Slugger Division III All-America team.

At right: Molly Rathbun

Earlier named first-team All-New England Region by the NFCA, Rathbun was a second-team at-large selection to the All-America team. She was one of only five freshman picks to the 46-person team (15 first and second-teamers and 16 third-teamers). Rathbun was the only selection from the Little East Conference and was one of only five selections from the New England region.

While Rathbun becomes the program's 36th All-America pick since 1982, she is the first to gain the honor since third baseman Michelle Cunningham was named to the second team in 1998. She is only the fifth freshman All-America in program history - first since outfielder Leanne Shoop was named to the first team in 1989.

Eastern leads all New England institutions at all levels in total All-America selections.

"Molly was a dominate pitcher all year long," praised eighth-year head coach Diana Pepin, who directed the Warriors to their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. "She is a competitor and a player who will give you all she has every inning of every game."

Rathbun was 16-7 with three saves and a 0.79 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings this year for Eastern, which finished 26-13 and qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament as an at-large selection for the second straight year. Her  pitching wins equal the tenth-most in a season in program history and equal the freshman record, originally set by Christia Mohan in 1987. Her became only the second pitcher in program history with as many as 200 strikeouts in a season, following Kim Durocher (245) in 1986. After only one season, Rathbun is already ranked fifth all-time in career strikeouts and tied for fifth in saves.

The 2009 Little East Conference and Eastern Connecticut State University Rookie-of-the-Year, Rathbun led the conference this year in strikeouts, lowest opponent batting average (.151), was  tied for first in wins, was second in appearances (29), ERA, and innings, tied for second in saves, and fourth in starts (21). Through games of last Monday, she was ranked fifth nationally in both ERA and sixth in least hits allowed per seven innings (3.6). 

Eight times, Rathbun struck out at least ten batters in a game and allowed only 12 extra-base hits all season. Twice, she fanned as many as 15 batters in a game. She recorded five one-hitters in her first 12 starts, four coming in her first nine starts..

Before developing shin splints late in the season, Rathbun was 16-3 with a 0.47 ERA through the regular season, with 187 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .130. In her second collegiate start, she pitched a complete-game three-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 4-0 shutout of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, ranked first nationally at the time. In complete-game losses to New England regional champion Tufts University and conference champion Rhode Island College, Rathbun did not allow an earned run.

"Molly has passion for the sport and is a team player who will do extraordinary things for the program by the end of her career," pointed out Pepin.

 

 

 

 


 

BASEBALL'S RUN FALLS SHORT, 5-4

 MVP Bayer provides Trinity with relief by escaping ninth-inning jam

Box score.htm

dewing hit WEB_2295.jpgMANSFIELD,  Conn.    --  New England Pitcher-of-the-Year Jeremiah Bayer retired New England Player-of-the-Year Shawn Gilblair  (Windham) on  an infield popup with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning that preserved third-seeded Trinity College's 5-4 victory over top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University and gave the Bantams their second straight regional championship at the 2009 NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament Sunday at the Eastern Baseball Stadium. 

Andrew Dewing's one-out fly ball to shallow right field eluded Trinity second baseman Ryan Piacenteni (above) and gave the Warriors ninth-inning life.

 

No. 5 nationally-ranked Trinity (33-5) opens defense of last year's national championship Friday afternoon against Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament champion Kean University at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, WI. No. 3 nationally-ranked Eastern (39-8), which had a streak of 15 straight wins in the New England tournament snapped in a first-round loss, had won titles in the four previous New England tournaments in which it had competed (2002-04, 2007).

Trinity  avoided a one-game winner-take-all showdown scheduled for Sunday evening by erasing early 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to post its fourth tournament victory without a loss in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament. En route to the finals, Trinity edged sixth-seeded Westfield State College, 6-4, Wednesday, second-seeded University of Southern Maine, 6-0, and fourth-seeded WPI, 14-0, both games Friday.

The Bantams scored twice in the third Sunday to take the lead for good, 4-3, and added an insurance run in the fifth. Making only his third relief appearance of the season, Bayer (12-0) gave up a solo home run to Melvin Castillo (Danbury) with one out in the eighth and wriggled out of a monumental ninth-inning jam on the way to tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.

Trinity scored all of its runs in the game with two outs and Eastern scored three of its four runs on solo home runs.

Eastern, which staged a three-run ninth-inning rally Saturday afternoon against WPI to post parke WEB_2263.jpgits fourth straight tournament win, loaded the bases in the ninth on a bloop opposite-field single to right by pinch hitter Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA), a swinging bunt by leadoff batter John Parke (Middlefield) that Bayer fumbled, and a walk on a 3-2 pitch to Travis Bass (West Hartford). With the go-ahead run in scoring position, the right-handed Bayer induced a weak popup to short on the first pitch to lefty-swinging Gilblair that ensured Trinity's third New England championship in five years.

All-tourney pick John Parke (above) 

Trinity becomes the third different team to capture\ at least two straight New England titles in the 19-year history of the championship, following Southern Maine in 1991-92 and 2000-01 and Eastern between 2002 and 2004.

Bass and Gilblair launched solo home runs in the first inning off Trinity starter James Ramsey to give starting righty Will Musson (Wethersfield) a quick 2-0  cushion, but the Bantams answered immediately in the bottom of the inning on a two-out, two-run single by James Wood. After the Warriors took their second lead on two hits and in infield throwing error in the top of the third, Trinity went ahead for good, 4-3,  in the bottom of the inning on two-out, RBI singles by Ryan Piacentini and Kevin Mortimer. Piacentini's sacrifice fly in the fifth gave Bayer a a two-run cushion before smashed a solo home run in the eighth to make it a one-run game. With his 39th career home run - 14th of the season - Castillo broke the 31-year-old record set by Don Fusari between 1975 and 1978.

After being upset by Babson in the opener, Eastern had scrapped back with elimination wins over Suffolk Thursday, Southern Maine Friday and Husson and WPI Saturday, but needed to sweep Trinity Sunday to qualify for its 13th NCAA national  tournament since 1982.

One of his team's five all-tournament picks, Bayer was 2-0 in two tournament appearances. He won Trinity's second tournament game with his third complete-game shutout of the season against heavy-hitting Southern Maine in his first tourney appearance. Against Eastern, he struck out seven over final 4 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and one walk. He entered the week as the national leader in ERA.

Bayer was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Piacentini, Wood, Sean Killeen, and Kent Graham. A second baseman, Piacentini was 5-for-11 in the tournament with four runs scored and four RBI. He also reached safely five additional times with four walks and a hit-by-pitch, and handled 19 defensive chances without an error; the team's rightfielder, Wood was 8-for-16 with five runs scored and seven RBI. He hit his team's only tournament home run - a three-run game-tying fourth-inning blast in the opening win over Westfield; a catcher, Killeen was 6-for-15 with four runs scored and three RBI; and Graham, the Bantams' first baseman, was 5-for-16 with four runs scored and four RBI.

Gilblair, Parke, and Robert Perry (Manchester) represented Eastern on the all-tournament team, with Parke sharing the tournament lead withi 13 hits. Giblair was named at utility, Parke at second base, and Perry as an outfielder. Rounding out the 11-player all-tournament team (selected regardless of position), were shortstop Paul Galligan and right-handed pitcher Conor Fahey of WPI and DH Ethan Guerette of Husson University.

                                        Trinity College 5, Eastern Conn.  4
 
Eastern Conn. (39-8)         201    000     010 -- 4 10 0
Trinity College (33-5)         202     010    00x -- 5   8 3

Will Musson (9-1), Wes Dutton (8) and Steve Cammuso. James Ramsey, Conor O'Sullivan-Pierce (5), Jeremiah Bayer (5) and Sean Killeen. WP-Bayer (12-0). HR-Travis Bass (4), Shawn Gilblair (9), Melvin Castillo (14) (E).


 

 

 

IN DRAMATIC FASHION, BASEBALL STILL AFLOAT WITH NCAA WIN

 Three-run, ninth-inning rally vaults Warriors past WPI in 6-5 victory

Sunday's championship round will be broadcast live by WILI Radio (1400 AM), beginning at 12:55 p.m.

Game 1 box (Husson).htm       Game 2 box (WPI).htm

                                                                          Tristan Hobbes (31) (below) )hobbes WEB_2169.jpg

MANSFIELD,  Conn.   - Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) stroked a game-tying two-run single with  one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and the top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team went on to  score the game-ending run on an infield throwing error as the Warriors advanced to the championship round of the 2009 NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament with a 6-5 victory over fourth-seeded WPI Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadiuim.

Eastern (39-7) had eliminated seventh-seeded Husson University (33-14) with an 18-hit barrage earlier in the day to reach the losers' bracket final against WPI (30-13), which was drubbed, 14-0 in Friday night's winners' bracket final by defending national champion Trinity College and did not leave the field until 11:30 p.m.

Against WPI Saturday, the Warriors trailed 5-3 entering the ninth inning, but rallied for three runs to record their fourth tournament win in two days after an opening loss to eight-seeded Babson College Wednesday afternoon.

 "It's a shame someone had to lose that ballgame, because their kid (pitcher Conor Fahey) pitched a heckuva ballgame and our kids just hung around and hung around and were fortunate at the end to escape," said head coach Bill Holowaty. "We know the feeling of WPI, we've faced that many times and had those heartbreaks"

Eastern, which has won the last four New England tournaments in which it has competed, earned a spot in the championship round with the win over WPI, but will have to defeat third-seeded and defending regional champion  Trinity College (32-5) twice Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. Trinity was idle Saturday after defeating second-seeded University of Southern Maine and WPI on Friday.  Eastern has reached the championship round of the New England/Northeast Regional tournament the last 22 times in which it has competed since 1980.

With one out in the ninth inning against first-team All-New England righty Fahey, No. 3 hitter Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) singled hard off the glove of third baseman of Nick Bean, and Shawn Gilblair (Windham) sent him to third with a smash off the glove of new first baseman Jameson Kokolis (Manchester, NH) which might likely have turned into a unassisted double play if Kokolis was able to hang onto the scorcher.  With Andrew Dyer (Topsfield, MA) running for Gilblair, Melvin Castillo (Danbury) walked to load the bases for Hobbes. Hobbes, who had flown out to deep center field with the bases loaded to end the fifth, ripped a single into right-center to score Schult  and Dyer to tie the game at 5-5. Robert Perry (Manchester), who had driven in five runs with two home runs earliedyer WEB_2127.jpgr in the day against Husson, then grounded a pitch from Fahey hard inside the third base line. Bean made a brilliant play to his backhand to prevent the ball from going into the outfield, but his throw across the diamond to Kokolis skipped past the first baseman as Castillo raced in from third with the game-winning run.

Andrew Dyer (at right)

"We got the breaks, we hit those two balls hard that went through their gloves," pointed out Holowaty "It was a fortunate win for us, and a tuff loss for them.  Who thought that we were going to do that? The kids did. The kids had scrappy at-bats at the end. They made good contact, and we were fortunate. I thought that the home run in the top of the ninth inning might have been the dagger, but somehow we recovered. This is a group of guys who have been very competitive all year long. It's been a good run, and hopefully we can get by Trinity tomorrow and make it a longer run. We don't' want to stop our season."

 WPI erased a 3-1 deficit by scoring four runs in its final four at-bats to bring its two-run lead into the ninth. The Engineers scored two runs in the sixth on two hits, two walks and a sacrifice fly, and took the lead in the seventh when Paul Galligan came home from third on a throwing error to first by the Eastern catcher on a third  strike in the dirt. Galligan had singled to right-center to open the seventh, and stole second and third. WPI added an insurance run in the ninth to go up 5-3 on a leadoff home run by No. 3 hitter Matt Moreau.

Fahey, who had pitched into the  eighth inning of his team's 7-6 first-round  win over Suffolk Wednesday, carried a seven-hitter into the ninth inning. In three starts over the last eight days, Fahey has thrown in excess of 400 pitches.

"It's tough when you're battling a kid with that much guts. Give him credit, he's a senior, he wanted to win that game as much as anybody else on the field," said Hobbes, who had twice made outs with the bases loaded prior to the ninth inning. "I was sitting on the bench, hoping for one more chance. I hit it, saw that no one was in front of it, and it was a little bit of relief.
We got timely at-bats. You've got to give credit to our team. We've got a bunch of guys here who didn't want to go home," declared Hobbes. "We came up big. We got a couple of breaks with those two line drives off gloves. (But) that's what it takes to win games like these. It was just production 1 through 9 (in the batting order). Our team didn't want to lose. Our pitching staff has been great. We got good outings from all of our guys so far, and we need two more outings tomorrow to move on."

Gilblair, the New England Player-of-the-Year this season, reached base five times with three hits and two walks. He recorded his 21st double of the year (one shy of the season record) in the second, singled and scored in the fourth, and walked in the fifth and seventh  before singling in the ninth. Schult, who had two hits to back his own seven-hit complete game against Husson, had two more hits against WPI, with his ninth-inning leadoff single the 100th in his 83-game two-year career.

Eastern righty James Kukucka (Vernon) allowed only six hits through six innings - equalliing his career high of eight strikeouts -- but was lifted  after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh inning of a tie game.

Moreau, cleanup hitter Scott McNee and Bryan Watkins all had two hits against three Eastern pitchers, with Moreau scoring twice. The game was the first meeting ever between Eastern and WPI, which won its first two games in its first NCAA appearance ever. After being eliminated in three games in its conference tournament, th e Engineers defeated Becker College and Worcester State College to capture its first ECAC championship last weekend  and brought a six-game winning streak into the NCAA tournament.

perrytris72_1874.jpg

 Robert Perry (at right in photo)

In eliminating Husson earlier Saturday, Eastern recorded 18 hits - four of them home runs and nine of them for extra bases -- against four pitchers. Perry swatted a two-run home run in the second and a three-run shot in the fifth. Castillo was 3-for-5 (two doubles) with three runs scored and two RBI, and No. 9 hitter Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. John Parke (Middlefield), Schult, Gilblair, Perry, and Joe Cousineau (Newington) all contributed two hits each. Schult gave himself a 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the  top of the first, and Cammuso tagged a two-run shot in the fourth. Schult (4-0) gave up seven hits and only one earned run in his first complete game in eight starts. He fanned a career-high 11 and walked two.

The regular-season meeting between the No. 3 nationally-ranked Warriors and fifth-ranked Bantams was cancelled due to rain. The teams have met only once in NCAA regional play, Eastern posting a come-from-behind 9-6 win at the Eastern Baseball Stadium on the way to its third national championship.

Eastern Conn.  6, WPI 5

WPI (30-13)                   100    002   101 -- 5   8 4
Eastern Conn. (39-7)      001    200   003 -- 6 10 1

Conor Fahey (8-2) and Joe Walsh. James Kukucka, Chris Wojick (7), Wes Dutton (9) and Steve Cammuso, Andrew Magliola (7), Steve Cannata (9). WP-Dutton (1-1). 2B-Matt Moreau, Scott McNee (W), Shawn Gilblair (E); HR-Moreau (W).


Eastern Conn. 18, Husson U. 3

Eastern Conn. (38-7)       120    343   050 -- 18 18 2
Husson (33-14)               201    000   000 --   3   7 1

Jim Schult (4-0) and Steve Cammuso. Chris Morris (5-3), Kyle Leeman (4), Ryan Walker (8), Aaron Sullivan (8) and Nick Arthers. 2B-Melvin Castillo 2, John Parke, Shawn Gilblair,
N. Arthers, TJ Frail (H); 3B-Joe Cousineau (E); HR-Robert Perry 2 (4), Schult (9), Cammuso (4) (E).

 

 


 
 
 

 

 

 

 


 

Five Southern Maine errors pave way for six unearned runs in 7-2 triumph

Shawn Gilblair (below)

gilblair WEB_1586.jpg

Box score.htm

MANSFIELD,  Conn.  -   Senior left-handed pitcher Shawn Gilblair (Windham) limited second-seeded University of Southern Maine to five hits and struck out 14 in seven innings and the Huskies commited five costly errors  as top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University posted a 7-2 win in an elimination game of the 2009 NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament Friday evening at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Coming off a 6-0 loss to defending national champion and third-seeded Trinity College in the first game of the day, Southern Maine (36-9) becomes the fourth team to be eliminated in the original field of eight. Eastern (37-7) advances to another elimination game Saturday at 11 a.m. against Husson University, which eliminated Babson College Friday.  Friday's late game featured the tournament's two remaining unbeatens in Trinity and WPI, both 2-0.

In the 19th regional tournament meeting between the programs (Eastern leads the regional series, 11-8), Eastern scored twice in the bottom of the first, and added three unearned runs in the fourth and two more unearned runs in the fifth. In those two innings, the Warriors recorded five hits and were helped by two errors, two walks and a hit batsman. Travis Bass (West Hartford) drove in two runs in those innings with a single and sacrifice fly, Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) plated one with a double, John Parke (Middlefield) had a sacrifice fly, and Andrew Magliola (East Haven, CT) was walked with the bases loaded to force in another run.  With one out in the fourth, Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) singled and Robert Perry (Manchester)  followed with a bunt single to ignite the rally.

Trailing 7-2 in the eighth, Southern Maine loaded the bases on a leadoff double by All-America Chris Burleson and two walks, but second baseman Parke turned a double play after fielding a ground ball behind reliever left-handed reliever Wes Dutton (Waterbury)  to end the inning. The Huskies loaded the bases again in the ninth against righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) , but shortstop Bass's flip to Parke covering just beat a sliding Burleson to end the game.

Gilblair (8-1), named the New England Player-of-the-Year earlier this week, had thrown seven innings to defeat Southern Maine in the Little East Conference tournament a week ago. He equaled his career-high strikeout total in this game. The national leader in strikeouts per game (13.7), Gilblair had 11 punchouts through the first five innings, striking out the side in the fourth and fifth.  The two runs he allowed came on solo home runs by cleanup hitter Ryan Pike - his team-leading 11th of the year - - leading off the second and by losing pitcher Collin Henry leading off the seventh.

Bass had three of Eastern's nine hits, Perry adding two. Perry and No. 9 hitter Joe Cousineau (Newington) both scored twice.

Eastern Conn. 7, U. of Southern Maine 2

Southern Maine (36-9)     010 000 100 --   2 7 5
Eastern Conn. (37-7)       200 320 00x --   7 9 1

Collin Henry (3-3), Nick Hahn (4), Andrew Stacy (5) and Jordan Berthiaume. Shawn Gilblair (8-1), Wes Dutton (8), Matt Fontaine (9) and Andrew Magliola. 2B-Chris Burleson (S), Jim Schult (E); HR-Ryan Pike (11), Collin Henry (6) (S).

 


 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 


 

Musson fans career-high 13, Warriors collect 16 hits in win over Suffolk

Box score.htm

Will Musson (below)

musson WEB_1160.jpgMANSFIELD,  Conn. - Will Musson (Wethersfield) pitched a complete-game seven-hitter with a career-high 13 strikeouts and John Parke (Middlefield) and Travis Bass (West Hartford) combined for nine hits to power the top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to a 13-2 victory over fifth-seeded Suffolk University Thursday morning in an elimination game of the 2009 NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Eastern (36-7) advances in the losers' bracket Friday at 4:30 p.m. against the loser of  a Friday morning game between second-seeded University of Southern Maine and third-seeded Trinity College. That game was originally scheduled for Thursday evening but was pushed back do to steady rain throughout the late afternoon at evening.

Suffolk (30-11) is eliminated from its fourth NCAA tournament after losing consecutive nine-inning games for the first time this season. In Wednesday's 7-6 first-round loss to fourth-seeded WPI, Suffolk scored four runs in the eighth to tie the contest before the Engineers scored the go-ahead run in the eighth.

Five of the seven hits were singles against Musson (9-0), who struck out the side once and fanned two in the first and two in the ninth. A first-year transfer from the University of Connecticut,  Musson becomes the fifth pitcher in program history to win as many as nine games in a season without a loss. Seven different Suffolk batters had one hit each

With the win, Eastern avoids losing its first two games in the New England Regional since 1980.

Hitless with three strikeouts in Wednesday's 10-6 opening loss to Babson College, Bass had five straight hits Thursday after striking out in the first. He drove in three runs and scored two as the No. 2 batter in the lineup. Batting leadoff, Parke also reached safely five times with four hits and a walk. He scored four runs and drove in two.  In two tournament games, Parke is 7-for-10 with three RBI and four runs scored.

 Shawn Gilblair (Windham) drove in four runs with a ground ball, two sacrifice flies and a single. Robert Perry (Manchester) added three hits and scored two runs.

Bobby Barrett drove in both Suffolk runs with a first-inning ground ball and third-inning double.

Eastern Conn.  13, Suffolk U. 2

Eastern (36-7)       110    202   502 -- 13 16 0
Suffolk (30-11)       101    000   000 --   2   7 5

Will Musson (9-0) and Steve Cammuso. Reid Jackson (6-4), Dan Delia (7), Jon Handy (9), Charles Kilgore (9) and Bobby Barrett. 2B-John Parke, Travis Bass (E), Bobby Barrett, Mark Addesa (S); 3B-Jim Schult (E).


 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Eight-seeded Beavers shock top-seeded Eastern in baseball opener, 10-6

Box score.htm

MANSFIELD, Conn. - The eight-seeded Babson College baseball team scored seven runs in the top of the second inning - freshman Sean Cleary (Milton, MA) hitting a grand slam for his first collegiate home run -- and the Beavers went on to stun top-seeded and No. 3 nationally-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University, 10-6, Wednesday afternoon in an opening-round game of the 2009 NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Making its first NCAA appearance since 2004, Babson (23-18) moved into a winners' bracket game Thursday at 4:30 p.m. against fourth-seeded WPI. The Engineers dropped fifth-seeded Suffolk University in Wednesday morning's first game.

The loss in the New England Regional was Eastern's (35-7) first in 16 games over three previous tournaments and snaps the Warriors' overall 14-game winning streak this year. Eastern looks to remain alive Thursday morning against Suffolk in an elimination game at 10 a.m.

Babson had five of their game total of 13 hits in the seven-run second inning, when they scored seven times to push its early lead to 9-0. Team batting leader Billy Besinger drove in the first run of the inning with a single to make it 3-0, and freshman Travis Jonasson knocked in two more with an opposite-field single to left that knocked out Eastern starting pitcher Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI). Reliever Mike Tingley (Vernon) gave up a single on the first pitch to load the bases, and Cleary launched the first home run of this career over the left-field fence to cap the inning.

Babson sophomore righty Andrew Aizenstadt gave up 14 hits but recorded his sixth complete game of the year in nine starts. Aizenstadt (8-1) threw 158 pitches, striking out ten and walking two. Six of his strikeouts came against the No. 2 and No. 3 hitters in the Eastern lineup.

Cleary drove in five runs in the game with two hits, and Babson cleanup hitter Bryan Evans was 4-for-5. Besinger had two hits and scored two runs.

Eastern leadoff hitter John Parke (Middlefield) and Melvin Castillo (Danbury) each had three hits for Eastern, which carried a .357 batting average into play.

Babson, which won its conference tournament after splitting 12 regular-season conference games, has lost three of its last four entering the tournament.

Babson College 10, Eastern Conn. 6

Babson College (23-18)     270   010   000 -- 10 13 1
Eastern Conn. (35-7)         000   500   010 --   6 14 1

Andrew Aizenstadt (8-1) and Sean Cleary. Matt Fontaine (6-2), Mike Tingley (2), James Kukucka (2), Wes Dutton (5), Chris Wojick (8) and Andrew Magliola, Steve Cammuso (5). 2B-Corey Highfield (B), John Parke, Shawn Gilblair, Melvin Castillo, Cammuso (E); HR-Cleary (1) (B).

 

 

 

 


 

EASTERN TO CO-HOST NEW ENGLAND BASEBALL REGIONAL MAY13-17

NORTH DARTlogo6WEB.jpgMOUTH, Mass. - The NCAA Division III Baseball Committee has chosen Eastern Connecticut State University and the Little East Conference to co-host the New England Region of the 2009 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament. The Eastern Baseball Stadium in Mansfield, Conn. is just one of eight pre-determined sites for the national tournament field.

New England Regional Bracket.pdf

New England Regional team capsules.pdf

Complete 54-team bracket.pdf

 "The conference office is looking forward to assisting Eastern Connecticut in hosting the NCAA Division III Baseball New England Region, "Commissioner Jonathan C. Harper said. "It is our expectation that this regional will be a first-class event for student-athletes, coaches, parents and fans that will travel to Mansfield."

The Warriors will serve as the host institution for the 16th time in the 34-year history of the championship. The Eastern Baseball Stadium opened in April 1, 1998, and has hosted the New England Regional three prior times. The stadium is located just over the Willimantic city line, one-half mile north of the main campus.

The NCAA Division III Baseball Selection Committee is scheduled to announce the pairings for each of the eight regional fields the morning of Monday, May 11. The regional tournament will begin on Wednesday, May 13 and the champion will be crowned on Sunday, May 17. The championship team from the New England Region will advance to the 2009 NCAA Division III Championship Round in Appleton, Wisconsin.

If you are unable to make the trip to Mansfield, Conn., you can follow all the action live on the Little East Conference Web site. The tournament championship page will provide full coverage of the New England Region with a link for real-time statistics and video broadcast for each of the games. The Eastern Connecticut sports information staff will be running live in-game statistics, while Bridgewater Television (BTV9) will be producing each broadcast.  

From 1976 through 1990, the national tournament was comprised of six-regional fields with the champion of each region advancing the NCAA Division III Championship Round. The Northeast and New York Regional Tournaments were established in 1991, expanding the field to the current-day eight-regional format. The New England tournament has been hosted by just three institutions besides Eastern Connecticut: The University of Southern Maine at both its on-campus facility in Gorham and at Hadlock Field in Portland - the home of the Double A Eastern League franchise, the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) at Whitehouse Field in Harwich, Mass., and Wesleyan University at Palmer Field in Middletown, Conn. Since 1998, the regional tournament has been staged in either Mansfield or Harwich.

Other sites for the 2009 NCAA Division III Regional are as follows: Augustana College (Ill.) (Central Region), Adrian College (Mideast Region), University of Wisconsin-Oshkosch (Midwest Region), State University of College at Old Westbury and the Skyline Conference (New York Region), Salisbury University (South Region), and Linfield College (West Region). The Mid-Atlantic Region has yet to be assigned.

 

FRESHMEN RATHBUN, ALICEA ALL-REGION SELECTIONS IN SOFTBALL

Rathbun first first-team pitcher in 18 years; Alicea second-teamer

Alicea (below, left) and Rathbun (below, right)

alicea head WEB_8298.jpg rathbun head WEB_8264.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University freshmen Molly Rathbun (Hebron) and Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) have been named  to the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association/Louisville Slugger Division III All-New England Region softball team

Rathbun became the program's first first-team all-region pitcher since Donna Poyant in 1991, while Alicea was a second-team outfield selection. As a first-team pick, Rathbun is eligible for All-America honors when that team is announced May 15.

The pair have also been selected to the All-New England team chosen by the New England Intercolleigate Softball Coaches' Association (NEISCA), released in mid-May. Both were second-team picks. Complete team.pdf.

Rathbun led the staff in most every individual category while Alicea was the team's top hitter. Both were first-team All-Little East Conference selections, with Rathbun also gaining LEC Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

Rathbun was 16-7 with three saves and a 0.79 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings this year for Eastern, which finished 26-13 and qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament as an at-large selection for the second straight year. Her pitching wins equal the tenth-most in a season in program history and equal the freshman record, originally set by Christia Mohan in 1987.

Alicea became the first freshman since Julia Neilson in 1999 to lead the team in hitting. She batted .448, leading the team in most every major statistical offensive category, among them hits (43), runs (29), total bases (65), slugging (.677), stolen bases (21), walks (17), and on-base percentage (.530). Among batters who have had at least 100 at-bats in  season, Alicea's average is the third-highest, following only Sarah Marchetti (.459) in 1996 and current junior Ashley Sullivan (.456) last year.

Rathbun leads the conference in strikeouts and lowest opponent batting average, is tied for first in wins, is second in appearances, ERA and innings, tied for second in saves, and tied for third in starts. Heading into least week, she was ranked fourth nationally in both ERA and least hits allowed per seven innings. Alicea leads the LEC in on-base percentage, is second in average and triples, and third in stolen bases and slugging.

A total of 46 players were named to the all-region team: 16 to the first team and 15 to each of the second and third teams. Rathbun was one of only two first-team pitchers named, joining Coast Guard 30-game winner Hayle Feindel. Ten of the all-region selection came from the Little East Conference.

 

 

 

BASEBALL RACKS UP LEC TITLE NO. 7

Warriors average 15 hits and 12 runs in tourney; Gilblair wins third MVP

Box score.htm

MJ Hobbes photo

  Baseball  Tournament Champions WEB 2009 mrs. hobbes.jpgGORHAM, Maine -- Junior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) tied the Eastern LEClogo-1 WEB.jpgConnecticut State University career home run record with the 37th and 38th  of his three-year career, and junior righty Will Musson (Wethersfield) won his eighth game without a loss as the second-seeded Warriors won their seventh Little East Conference baseball tournament championship in 13 years with a 14-5 win over third-seeded Keene State College Saturday afternoon at the USM Baseball Stadium on the University of Southern Maine campus.

By winning its season-high 14th consecutive game, No. 6 nationally-ranked Eastern (35-6) earns an automatic bid to its 30th NCAA Division III tournament in the 34-year history of the championship. Eastern will host the New England regional tournament, beginning Wednesday at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

The entire 54-team tournament field and pairings will be released Monday. In addition to Eastern, other automatic qualifiers from New England include Husson College (North Atlantic Conference), Western New England College (The Commonwealth Coast Conference), Babson College (New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference), Suffolk University (Great Northeast Athletic Conference), and Westfield State College (Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference). A seventh automatic qualifier from New England will be determined Sunday during the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship game.

Eastern senior left-handed pitcher/designated hitter Shawn Gilblair (Windham) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player   for the third time in his four-year career.  Gilblair pitched the first seven innings in Eastern's 14-6 win over No. 1 seeded and No. 1 nationally-ranked Southern Maine Friday, and batted .538 (7-for-13) with eight RBI, and five runs scored in the tournament. Gilblair had three hits and four RBI against Southern Maine and two hits in each of two wins against Keene State. He also scored three times and drove in two runs Saturday.

Saturday, Castillo hit his 12th home run of the year in a four-run Eastern first inning - a three-run blast -- and added his 13th in a three-run eighth - a two-run shot. Castillo's home runs give him 38 in his career, tying the 31-year-old career record set by All-America Don Fusari (1975-78).He finished with three hits, five RBI and two runs scored Saturday. The home run total is one shy of his career-high, set as a 2007 freshman All-America.

A first-year transfer from the University of Connecticut, Musson pitched a six-hitter over seven innings, giving up only one earned run with three strikeouts and four walks. On the season, Musson is 8-0 with a save and 2.58 ERA, and 65 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings.

Eastern batted .391 in the tournament with 14 of its 45 hits good for extra-base hits.The Warriors averaged 12 runs per game in the tournament.

Eastern has won five of the last seven LEC tournament titles (three of the last four), three of the crowns coming when the tournament has been hosted four times by Southern Maine.

Keene State (25-16) won last year's tournament, eliminating Eastern 1-0 in the semifinals. The Owls eliminated Southern Maine, 7-2, Saturday morning to move into the championship round against Eastern. Keene needed two wins against the Warriors to claim the title.

Eastern advanced to this weekend's four-team, double-elimination tournament after sweeping Western Connecticut State University in last weekend's best-of-three series. The Warriors won their first 13 games this year en route to the No. 1 national ranking, then won only eight of their next 14 before taking their last 14 in a row through the LEC tournament.


Other top tournament performers for Eastern:


-- Sophomore rightfielder Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) was 7-for-14 with eight RBI and six runs scored. He hit three home runs and also doubled. He hit a solo home run leading off the eighth Saturday. He hit safely in all three tournament games to extend his current hitting streak to 17.

-- Castillo was 6-for-12 with eight RBI and four runs scored

-- Junior centerfielder Joe Cousineau (Newington) was 4-for-9, with all of his hits coming in Thursday's 7-3 win over Keene State.

-- Sophomore leftfielder Robert Perry (Manchester) was 5-for-14.

-- Junior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) pitched the first seven innings of Thursday's win over Keene, before darkness halted the game and forced a Friday morning resumption. Fontaine gave up only six hitswith four strikeouts and two walks.


 

Warriors collect eight hits but strand ten; bow out in 3-1 loss to Rowan

Box score.htm

aliciea WEB.jpg

ncaaLogo90b.jpgMAHWAH, N.J. - Ten baserunners translated into only one run for the fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University softball team, which bowed out of the NCAA Division III Mahway, N.J. Regional Saturday in a 3-1 loss to third-seeded Rowan University.

At right: Priscilla Alicea

Eastern (26-13) scored only two runs in its two tournament losses, sandwiching a 4-1 loss to fourth-seeded Moravian College and Saturday's loss to Rowan (34-11) around a 7-0 rout of eighth-seeded College of Staten Island. Rowan, which lost in the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament championship round, is one of three remaining teams. The Professors shut out sixth-seeded Farmingdale State later Saturday to move into the losers' bracket final Sunday morning against William Paterson University.

Eastern threatened in every inning - putting runners on in five of the firs six innings - before finally breaking through in the bottom of the seventh by scoring its only run on a one-out double by freshman leadoff hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) and an RBI opposite-field single by sophomore leftfielder Katie Dinihanian (Stratford). The Warriors out-hit Rowan, 8-4.

Alicea and Dinihanian led off the Warriors' first inning by reaching safely but were left stranded by winning pitcher Jackie Sasko (20-5). With Eastern trailing 2-0 in the fourth, junior shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) and junior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) reached safely to open the inning and were sacrificed into scoring position by sophomore DP Rachel Soychak (Mahopace, NY). Sasko got two ground balls to escape.

Trailing 3-0, the Warriors brought the tying run to the plate when Church and senior second baseman Kelly Finlay (Thomaston) singled, but relief pitcher Amanda Singer ended the threat by inducing a foul fly to left.

Eastern freshman righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron) and senior righty Katie Pensiero (Stamford) combined on a four-hitter but walked seven, with three of the walks coming around to account for all three of the Professors' runs.

With a double and single and two walks, Alicea reached safely in all four of her plate appearances, with Church reaching three times with two singles and a walk. Dinihanian also had two hits.

In three tournament games, Alicea had five hits and three walks, and finished the season with her second six-game hitting streak of the year.  She batted a team-leading .625 with a .727 on-base percentage and .750 slugging percentage in the tournament. Finlay was 4-for-8, and senior first baseman Rachel Denny (East Haddam) 4-for-10. As a team, Eastern commited only one error, but its opponents were perfect.

Alicea led Eastern on the season with a .448 batting average, .677 slugging  percentage, .530 on-base percentage, and with 21 stolen bases and 17 walks. Her batting average was only 11 percentage points shy of the season record.

Rathbun won 16 and lost 7 on the mound with a 0.79 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings. She become only the second pitcher in program history to fan as many as 200 batters in a season.


 

 

  banner mlax 72_0514.jpgCardinals finally shake Warriors to advance to national quarters 

Box score.htm

savagekWEB_0740.jpg  MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - John Killee, Russ ncaaLogo90b.jpgFollansbee and Jeff Strittmatter scored goals in the final five minutes as the Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team was finally able to shake Eastern Connecticut State University and post an 8-4 win in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament Saturday afternoon at Jackson Field on the Wesleyan campus.

 

At left: Kyle Savage (24)

 

Senior midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic), whose overtime goal Wednesday sent Eastern (15-4) into the second round, scored the only goal of the third quarter to tie the game at 4-4 with eight minutes left it the frame. Ranked 17th nationally and first in New England, Wesleyan (15-3) finally broke a 20-minute drought against Eastern senior goalie Kyle Savage (Southington) 65 seconds into the fourth quarter on a goal by NESCAC Rookie-of-the-Year John Froats that bounced into the net. The Warriors, ranked seventh in New England,  unloaded four shots over the next three minutes - with junior midfielder Maxim Fantl (West Hartford) hitting the post once and Wesleyan senior goalie Mike Borrero saving one - before the hosts scored three times in a span of

2:31 to pull away.                                                 

          simmons WEB_0531.jpg

With its first win over Eastern in the last five meetings, Wesleyan advances to the national quarterfinals on Wednesday, when it hosts New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rival Middlebury College. Seeded fourth in the NESCAC tournament, Wesleyan knocked the Panthers out in the semifinals on the way to the tournament title.

 

DJ Simmons (at right)

 

In a game dominated by defense, neither team was able to score more than two consecutive goals until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.  With Eastern trailing 4-2, senior attack Matthew Savage (Southington) cut the deficit in half with his 53rd goal of the year on a feed from sophomore Brendan Hoppey (Shoreham, NY) with two minutes left in the third quarter. Neither team was able to break through in the third quarter until Simmons cashed in a Wesleyan turnover for his 49th goal of the year with 8:15 left in the third quarter.

 

vasil WEB_0571.jpgFollansbee, Wesleyan's top goal-scorer with 44 goals, was held to one goal in three different quarters by Eastern senior defenseman Steve Lane (Groton), despite uncorking ten of his team's 44 shots. Sophomore faceoff specialist Eric Vasil (Southington) (at left) won nine of 14 faceoffs and picked up ten ground balls. Vasil is ranked first nationally in ground balls and third in faceoff winning percentage.  He concluded the season with program season records for ground balls (221), faceoff percentage (.714), wins (264) and attempts (370).

 

Kyle Savage made 16 saves in one of the top games of his career. After allowing three goals in the first quarter, he surrendered only one goal through the middle periods.before Froats was credited with the go-ahead goal when the loose ball caromed into the net early in the fourth quarter.

 

Matthew Savage finished the season with a program-record 53 goals. He had at least one goal in his final 13 matches, and Simmons concluded by recording at least one goal in his last 16 contest.

 

Eastern had a nine-game winning streak snapped with the loss, with three of its losses this year coming against teams which qualified for NCAA play.

 

Wesleyan U. 8, Eastern Conn. 4

 

Eastern Conn. (15-4)      2   1   1   0 -- 4
Wesleyan U. (15-3)        3   1   0   4 -- 8

 

Goals: E-Matthew Savage, DJ Simmons, Vinny Tornatore, Brian Fechtmann.; W-
Russ Follansbee 3, Jon Killeen 2, Jason Ben-Eliyahu, John Froats, Jeff Strittmatter.
Assists: E-Brendan Hoppey, M. Savage; W- Ben-Eliyahu, Lonny Blumenthal,
Dan Latzman.
Shots: E-26, W-44; Saves: E- Kyle Savage 16, W-Mike Borrero 11.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BASEBALL 2-0 IN LITTLE EAST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT

Warriors move into championship round as only unbeaten team

Keene State box.htm               Southern Maine box.htm

Shawn Gilblair (below)

gilblair closeup 300_8859.jpgGORHAM, Maine - The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team completed a Thursday afternoon start  against Keene State College with a 7-3 win Friday morning, then battered five University of Southern Maine pitchers for 16 hits to LEClogo-1 WEB.jpgdown the top-seeded Huskies, 14-6, in a winners' bracket game later Friday afternoon to move into the championship round of the 2009 Little East Conference tournament at the USM Baseball Stadium.

Ranked sixth in Division III, Eastern (34-6) moves into the championship round of the double-elimination tournament, needing one win to claim its seven conference playoff title in the 13-year history of the championship. No. 1 nationally-ranked Southern Maine (35-6) faces third-seeded Keene State College (24-15) Saturday at 11 a.m. The winner returns at 2:30 to face Eastern. A final game, if needed, is scheduled for Sunday at noon.

After losing to Eastern Friday morning, Keene remained alive by eliminating fourth-seeded Massachusetts Boston, 9-6, Friday.
 
First-year University of Connecticut right-handed pitcher Will Musson (Wethersfield) is expected to open on the mound Saturday. Musson (7-0, 2.75) has not seen tournament action yet.

After allowing eight hits in four innings in a 7-1 loss to Southern Maine March 28, senior lefty Shawn Gilblair (Windham) handcuffed the Huskies on seven hits through seven innings and was backed by Eastern's 16-hit offense. Gilblair also hit his eighth home run of the season, with sophomore Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) adding his seventh - a grand slam in a five-run second inning - and sophomore Robert Perry (Manchester) smacking his second of the year.

Eastern has matched its season-opening winning streak of 13 with the triumph over Southern Maine, which is 6-3 in its last nine after capturing 17 in a row.

The top five hitters in the Eastern lineup - juniors John Parke (Middlefield) and Travis Bass (West Hartford), Schult, Gilblair and junior Melvin Castillo (Danbury) - accounted for 11 hits, 11 RBI and 12 runs scored. Gilblair had three hits and four RBI, Schult two hits, five RBI and two runs scored, Bass two hits and four runs scored, and Parke two hits and three runs scored.

Southern Maine junior lefty Collin Henry lost for the second time in two starts this year against Eastern. Unable to get out of the first inning in an 8-4 loss to the Warriors March 28, Henry was charged with seven runs on seven hits and five walks before departing two batters into the fourth inning Friday.

Southern Maine had pounded Eastern, 14-3, in the second round of last year's tournament and the Warriors were eliminated in their fourth game, 1-0, by Keene, which went on to its first title.

Eastern finishes win over Keene

Eastern led Keene State College, 6-3, when the game was halted after seven innings due to darkness Thursday evening.

Junior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) had given up only three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk through seven innings, and junior lefty Wes Dutton (Waterbury) closed the victory over Keene State (23-15) with the final two scoreless innings for his first save. Schult hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to round out the scoring.

Eastern snapped a 2-2 tie by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-run single by junior Castillo and an RBI triple with two out by junior Joe Cousineau (Newington). Cousineau's triple chased Keene starter Jeff Raymond in favor of Corey Vogt.

Cousineau had four of Eastern's 13  hits, adding a double to go along with his RBI triple. Gilblair doubled and singled and drove in two runs, while Parke and Schult also had two hits in Eastern's 13-hit attack.


Senior tosses three-hit shutout; Denny drives in four runs in 7-0 win

Box score.htm

Katie Pensiero (below)

pensiero WEB_9817.jpgMAHWAH, N.J. --  Senior Katie Pensiero (Stamford) fired a three-hit shutout and senior ncaaLogo90b.jpgRachel Denny (East Haddam) drove in four runs with two hits to help the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team stave off elimination in  NCAA Division III  regional play with a 7-0 win over the College of Staten Island Friday morning at Ramapo College.

Fifth-seeded Eastern (26-12) advances in the losers' bracket to face third-seeded Rowan University (33-11), which dropped a 2-1 decision later Friday to  second-seeded William Paterson University. Eastern will play Rowan Saturday at noon. The winner will return to play at 4 p.m. against either Farmingdale State or Moravian College

Six teams  remain in the original eight-team double-elimination tournament. The Warriors eliminated No. 8 Staten Island (23-14), while No. 6 Farmingdale State College knocked out No. 7 Muhlenberg College, 4-1, Friday afternoon. In a winners' bracket game Friday, top-seeded Messiah College blanked No. 4 Moravian College, 3-0. Messiah and William Paterson are the tournament's only unbeatens.

Pensiero (8-2) spaced three singles while fanning three and walking three en route to her third complete-game shutout (she has also combined on three shutouts) in 13 starts. She had a no-hitter through three before Joanna Tepedino singled with two out in the fourth.

Denny's second home run of the season - career-leading 21st of her career - staked Eastern to a 2-0 lead in the third and Pensiero nursed that lead until the Warriors exploded for fifth runs in the sixth on four hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. Junior Nikki Mustin (Canterbury) was hit by a pitch to force in the first run, freshman leadoff hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) made it 5-0 with a two-run single, and Denny completed the scoring with a two-run single.

Two Staten Island pitchers gave up only six hits but walked seven batters and hit one.

In addition to her two-run single, Alicea walked twice and stole her team-leading 21st base of the season. Alicea also leads the team in batting (.430), slugging (.656), walks (16) runs (28), and hits (40). The multiple-RBI game was the seventh this year for Denny, the season and career RBI leader.

BASEBALL LEADING KSC, 6-3 IN HALTED GAME OF LEC OPENER

Warriors to resume Little East tournament game Friday at 9 a.m.

Eastern Connecticut State University led Keene State College, 6-3, when the game was LEClogo-1 WEB.jpghalted after seven innings due to darkness at the four-team, double-elimination  Little East Conference Baseball Tournament Thursday at the USM Baseball Stadium.

The game between second-seeded Eastern (31-6) and third-seeded and defending tournament champion Keene State (23-14) will be resumed in the top of the eighth inning Friday morning at 9 a.m. The loser of the game must come right back to face fourth-seeded Massachusetts Boston (19-21) in an elimination game. The winner of the halted game faces top-seeded University of Southern Maine (35-5) in a winners' bracket game later Friday.

Junior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) had given up only three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk through seven innings.

Eastern snapped a 2-2 tie by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-run single by junior Melvin Castillo (Danbury) and an RBI triple with two out by junior Joe Cousineau (Newington). Cousineau's triple chased Keene starter Jeff Raymond in favor of Corey Vogt.

Cousineau has four of Eastern's 12  hits, adding a double to go along with his RBI triple. Senior Shawn Gilblair (Windham) doubled and singled and drove in two runs, while junior John Parke (Middlefield) also had two hits.

 

OPENING NCAA LOSS DROPS SOFTBALL INTO LOSERS' BRACKET

Fifth-seeded Warriors play perfect defense but drop 4-1 decision

Box score.htmncaaLogo90b.jpg

denny 72_9792.jpgMAHWAH, N.J. - Jenna Carmon of Moravian outdueled Molly Rathbun (Hebron) in a battle of right-handed starting freshman pitchers that dropped the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team into the losers' bracket of the NCAA Division III Mahwah, N.J. Regional Thursday with a 4-1 opening-game setback.

Fourth-seeded Moravian (35-9), which reached the 2004 national championship round, scored single runs in the second and third innings by collecting four of its seven game hits and added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth after Eastern (25-12) scraped together its only run of the game in the top of the inning.

The start of the game was delayed for two hours and 15 minutes due to rain and wet field conditions.

Eastern looks to remain alive in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament when it faces first-time opponent and eighth-seeded College of Staten Island (23-13) at 10 a.m. The Dolphins were dispatched by No. 1 seed Messiah College in Thursday's opening game, 4-0.

Slowed by shin splints recently, Rathbun worked the first six innings (the first game she did not complete in 20 starts), giving up all seven Greyhound hits and all four runs, including a solo home run by No. 3 hitter Maria DeBonis  that give Moravian a 2-0 lead in the third, and a two-out, two-run double by No. 4 hitter Sheri Bieniek in the bottom of the fifth that made it 4-1. Rathbun fanned only one and walked one.

Trailing 2-0, Eastern scratched together its only run off Carmon (14-1) in the top of the fifth when senior third baseman Courtney Caswell (Wakefield, RI) scored on the front end of a double steal. Caswell had singled with one out, was sacrificed to second by senior second baseman Kelly Finlay (Thomaston) and to third on a single by leadoff hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford). Alicea was credited with her 20th stolen base of the season in the inning.

Eastern had four runners reach second base in the game without scoring. In the third, Finlay had a one-out single and moved to second on a two-out single by sophomore leftfielder Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) before an inning-ending fly ball. In the fourth, Rathbun singled to lead off the inning but her pinch runner was caught off second after being sacrificed to second by junior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull). Alicea was also left on second in Eastern's one-run fifth, and pinch runner Michelle Lawlor (Brookline, MA) was left at second after moving into scoring position with two out in the sixth.

With Eastern trailing 1-0 in the third and two runners aboard, senior first baseman Rachel Denny (East Haddam) flied out to deep right-center field for the final out. Denny, the program's all-time home run leader, was the only Eastern player with more than one hit. She singled with two out in the first  and singled to lead off the sixth.

For the 17th time this year, Eastern played perfect defense, with Rathbun, Caswell and junior shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) combining for ten assists.

A year ago, the Warriors won two games after an opening loss before being eliminated in the SUNY Plattsburgh regional.

 


 

LACROSSE STILL STANDING IN NCAA

Warriors survive overtime to post first NCAA tournament win ever

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KINGS POINTS, N.Y. -- Senior attack Matthew Savage (Southington) forced overtime, senior goalie Kyle Savage (Southington) saved overtime, and senior midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic) decided overtime as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team posted its first-ever win in the NCAA Division III tournament with a 10-9 overtime victory over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Wednesday night at Brooks Stadium.

At right: Matthew Savage

Matthew Savage's team-leading 52nd goal of the year with 34.6 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime. Kyle Savage kept the season alive witih a save in the opening minute of sudden death, and Little East Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year Simmons ended the game 82 seconds into the extra session with an unassisted goal that propelled the Warriors into the second round for the first tiime in six NCAA tournament appearances.

Eastern (15-3), which ties the program record for wins, visits Wesleyan University Saturday at 1 p.m. in the round of 16. Wesleyan (14-3) drew a first-round by after gaining the automatic bid extended the New England Small Collegte Athletic Conference playoff champion. Eastern won its sixth Little East Conference title in nine years this past Saturday with a 12-8 win over visiting Keene State College.

Eastern led six times in the match but only once by as many as two goals. After Simmons' extra-man strike with six minutes left in the third quarter gave the Warriors a 7-6 lead, Eastern went scorless and trailed by a goal until junior midfielder Zach Malouf (Norwich) potted his only goal on an assist from sophomore attack Brendan Hoppey (Shoreham, NY) with just over six minutes left in regulation.

Zach Gray's only goal of the match on an assist from Adam Jerlow gave Merchant Marine (11-6) only its  second lead of the night with 65 seconds left, but Eastern sophomore faceoff specialist Eric  Vasil (Southington) won the ensuing faceoff and Matthew Savage scored his third goal of the  match on a pass from junior midfielder Maxim Fantl (West Hartford) 30 seconds later to send the game into overtime.Ranked first nationally in ground balls and third in faceoff percentage, Vastil won 19 of 22 faceoffs and scooped up 17 ground balls. Vasil won 17 straight attempts after losing three of first in the first quarter.

Simmons led Eastern with five goals -- two coming in man-up opportunies in the third quarter and Hoppey had both of the team's assists. Eastern's man-down unit killed seven of eight penalties. In the final 1:47 of the third quarter, Eastern was flagged four times, but the Mariners were unable to take advantage of the extra-man tries. The hosts were up two men for 30 seconds in that late third-quarter stretch.

Kyle Savage stopped 15 shots, six of them coming in the first quarter when the Mariners outshot Eastern, 16-4. His biggest one came in overtime that prolonged the careers of nine seniors.

 

THREE FROM SOFTBALL ALL-LEC

Courtesy of Little East Conference Communication Office

Complete listing.pdf

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference announced its annual all- LEClogo-1 WEB.jpgconference teams and major award winners this afternoon after a vote by the conference's eight head coaches. Keene State College senior outfielder Jenna Patnode (Surry, N.H.) was named the player of the year, while Owls' skipper Charlie Beach was tabbed the coach of the year by his peers. Rhode Island College sophomore pitcher Amanda Berard (Swansea, Mass.) was selected as the pitcher of the year, and Eastern Connecticut State University freshman pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron, Conn.) was chosen as the rookie of the year.

Joining Rathbun on the first team from Eastern were junior outfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull, Conn.) and freshman outfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford, Conn.)

Patnode is just the third Keene State College student-athlete to be named the top softball player in the conference, and first since Caroline Kurkowski headlined the 2004 major awards program. The Surry, N.H. product is also making her fourth consecutive appearance on the all-conference, first-team and first as an outfielder. She ranks among the conference leaders in every offensive category: runs batted in (2nd, 34), runs scored (2nd, 55), batting average (3rd, .410), hits (3rd, 55), and on-base percentage (3rd, .488). A consistent hitter, Patnode hit safely in 31 of her 40 games, including 19 contests with multiple hits. She enjoyed her most productive afternoon at the plate against NCAA participant Wisconsin-Whitewater, reaching safely in four (three hits and a walk) of her five appearances and driving in a season-high five runs. The 2006 rookie of the year wreaked havoc on the base paths, establishing a new Owls' single-season record for stolen bases with 42 in just 44 attempts. Patnode was named the offensive player of the week twice.

Berard is making her debut on the all-conference, first-team after being selected as the top pitcher in the Little East, marking the third time in the past four years a student-athlete from Rhode Island College has earned at least a share of the award. The native of Swansea, Mass. leads the nation in saves (12)--just two shy of matching the NCAA Division III record (Kristen Rowe, Christopher Newport, 2007)--while ranking fourth in earned run average (0.54) and 20th in hits per seven innings (4.25). The ace of the top staff in the conference circuit sports a 14-2 record in 37 appearances over 124 innings of work. Berard was dominant in her six starts on the season, throwing five complete games and allowing just two earned runs in 40 innings. She posted her second complete-game shutout on the campaign in the championship game of the Little East Softball Championship against Keene State, scattering six hits and two walks, while striking out one. Berard was named the most outstanding player of the 2009 Little East Softball Championship, leading the Anchorwomen to their fourth consecutive conference crown.

Rathbun is just the second Eastern Connecticut student-athlete to be chosen as the top rookie, and first since Julia Neilson in 1999. The Hebron, Conn. native is second in the nation in hits allowed per seven innings (2.76), third in earned run average (0.50), and 13th in strikeouts per seven innings (9.7) according to the latest NCAA Division III statistical report. Rathbun is just the second pitcher in the program's history to surpass the 200-strikeout mark (201). The all-conference, first-team honoree recorded at least 10 strikeouts eight times, matching her season-high mark by fanning 15 against Keene State on April 26. A starter in 19 of her 27 appearances, Rathbun owns a 16-5 record with three saves and a 0.57 earned run average in 148 innings. She also split time at first base, registering a .270 batting average with eight extra base hits--including four home runs--and driving in 17 runs.
    
Beach was named the top boss in the conference for the third time in his career, after leading his Owls to an overall record of 26-14, including a 10-4 mark in the Little East. He recorded his 12th straight season with at least 20 wins since joining Division III in 1998. Keene State closed out the regular season with a 14-3 record to earn the second seed in the Little East Softball Championship, climbing two spots from the preseason projections. The Owls reached the championship game of the conference tournament for the second straight season before falling to Rhode Island College, 1-0. Keene State boasts six wins over 2009 NCAA Tournament teams, including handing the Anchorwomen two of their fives losses on the campaign. Beach mentored five student-athletes on the all-conference teams, including a pair of first-team selections. The Owls earned the second seed in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England bracket.

Rhode Island College placed a conference-best nine student-athletes on the all-conference teams, while Keene State was two off the Anchorwomen pace. Eastern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University each earned three honorees, while University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Plymouth State University each had a lone representative.

Initially formed in 1986 as a six-team men's and women's basketball conference, the Little East Conference has since grown to its present eight-school membership, sponsoring championship play in 19 intercollegiate athletics: baseball; men's and women's basketball; men's and women's cross country; field hockey; men's and women's lacrosse; men's and women's soccer; softball; women's swimming; men's and women's tennis; men's and women's indoor track; men's and women's outdoor track and women's volleyball.

 

LEC HONORS THREE FROM EASTERN

Courtesy Little East Conference Communications Office

MacDonald repeats as top defensive player in all-conference balloting

Complete listing.pdf

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference announced its annual women's LEClogo-1 WEB.jpglacrosse all-conference and major award winners this afternoon after a vote by each of the conference's seven head coaches. University of Southern Maine junior midfielder Jessica Knight (Alfred, Maine) was named the offensive player of the year, while University of Massachusetts Dartmouth freshman attacker Allison O'Rourke (Weymouth, Mass.) was selected as the rookie of the year. Eastern Connecticut State University earned a pair of major awards as junior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) repeated as the defensive player of the year, while Christine Hutchison was tabbed as the coach of the year by her peers. Junior attack Brooke Wayte (Bellport, N.Y.) was also a first-team selection.

The Little East Conference office honors a 12-member first and second all-conference team, consisting of three attackers, five midfielders, three defenders, and a goalie. Keene State College placed a conference-best six student-athletes top two teams, while Eastern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University each had five representatives. Plymouth State University and the University of Southern Maine each earned four selections, while University of Massachusetts Dartmouth completed the all-conference selections with one representative.

Knight is the first Huskies' student-athlete to be honored as the top offensive player in the Little East since the conference began sponsoring women's lacrosse in 2002. The Alfred, Maine product is making her third consecutive appearance on the top two teams and second straight on the first team. A starter in 14 of her 16 games, Knight scored 62 points, on 53 goals and nine assists. She leads the Little East in goals per game (3.31) and is second in points per game (3.88). A prolific score, Knight recorded 12 hat tricks on the campaign, including a season-best six markers against Plymouth State on April 14.

MacDonald is the third student-athlete to repeat as the conference's top defensive player joining Plymouth State's Kelsey MacDonald (her sister) and Carmen Villanueva. The native of Oak Bluffs, Mass. helped the Warriors allow the least amount of goals in the Little East (48), surrendering 10 less than the Owls.  MacDonald ranked among the conference leaders in ground balls per game (2nd, 4.28) and draw controls (3rd, 2.94). She scooped up at least five ground balls five times, including a season-best 10 against Southern Maine. MacDonald also an offensive catalyst in the attacking third of the field, scoring 68 points (38-30).     

O'Rourke led all Little East first-year student-athletes in scoring this season, registering 40 goals, 10 assists, 50 total points. A starter in all 16 games, the Weymouth, Mass. product recorded multiple points nine times. O'Rourke scored a season-high eight points against the Huskies with six markers and two helpers.  During the middle of the season, she registered 27 points (20-7) in the span of nine days to lead the Corsairs to wins in three of their four games. O'Rourke is the third UMass Dartmouth student-athlete to be named the conference's top rookie.


Hutchison guided Eastern Connecticut to its third consecutive undefeated Little East season, raising the Warriors regular-season conference win streak to 22 games. Eastern Connecticut earned the top-seed and right to host the Little East Women's Lacrosse Championship for the third campaign in a row. The Warriors were denied their third trip to the NCAA Tournament after being edged in overtime by Keene State, 9-8. Hutchison is collecting the conference's top coach award for the second time in her career (2007).

 Initially formed in 1986 as a six-team men's and women's basketball conference, the Little East Conference has since grown to its present eight-school membership, sponsoring championship play in 19 intercollegiate athletics: baseball; men's and women's basketball; men's and women's cross country; field hockey; men's and women's lacrosse; men's and women's soccer; softball; women's swimming; men's and women's tennis; men's and women's indoor track; men's and women's outdoor track and women's volleyball. 


 

SIMMONS, LANE HEADLINE ALL-LEC TEAM AS PREMIER PLAYERS

Seven from conference champions named to all-conference team

Courtesy Little East Conference Office of Communications
Complete team.pdf

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior midfielder D.J. LEClogo-1 WEB.jpgSimmons (Mystic, Conn.) and classmate Steve Lane (Groton, Conn.) were named the Little East Conference offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively, this afternoon when the conference office announced its annual men's lacrosse all-conference and major awards winners. Keene State College freshman attacker Griffin Meehan (Simsbury, Conn.) was tabbed the rookie of the year, while University of Southern Maine Malcolm Chase was selected as the coach of the year by his peers.

The Little East Conference honors an 11-person first and second all-conference team consisting of three attackers, three midfielders, a long-stick midfielder, three defenders and a goalie. The Warriors placed eight student-athletes on the top two teams, while Plymouth State University and the Owls each had four representatives.

Simmons is making his third consecutive appearance on the All-Little East teams, and second as a first-team selection.  The Mystic, Conn. native is the fourth Eastern Connecticut student-athlete to earn at least a share of the top offensive award since men's lacrosse became a conference sponsored sport in 2001. Simmons sits atop the Little East individual standings in game-winning goals (6), while ranking fifth in goals per game (2.53) and points per game (3.35). A consistent scorer, he registered at least one point in each of his 17 games, scoring multiple points 16 times. Simmons penned a season-high seven points in his ledger against Keene State, netting a season-high six goals and handing out an assist. He has had the knack for scoring the game-winning goal of late, tickling the twine for the decisive score in the past three games.

Lane is the fourth Warrior to be picked as the top defensive player in the conference and first since Andrew Handras repeated the honor in 2004. The Groton, Conn. product led the Little East's top-ranked defensive attack that allowed just 45 goals in seven conference games and killed off 77.4 percent of its opponents' man-up opportunities. Lane and his teammates held their oppositions to seven or fewer goals eight times, including a season-low three markers twice. The three-time All-Little East, first-team selection scooped up 69 ground balls, including a season-high eight at Keene State, while causing seven turnovers. Lane also contributed to the offensive rush with seven points, on four goals and three assists.

Meehan made an immediate impact in the Owls' starting lineup, earning all-conference, first-team honors as an attacker. He led the Little East in points per game (4.54), while ranking second in assists per game (1.69) and third in goals per game (2.85). The Simsbury, Conn. product recorded multiple points in each of his 13 games to raise his season totals to 37 goals, 22 assists, and 59 points. Meehan, a crafty playmaker, tallied at least five points six times, including a pair of eight-point outings. He matched his season highs in goals (5) and points (8) against UMass Dartmouth and Western Connecticut. Meehan also handed out a season-best four helpers against Wheaton (Mass.).

Chase guided the Huskies to the program's first season with at least 10 victories, sporting an 11-7 record and a 4-3 mark in the conference circuit. On April 5, Southern Maine defeated Western Connecticut, 14-12, to earn its first Little East win since the 2004 schedule. The Huskies won five of their last six games to claim the third seed in the Little East Men's Lacrosse Championship and host Salem State in the opening round. Southern Maine reached the semifinals of the conference tournament for the first time in the program's history before bowing out to Keene State. Chase mentored two All-Little East, second-team picks in junior defender Matt Morneau (Portland, Maine) and freshman attacker Tim Bryant (Peterborough, N.H.). 

Initially formed in 1986 as a six-team men's and women's basketball conference, the Little East Conference has since grown to its present eight-school membership, sponsoring championship play in 19 intercollegiate athletics: baseball; men's and women's basketball; men's and women's cross country; field hockey; men's and women's lacrosse; men's and women's soccer; softball; women's swimming; men's and women's tennis; men's and women's indoor track; men's and women's outdoor track and women's volleyball.

BASEBALL RALLIES FROM EARLY DEFICIT

Down by four in first, Warriors use seven-run eighth to pull away, 13-4

Box score.htmseniorsBB web_0508.jpg            Eastern's four seniors were honored prior to the game (MJ Photo)

MANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior Shawn Gilblair (Windham) cracked a go-ahead  two-run home run in the seventh inning off the first pitch he saw from Roger Williams University relief pitcher Ryan Willette, and the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team went on to a 13-4 non-conference win Tuesday night in its final regular-season home game of the year.

The win is the 11th straight for Eastern (32-6), ranked fourth nationally and second in New England. The Warriors open play in the four-team, double-elimination Little East Conference tournament Thursday against Keene State College at 3 p.m. at Towers Field on the University of Southern Maine campus.

Trailing 4-0 after one inning, Eastern got three back in the fourth on an infield ground ball and junior Joe Cousineau's (Newington)  two-out, two-run opposite field double, went ahead for good by scoring three more in the seventh, and tacked on seven insurance runs in the eighth. Sophomore  Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) tied the game with a single on the first (and final) pitch he saw from  losing pitcher Dan Roberge, and Giblair greeted Willette with a two-run home run to right-center that gave Eastern its first lead, 6-4.  Eleven batters came to the plate in the eighth when the Warriors scored seven times on four hits, three hit batsmen and an infield throwing error.

Five of the top six hitters in the Eastern lineup had two hits each and combined to score nine runs and drove in six, with Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) collecting three hits.Gilblair drove in three runs with his seventh home run of the season and an RBI double in the seventh-run eighth. Schult had two hits, scored two runs and drove in two.

Four Eastern pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts and no walks. After giving up four runs on three hits in the first inning, Schult allowed only one hit over the next four innings while fanning seven, but departed on the short end of a 4-3 score. Senior James Kukucka (Vernon) pitcked up his third win in four decisions with two scoreless innings. Kukucka fanned the side in the seventh and earned the win on the strength of Eastern's three-run seventh.

First-year sophomore Rob Perry (Manchester) reached twice in the eighth inning on a hit-by-pitch and RBI single and scored the team's first run.

Cleanup hitter Kevin Simpson of Roger Williams (20-20-1) had a bases-clearing double and later scored in the inning to stake the Hawks to a quick 4-0 lead, but the visitors managed only two hits the rest of the way.

The game was the final regular-season home one for seniors Gilblair, Hobbes, Kukucka and Andrew Magliola (East Haven).


 

 

SOFTBALL AT-LARGE PICK TO NCAAs

Warriors to compete in Mahwah, NJ regional; open Thursday at noon

sb team WEB_0324.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball team was named to its New England-record 16th NCAA Division III tournament Monday as the fifth-seeded team in the Mahway, NJ regional and will open play Thursday at noon against fourth-seeded Moravian College.

Eastern (25-11) was named as an at-large selection to the 59-team field as one of nine teams from the New England region. Moravian (34-9) was also named as an at-large selection and will be making its 11th NCAA tournament appearance in the last 12 years.

Other first-round matchups in the eight-team, five-day tournament include No. 1 seed Messiah College (35-4) vs. No. 8 seed College of Staten Island (23-12) at 10 a.m.; No. 3 Rowan University (32-10) vs. No. 6 SUNY Farmingdale (32-4) at 2 p.m.; and No. 2 Muhlenberg College (19-16) vs. No. 2 William Paterson University (32-7).

The Eastern-Moravian winner will advance in the winners' bracket Friday at 2 p.m. against the Messiah-Staten Island winner; The Eastern-Moravian loser will face the Messiah-Staten Island loser at 10 a.m. in an elimination game.

The tournament winner advances to the NCAA Division III national tournament May 15-19 at Montclair State University.rathbun WEB_9659.jpg

Having won 20 games for the fifth time in the last seven years under eighth-year head coach Diana Pepin, Eastern will be competing in the NCAA tournament for the second time in as many years, receiving at-large bids both times. Last year, the Warriors won two games at the Plattsburgh, NY regional in their first NCAA showing since 1998.

At right: Molly Rathbun

Both Eastern and Moravian were ranked fourth in their respective regions at the start of play last week. Seeded third in the Little East Conference tournament, the Warriors bowed out in two games with losses to No. 4 seed Western Connecticut and No. 1 seed Rhode Island College. Seeded first, Moravian won its tenth straight conference title by downing Susquehanna University in the Landmark Conference title game, 6-5 in nine innings. All three tournament wins came by one run for Moravian, which is 509-156 in 16 years under head coach John Byrne.  Under Byrne, the Greyhounds reached the 2004 national title round, losing to St. Thomas University (MN), 2-0 at Salem, VA.

Since capturing 16 of its first 18 games up north, Eastern has lost five of its last eight. Moravian has won ten straight and 24 of 26. As a team, Eastern is batting .273 with a .970 fielding average (9th nationally) and 1.75 staff ERA. Moravian is batting .326 with a .969 fielding percentage (12th nationally) and 1.33 ERA (fourth nationally).

On the mound, Eastern has relied upon freshman righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron) and senior righty Katie Pensiero (Stamford). Rathbun is 16-5 with a 0.57 ERA in 148 2/3 innings. She has 201 strikeouts - the second pitcher in program history with as many as 200 in a season - and is ranked third nationally in ERA and second in least runs allowed per seven innings (2.76).  Pensiero is 7-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 58.0 innings. Four Eastern hitters are above .300: freshman rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford), junior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull), sophomore leftfielder Katie Dinihanian (Stratford), and senior first baseman/catcher Rachel Denny (East Haddam). Alicea is batting .432 with  19 stolen bases and a .670 slugging percentage; Sullivan is batting .365, Dinihanian .315, and Denny .304. Alicea and Sullivan have combined for 21 multiple-hit games, Denny and Sullivan for 11 multiple-RBI games and junior shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) brings a team-best seven-game hitting streak into action.

Moravian has gone with a 1-2 pitching punch of senior Maria DeBonis and freshman Jenna Carmon.DeBonis is 14-7 with one save and 158 strikeouts in 146 innings, Carmon 13-1 with two saves and a 1.02 ERA. Six regulars are batting over .300 for the Greyhounds: sophomore outfielder Amanda Paulus (.402), senior outfielder Erica Klepeisz (.364), senior first baseman Shari Bieniek (.363), DeBonis (.341), sophomore second basman Stephanie Falzarano (.336) and Carmon (.317).

Rhode Island won the Little East Conference tournament last weekend and is the No. 2 seed in the New England regional which is being hosted by Endicott College. Eastern was the only LEC institution to receive an at-large bid.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M-LACROSSE DRAWS MMA IN NCAA

               Warriors travel to Kings Point Wednesday for first-round tilt

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team opens play in its sixth NCAA Division III tournament Wednesday at 7 p.m. when it visits the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY.

At right: Eastern's nine seniors lead the Warriors into the NCAA tournament.

Eastern (14-3) earned an automatic bid to the tournament Saturday by besting Keene State College, 12-8, in the championship game of the Little East Conference tournament. Merchant Marine (11-5) received an at-large bid to the 22-team field, its second NCAA tournament appearance ever and second in three years. The Mariners wrapped up its regular season by winning its first Landmark Conference championship Saturday with an 8-6 win over visiting University of Scranton. A second-year conference, the Landmark does not receive an automatic bid to the tournament.

The post-season tournament appearance is the ninth 14-year history of the program and the first under second-year head coach Justin Axel. The Warriors last appeared in 2006 when it dropped a 7-4 decision at Stevens Tech.

If it defeats Merchant Marine, Eastern would move on to a second-round match Saturday at Wesleyan University (14-3) at 1 p.m. The Warriors have lost their NCAA opener in each of its five previous appearances.

It will be the first meeting ever between Eastern and Merchant Marine.

A winner of eight straight, Eastern is led by senior twins Matthew Savage (Southington) and Kyle Savage (Southington), sophomore faceoff specialist Eric Vasil (Southington) and senior defenseman Steve Lane (Groton). Matthew Savage was named Most Outstanding Player of the conference playoffs by scoring nine goals in two matches, setting a program season record in the process with 49 goals. Kyle Savage holds most all career program records for goalies, including wins (44). He needs saves for 800 in his career. Vasil leads Division III in ground balls (11.4) and is third in faceoff percentage (.707). Lane leads all non-faceoff players with 69 ground balls.

Merchant Marine has won six straight and eight of nine since losing four straight, with two of those losses coming to No. 10 nationally-ranked Washington & Lee University and #17 Wesleyan. In its only other previous NCAA appearance in 2007, MMA dropped a 14-11 first-round decision at Keene State. It is the only NCAA tournament victory for a Little East Conference team. The Mariners qualified that year by topping Stevens Tech, 12-11, in the finals of the Skyline Conference. Merchant Marine finished 9-7 last year in its first season in the Landmark Conference.

Merchant Marine's top two offensive threats are senior Brennan Dougherty (38-23-61) - the program's all-time assist leader -- and junior Brian Flannery (37-10-47). Senior Michael Condron tops the club with 62 ground balls. Nine different players have combined to win 32.9 percent of the team's faceoffs.

Eastern played and lost two matches against teams appearing in this week's natonal poll. The Warriors lost at No. 5 Salisbury University, 15-7, March 21 and lost to visting Trinity College, 12-9, April 7. Salisbury was rated No. 1 nationally at the time and Trinity received votes in this week's national Top 20. The games against Washington & Lee and Wesleyan represented MMA's only ones against teams currently ranked nationally.

Eastern averages 13.6 goal per match and has a +5.1 scoring margin. Merchant Marine averages  8.9 goals per game with a 0.3 scoring margin.

Eastern and Wesleyan are among seven institutions chosen from New England. In addition to Eastern, Wesleyan, Mount Ida College, Springfield College and Western New England College qualified automatically by winning conference championships. Middlebury College and Tufts University received at-large bids

 

OVERTIME GOAL SINKS W-LAX IN LITTLE EAST TITLE GAME, 9-8

 Second-seeded Keene State ends top-seeded Warriors' two-year reign

Box score.HTM

MANSFIELD,  Conn. - Keene State College season scoring leader Jill Kirk's only goal of the LEClogo-1 WEB.jpgmatch one minute into overtime gave the Owls their first Little East Conference playoff championship with a 9-8 victory  over top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

A loser of 14 of the previous 15 matches in this series, No. 2 seeded Keene ended Eastern's 23-game winning streak in conference decisions. Until this game, Eastern's last conference loss had come in the title game of the 2006 championship against Plymouth State, 9-5. Keene was making its second championship game appearance, having lost to Plymouth State in 2004.

Keene (12-7) qualifies for its first-ever NCAA tournament by gaining the automatic bid extended the LEC tournament champion. Eastern ends its season at 9-9. The win is the program-record eighth straight for Keene, which stopped the Warriors' four-game streak.

Tournament MVP Lauren Sawyer had forced overtime when she scored in fourth goal of the match with 5:24 left. One minute into the six-minute overtime, Sawyer set up Kirk with the go-ahead goal. The assist was the second of the match for Sawyer, the conference leader with 59. Three of Sawyer's goals came on free-position shots.

Keene goalie Jen Gearing made three saves in the final two minutes of overtime, two coming in the final minute. She stopped a free-positon shot by  Eastern sophomore midfielder Ashley Del Vecchio (Fairfield) with 50 seconds left and preserved the win by making her 14th save of the game on an attempt by Eastern season goal-scoring leader junior Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) with two seconds left. Eastern freshman goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made a save on a shot by Keene's Jamie Albert with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

Wayte, who scored five goals in a 16-0 semifinal win Thursday over UMass Dartmouth, managed only one goal on eight shots.

Eastern led 6-3 five minutes into the second half and 7-5 with 14 minutes left, but the Owls scored twice in a  span of 19 seconds to tie the game Sawyer made it a one-goal game when she converted a free-position shot with 7:36 left, and Samantha Benson tied the game with an unassisted goal 19 seconds later.

Eastern had beaten Keene, 14-10, during the regular season. Keene's only previous win over Eastern had come in the finals of the 2004 ECAC Tournament, 17-16 in overtime.

Keene State College 9, Eastern Conn. 8, ot

Keene State (12-7)         3    5   (1) --   9
Eastern Conn. (9-9)        4   4    (0) --   8

Goals: K-Lauren Sawyer 4, Jamie Albert 2, Jill Kirk, Emily Persano, Samantha Benson; E- Katie Beers 2, Brooke Wayte, Taylor MacDonald, Ashley Del Vecchio, Jessica Richards, Courtney Bedocs, Nicole Shusdock.
Assists: K-Sawyer 2; E-Megan Barrett, MacDonald, Wayte.
Shots: K-33, E-32; Saves: K-Jen Gearing 14, E-Kristianna Ibsen 13

M-LAX TOPS KEENE STATE TO RE-GAIN LITTLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP

After two-year hiatus, Warriors gain sixth title in nine years, 12-8

Box score.HTM

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  WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - One year after failing to qualify for the Little East Conference men's lacrosse championship match for the only time, Eastern Connecticut State University returned to the top Saturday with a 12-8 victory over Keene State College before an overflow crowd at Thomas Nevers Field.

Top-seeded Eastern (14-3) won its sixth Little East Conference playoff championship in nine years by rolling to its eighth straight win and snapping the six-game streak of second-seeded Keene (9-4). The teams were meeting in the final sixth time in the last seven years, with the Warriors winning for the fourth time. For the first time ever, neither Eastern nor Keene advanced to the final last year, both being upset in the semifinals.

The LEC playoff title was the first for the Warriors under second-year head coach Justin Axel, who has directed the Warriors to the second-most overall wins in program history. All four head coaches in the program's history have now won at least one LEC playoff championship.

For Eastern's four-year seniors, it was their first LEC playoff title since their freshman seasons.

"I could not be happier for our group of seniors," stated Axel. "They have done so much to bring the program back to the top of the Little East Conference, and I cannot thank them enough.  The change in the team's mindset and work ethic is a tribute to the hard work and effort that these young men have displayed since I arrived.  This is truly a special group. "

With the win, Eastern qualifies automatically for its sixth NCAA post-season tournament, first since downing Keene 14-12 in the 2006 championship game at Nevers Field.

It marked the team's second four-goal win over Keene this year in this rivalry which has become one of the top ones in New England.

"This was a great game that continues to add to the rivalry between Eastern and Keene," pointed out Axel. "I give a lot of credit to Keene. They played an excellent game and it took a full 60 minute effort for us to come out on top."

savage mlax mvp_0426.jpgSenior attack Matthew Savage (Southington)  was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, following up his four-goal effort in Thursday's semifinal win over Plymouth State with five more against Keene. En route to his MOP honor, Savage broke the program season record with his final goal of the match. Savage's 49th goal of the season came with 5:41 left and broke the Owls' back It was the team's third straight and lifted it into an insurmountable four-goal lead, 11-7.

Eastern's defense was able to shut down two of Keene's top two offensive threats. The Warriors limited Keene season goal leader Griffin Meehan to just one goal - that coming 18 minutes into the game - and prevented Keene assist leader Tony Santa Fe from chalking up even one helper.

Matthew Savage scored twice in 15 seconds to pull Eastern even at 3-all six minutes into the second quarter and late contributed one of the team's four straight goals that closed the second quarter and gave the Warriors a 7-4 halftime lead.  The Owls  got to within a goal twice thereafter before senior midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic) scored an unassisted goal with 16 seconds left in the third quarter, and Matthew Savage scored two straight unassisted goals to make it 11-7 with six minutes left.

"Matt has really played incredibly  in the last few weeks," noted Axel of Savage, who has averaged nearly four goals a game over the last eight games, beginning with a four-goal effort in the 14-10 regular-season win over Keene April 11. "I couldn't be happier for him in breaking the single-season goal record, as he truly deserves the accolade.  Anytime we needed a goal against Keene, he found a way to find the back of the net.  His leadership and determination has truly shown over the last few games."

Since having his program-record streak for consecutive goals snapped at 22 March 28, Savage has scored at least two goals  in each of the team's last 11 games.

Sophomore faceoff specialist Eric Vasil (Southington) rebounded from his worst faceoff performance of the season in the team's regular-season win over Keene (6-of-21) by taking 11 of 21 faceoffs. The national leader in ground balls, Vasil commanded eight Saturday. Keene's Casey Broderson, who won 14 of 17 tries at the "X" in earlier this year, lost six of seven this time around..

Eastern senior goalie Kyle Savage (Southington) - twin brother of Matthew -- made 12 saves to record his 44th career win and pull to within two stops of 800 in his 68-game career.

Eastern's 14 wins equal the third-most in a season for Eastern and are the most since 2001.

Eastern Conn. 12, Keene State College 8

Keene State (9-4)            1   3   3   1 --  8
Eastern Conn. (14-3)       1   6   2   3 -- 12

Goals: E-Casey Broderson 2, Tony Santa Fe 2; Griffin Meehan, Rodney Arganese, Michael Araujo, Dax Greene; E- Matthew Savage 5, Maxim Fantl 2, DJ Simmons 2; Brendan Hoppey 2, Vinny Tornatore.
Assists: K-Riley Benson, Broderson, Meehan; E-Fantl, Zach Malouf, M. Savage.
Shots: K-42, E-32; Saves: K-Alex Corliss 9, E-Kyle Savage 12.


 

BASEBALL ADVANCES IN LITTLE EAST CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS

No. 2-seeded Warriors rough up No. 7 Western to win best-of-three series

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MANSFIELD, Conn. --  Eight players had at least three hits and five hit home runs as the No. LEClogo-1 WEB.jpg2-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team crushed seventh-seeded Western Connecticut State University, 10-2, 20-1, to advance in the 2009 Little East Conference tournament Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Ranked No. 7 nationally, Eastern (31-6) was one of the top four seeds to sweep their respective best-of-three series Saturday and advance to the three-day, four-team, double-elimination LEC tournament beginning Thursday at Towers Field on the University of Southern Maine campus. The Warriors will face No. 3 seed Keene State College (23-14) in the second of two games Thursday at 3 p.m.. Top-seeded Southern Maine (34-5) meets No. 4 seeded Massachusetts Boston (19-20) in Thursday's noon opener.

All-America senior lefty Shawn Gilblair (Windham) went the first eight innings in the opener to gain his sixth win in seven decisions, and first-year junior righty Will Musson (Wethersfield) pitched the first seven innings to remain undefeated (7-0) in the nightcap. Gilblair gave up five hits while fanning ten and walking one while Musson struck out ten without a walk and scattered four hits without surrendering an earned run.

The first-game win provided Eastern with its ninth straight season of at least 30 victories.

Western senior righty Alex Zancan, who had pitched a complete-game eight-hitter in his team's 5-3 win over Eastern April 10, was charged with 11 earned runs on 11 hits over the first two innings of the nightcap Saturday.

In the second game, freshman catcher Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA)  reached base five times with three doubles, a home run and walk, drove in five runs and scored four.

On the afternoon, sophomore rightfielder Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) reached base seven times with five hits and two walks. He matched Cammuso with three doubles and a home run. Junior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) drove in five runs on the day with a double, triple and his 36th career home run (team-leading 11th of the season) which moved him to within two of the 31-year-old career  home run record. Junior shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford) had four hits, including a double and triple, scored four runs and drove in four. The second of Bass' three hits in the second game gave him 100th career hits at Eastern.

In addition to posting his 26th career pitching win - tying him for sixth all-time - Gilblair had three hits - including a double and his sixth home run of the season - drove in four runs and scored three in the doubleheader. Gilblair and Bass both drove in four runs in the second game. In the opener, junior first baseman Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) reached safely four times with a single, home run and two walks.

Eastern hosts Roger Williams University Tuesday at 7 p.m.



 

FIVE FROM M-TRACK ALL-NEW ENGLAND AT DIVISION III MEET

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Among three freshmen, Ricketts earns honors at 100 meters and with relay

Nine members of women's team also compete in regional championship

 

  ricketts WEB_7963.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Freshman Andrew Ricketts (Hartsdale, NY) ran to All-New England honors at 100 meters and with the 4x100 meter relay team Saturday at the 2009 New England Division III Men's Track and Field Championships at Blake Track on the Springfield College campus.

At left: Andrew Ricketts

Ricketts followed up winning the Little East Conference 100 meter championship a week ago by placing third in a time of 11.21 in an original field of 23 at the New England meet, Ricketts won his heat in a time of 10.98, and had the third-best time overall in the preliminaries.

Ricketts also ran the third leg of the 4x100 meter relay which also gained All-New England honors with a sixth-place finish in a time of 43.42. Ricketts was among three freshmen on the All-New England relay and was joined by Nick Pates (East Haven), Alex Springer (Willimantic) and sophomore anchor Mike D'Elia (Windham).

Also competing in the championship: freshman Stephen Spranzo (Colchester) was tenth in a field of 23 in the 3,000 steeplechase (9:53.56); freshman Alex Springer (Willimantic) tied for tenth in the long jump in a field of 29 (21-6) on Friday; and D'Elia placed 19th among 19 in the 400 hurdles (1:00.41).

Nine members of the women's team also competed in the New England Division III meet, none attaining All-New England status. Those competing: juniors Erika Barber (Portland) in the pole vault, Sandra Brautigam (Scotland) in the 100 hurdles, Monica Mills (East Hartford) in the triple jump, Nicole Stefanik (Coventry, RI) in the javelin throw, Kelsey Watson (Bristol, NH), freshman Steph Canada (Cheshire) in the high jump and Sarah Joy (Stratford) in the 100 hurdles. Sophomore Roxanne Atterbury (Manchester), freshman Elise Zarcaro (Enfield), Brautigam and Stefanik also teamed on the 4x100 relay. Stefanik replaced Watson on the 4x400.

Nine men  have also qualified to compete in next weekend's New England Open  Friday and Saturday at the University of Massachusetts. Pates, Springer, Ricketts, D'Elia and Spranzo are scheduled to compete in the same events as this past weekend. Joining them will be senior Matt Pyne (Wallingford) in the pole vault, juniors David Hunt (New Milford) in the 5000 and Sam Buczek (Milford) in the 10,000, and freshman Steven Clayton (North Haven) in the 800.

Competing for the women will be juniors Alexis Cavanaugh (Cheshire) in the 10,000; Watson in the 100, 200 and 400; Mills in the triple jump and 400 hurdles; Brautigam and freshman Joy in the 100 hurdles, and Barber in the pole vault.  Atterbury, Watson, Mills and Brautigam will also team on the 4x100.

 
 

 

WATSON PACES EASTERN W-TRACK AND NEA/LEC MEET

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Junior captures six individual honors in sprints, and three with two relays

                                                                            Kelsey Watson (below)

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nea-track-logo.jpgWESTFIELD, Mass. --  Eastern Connecticut State University junior Kelsey Watson (Bristol, NH) accumulated all-conference and all-alliance honors six times in three sprint events and also gained recognition  with two relays at the New England Alliance/Little East Conference Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship Saturday at the Jerry Gravel Track on the campus of Westfield State College.

Watson placed second at 200 and 400 meters and third at 100 meters in conference scoring and was second in the 400, fifth in the 200 and eighth in the 100 in alliance scoring. She also ran the third leg of the 4x400 meter relay which placed third in both conference and alliance scoring and ran anchor on the 4x100 relay which gained all-conference laurels. In the meet, Watson qualified for this weekend's New England Division III Championship at both 100 and 200 meters.

As a team, Eastern finished third in a six-team Little East Conference field and was fifth among 11 New England Alliance squads. Six Little East Conference (LEC)  teams are joined by five members of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) to form the New England Alliance (NEA).

The University of Southern Maine posted a 26-point win over runner-up Rhode Island College to win its tenth straight Little East Conference title and 11th in the 12-year history of the championship. In the alliance scoring, Westfield State outdistanced Southern Maine by 26 ½ points to unseat the nine-time defending champion Huskies.

The top eight individuals in NEA scoring are named All-NEA and the first three finishers in Little East scoring are recognized as All-LEC. The first three relays receive honors in both the NEA and LEC scoring.

First-year junior Alexis Cavanaugh (Cheshire) won the program's one individual title. In her first official race at 10,000 meters, Cavanaugh outran a field of ten in alliance scoring and bested a field of three to win the conference race in a time of 43:01.91.  It marked the third straight year that an Eastern runner won both the alliance and conference titles at that distance, following Nidia Gonzalez Lopes.

In all, Watson was named all-conference and all-alliance a total of nine times, while junior Monica Mills (East Hartford) gained all-conference and all-alliance accolades in the 400 meter hurdles and joined Watson on both relays. The meet winner at 800 meters last year, sophomore Karina Johnson (East Hartford) repeated all-alliance honors by finishing seventh at that distance, and was also all-alliance by placing seventh at 1,500 meters. Johnson earned both honors as a freshman at 1,500 meters last year. She also ran the anchor on the 4x400 meter relay. In two previous meets in her career, Watson ran to all-alliance and all-conference honors a total of six times in the sprints.

Last year's meet champion in the pole vault, junior Erika Barber (Portland) finished second in the conference and alliance Saturday. In addition to Watson, Mills, and Cavanaugh, achieving all-alliance and all-conference honors were junior Sandra Brautigam (Scotland) in the 100 meter hurdles, freshman Steph Canada (Cheshire) in the high jump, sophomores Amanda Ericson (Bolton) and Melissa Healy (Naugatuck) at 10,000 meters. Junior Amy Jo Gould (Redding) and senior Nicole Stefanik (Coventry, RI)  joined Johnson as all-alliance performers in the 400 meter hurdles and in the discus, respectively. Stefanik was also a member of the 4x400  relay, and Brautigam and sophomore Roxanne Atterbury (Manchester) ran on the 4x100 relay which was named all-conference.

Canada qualified for the New England Division III Championship with her height of 4-11 in the high jump. She will compete at that championship this weekend at Springfield College along with Watson in the 100, 200 and 400, Barber in the pole vault, Brautigam and freshman Sarah Joy (Stratford) in the 100 hurdles, Mills in the triple jump, Stefanik in the javelin, and the 4x100, 400 and 800 relays.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In men's track, Eastern accumulates all-conference honors ten times

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Andrew Ricketts (below)

ricketts head WEB_6243.jpgWESTFIELD, Mass. --  Eastern Connecticut State University freshmen Andrew Ricketts (Hartsdale, NY) and Alex Springer (Willimantic)  won conference championships and were among six individuals to combine for ten all-conference laurels Saturday at the New England Alliance/Little East Conference Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship at the Jerry Gravel Track on the campus of Westfield State College.

Alex Springer (below)

springer head 72_8386.jpgRicketts qualified for the ECAC Division III Championship May 14-15 by winning the Little East Conference 100 meter competition in a field of 18, while Springer captured the Little East Conference long jump title in a field of 11.

As a team, Eastern finished fourth in a six-team Little East Conference field and was eighth among 12 New England Alliance squads. Six Little East Conference (LEC)  teams are joined by six members of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) to form the New England Alliance (NEA).

The University of Southern Maine unseated 11-time defending champion Westfield State College (the only previous champion) to claim its first New England Alliance title, and also won its third Little East Conference team championship. Southern Maine edged Westfield State by three points in NEA scoring and posted an easy victory in the LEC competition, ahead of runner-up Keene State. Eastern had won six straight conference titles between 2001 and 2007.

The top eight individuals in NEA scoring are named All-NEA and the first three finishers in Little East scoring are recognized as All-LEC. The first three relays receive honors in both the NEA and LEC scoring.

Ricketts recorded the fastest time in the preliminaries (11.20), was timed in 10.99 in the semifinals, and 11.00 in the final. Ricketts' time was good enough to place him second among 45 participants in the New England Alliance scoring. He becomes the men's program's second individual in three years to win the 100 meters, following freshman Jose Rodriguez in 2007.

 Springer outdistanced a field of 11 to claim the Little East Conference individual championship with a mark of 21-1 ¼, and was third among 25 in the NEA scoring. It marked the seventh time that an Eastern athlete as won the Little East long jump championship. The current  championship record has stood since Eastern's Jason Edwards posted a mark of 24-9 ¼ in 1999.

Joining Ricketts and Springer by achieving all-alliance and all-conference recognition were senior Matt Pyne (Wallingford) in the pole vault and freshman Nick Pates (East Haven) at 400 meters, while sophomore Mike D'Elia (Windham) was named all-NEA and qualified for next weekend's  New England Division III Championship in the 400 meter hurdles, and freshman Stephen Spranzo (Colchester) earned all-NEA recognition in the 3000 meter steeplechase. Pyne was third in the LEC and fourth in the NEA, Pates third and fourth, respectively, D'Elia seventh in the NEA, and Spranzo sixth in the NEA.

Pates (100, 200 and 400), Ricketts (100), Spranzo (3000 SC), Springer (long jump) and D'Elia (400 hurdles) will compete in this weekend's New England Division III Champiosnhip at Springfield College, as well the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays.

 

 

 

 

SOFTBALL EXITS LITTLE EAST TOURNAMENT

Top-seeded RIC  scores four unearned runs in sixth to eliminate Warriors

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Priscilla Alicea (below)

alicea head 72_8298.jpgPROVIDENCE, R.I. - For the second straight game, third-seeded Eastern Connecticut State LEClogo-1 WEB.jpgUniversity's opponent scored all four of its runs in one inning as the Warriors were eliminated from the 2009 Little East Conference softball tournament in a 4-2 loss to top-seeded Rhode Island College Friday morning at Dayna A. Bazar Softball Complex on the Rhode Island College campus.

A loser of five of its last eight games, Eastern (25-11) awaits a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament when invitations are extended Monday. Three-time defending champion Rhode Island (38-4) was scheduled to play a winners' bracket game Friday at 4:30 p.m. against fourth-seeded Western Connecticut State University. Western scored all four of its runs in the third inning of its 4-3 win over Eastern in Thursday's opening game.

As it did against Western, Eastern watched a 1-0 lead disappear against Rhode Island College. The Anchorwomen, who edged Eastern by scores of 2-1 and 6-4 this past Saturday, scored four unearned runs in the sixth inning Friday on three hits, a walk and infield error. Number 9 hitter Donielle Mattoon drove in the first run witih a two-out single and three runs scored on a bases-loaded single to center by leadoff hitter Amanda Perry.

Eastern freshman leadoff hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) recorded two of Eastern's six hits against complete-game winner Amanda Berard (13-3). Alicea improved her team-high batting average to .432 by doubling and scoring in the fourth to give Eastern a 1-0 lead, and hitting a leadoff home run in the sixth -- her first collegiate home run -- to pull Eastern to within 4-2. Eastern threatened for more runs in the sixth on base knocks by sophomore Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) and freshman pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron), but a double play started by Mattoon at short helped Berard escape. A two-out walk in the seventh brought the tying run to the plate, but Berard got an infield pop to Mattoon to end the game.

Rathbun (16-5) gave up seven hits while fanning eight and walking three. Through the first five innings, she limited the Anchorwomen to four hits and struck out six. Rathbun's seventh strikeout of the game made her only the second pitcher in program history to strike out as many as 200 batters in a season. Until Friday, only All-America Kim Durocher had fanned 200 in a season. She struck out 245 as a sophomore in 1986 in leading the Warriors to their fourth  national championship in six years.

In two Little East Conference tournament losses, Eastern collected only one less hit than its opponents and Rathbun allowed only three earned runs and 14 hits (12 singles) for a 1.50 ERA in 14 innings. She struck out 14 and walked seven. Alicea had four of Eastern's 13 tournament hits and scored three of its five runs. Three Eastern errors, however,  led to five unearned runs by Western and Rhode Island.

In the team's three losses to Rhode Island this year, Rathun was 0-2 with a 0.45 ERA, 21 strikeouts and six walks. Alicea was 6-for-9 in those three games with two doubles and a home run and two stolen bases. Dinihanian and junior Kim Church (Farmington) each had three hits and senior Rachel Denny (East Haddam) drove in three runs.

Rhode Island College 4, Eastern Conn. 2

Rhode Island (38-4)           000 004 0 --   4   7   1
Eastern Conn. (25-11)       000 101 0 --   2   6   1

Amanda Berard (13-3) and Kayla Jandreau. Molly Rathbun (16-5) and Nikki Mustin. 2B-Michelle Perrin (R), Priscilla Alicea (E); HR-Alicea (1) (E).