Region Preview: Mid-Atlantic

Rowan was the only team in the Mid-Atlantic Region
that received first place votes in the Top 25.

Rowan athletics photo

by Jim Dixon

There were a lot of changes in the Mid-Atlantic Region. After a couple years missing out on the D-III World Series, two teams from the region, Misericordia and Swarthmore, both played in the Memorial Day weekend classic for the first time. The conference lineup this spring will also feature a new conference, the Atlantic East Conference. Half of the CSAC added Marymount and Wesley from the CAC to fill out the conference lineup. The AEC will be looking for a Pool B bid when the regular season is completed in May. The CSAC added Valley Forge and Wilson for a six team conference. St. Elizabeth will join the CSAC in 2020, enabling the conference to maintain the minimum number of members for an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs.

Almost a fifth of the teams playing in the region will be under new management. Ten new head coaches will start the 2019 season with a couple seeing their job move from part time to full time. The list of new head coaches comes from the ranks of alumni and top assistants.

Look for the top teams in the region to be eyeing a spot in the World Series that opens a new chapter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Swarthmore and Misericordia are keen on making it two trips in a row to prove their 2018 seasons were not flukes but the favorite for a regional win comes out of the NJAC. Rowan entered the 2018 Regonal as the top seed and should be right back for a second straight year. Add Keystone to the mix and a rejuvenated TCNJ and you have the best of the region. Keep an eye on Arcadia, Catholic, Hood, and Ramapo. All four won 30+ games in 2018 and could be back over the 30 win line in 2019.

New Faces

Frank DiFilippo, Lancaster Bible: DiFilippo was named interim head coach for the 2018-19 academic year. DiFilippo has served as the Chargers' main assistant coach for the past five seasons, and takes over for TJ Horn, who led the Chargers over the past six years. In addition to his coaching resume at Lancaster Bible, DiFilippo was also a standout player for the Chargers, as he played from 2010-2013. During that time, the Chargers won the NCCAA East Region twice, and DiFilippo was named to the NCCAA East Region First Team four times. He was also named NCCAA East Region Player of the Year during the 2011 season, and was a NEAC All-Conference First Team selection in 2012. "I'm excited about the amount of student-athletes we have been able to add over the past few seasons, and make the program grow," DiFilippo said.

Jonas Fester starts a new branch off the Bob Babb
coaching tree with his selcetionas the new head
coach for the Lebanon Valley Dutchmen.

Johns Hopkins athletics photo

Jonas Fester, Lebanon Valley: Fester most recently served as the associate head coach at Division III powerhouse Johns Hopkins. From 2008 to 2010, he served as an assistant coach before returning to the program in a more prominent role in 2012. He becomes LVC's 33rd head coach in the program's 125-year history. In addition to his time at JHU, Fester was also the head coach for the Baltimore Redbirds Youth program from 2015 to 2017. There, he oversaw their development as both players and young men. Today, he continues to assist them in placement in college baseball programs.

John Fugett, Drew: Fugett comes to the Forest after serving as a full-time assistant coach, pitching coach, and recruiting coordinator at Lehigh. over the last seven years. A former D-I student-athlete at Lafayette, he becomes just the 14th head coach in the 88-year history of Drew baseball and only the third since 1984. "I am very excited to join the Drew University baseball program," said Fugett. The first full-time assistant baseball coach ever at Lehigh, Fugett helped guide the Mountain Hawks to a five consecutive 20-win seasons from 2014-18.

Kevin Gryboski, Wilkes: Gryboski becomes the 16th coach in the 73-season history of the Colonels, but is the first named to the department in a full-time role. "Since retiring from the MLB, my passion has been coaching. I have spent the last few years coaching high school, AAU, and professional baseball in the Pittsburgh area. When the Wilkes head coach position became available, I knew I wanted to come back," Gryboski said. Gryboski, a graduate with the class of 1995, became a household name to Colonels fans during his playing career. He was twice drafted, first in the 16th round of the 1994 Major League Baseball amateur entry draft by the Cincinnati Reds, ultimately returning to Artillery Park for his senior season, following which he was drafted again in the 16th round of the 1995 draft by the Seattle Mariners.

Kevin Kelley, Rutgers-Newark: Kelley, who spent the last eight years at UMass Boston, will take over the Scarlet Raider program. "I am very fortunate and excited to have the opportunity to be the next head baseball coach at Rutgers University-Newark," said Kelley. A 2005 graduate of Suffolk, Kelley joined the UMass Boston staff in 2009 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2014. While at UMass, Kelley played a major role in the development of Beacons' baseball into a regional and national power.

Dave Lober, Stockton: Stockton selected Lorber as its first full-time head baseball coach. Lorber brings 10 years of experience as an assistant coach at the college level. "My goal is to impact the lives of our Stockton University student-athletes and give them a tremendous experience that will allow them to succeed not only on the baseball field but in life as well," Lorber said. Lorber spent the last six years as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at George Washington University, where his responsibilities included working with the infielders, team defense and hitting in addition to coordinating the recruiting efforts for the NCAA Division I program.

John Love, Delaware Valley: Love replaces Bob Altieri, who retired after 19 years as head coach. “I am honored for the opportunity to lead the baseball program at Delaware Valley University,” Love said. “I am looking forward to meeting the players, connecting with the alumni and continuing the proud tradition of Aggie baseball.” Love has been coaching since his graduation from Juniata in 2011. He began his career as an assistant at Hiram and moved onto Central College in Iowa.

Grant Neary, McDaniel: Neary takes over as just the 15th coach in the history of Green Terror program and just the fourth since 1963. "Being named the head baseball coach at McDaniel College is a tremendous honor and I can't wait to get started," Neary said. "We are going to recruit tremendous student-athletes, teach and develop their skills and create an environment where success in all facets of their lives is the standard." He has spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

FDU-Florham head coach Jamie Quinn has been
with the Orleans Firebirds of the
Cape Cod Baseball
League for each of the last three
FDU-Florham athletics photo

Jamie Quinn, FDU-Florham: Quinn joins the Devils after serving as the recruiting coordinator and the 17-under development coach at ZONED Baseball Academy since September 2015. Quinn was tasked with leading the recruiting process and college placement for five high school aged teams, while also coordinating the Team Camp Days and Recruiting Showcases. "It's an honor and privilege to be named the Head Baseball Coach at FDU-Florham!" exclaimed Quinn. "I am eager to build the Devils baseball program into a MAC championship contender, while developing high character student-athletes who will be positive influences on society."

Scott Renauro, Eastern: Eastern welcomed back one of its own to lead its baseball program. When Renauro graduated in 2012, he held program career records for hits, runs, home runs, doubles, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and RBI's. In 2010, he put together an impressive .415/.523/.689 slash line. After graduation, he continued in baseball first as an assistant coach at Swarthmore and then as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Washington College.

Games to Watch in 2019

Keystone vs No. 6 Rowan (March 15): Keystone and Rowan meet for the first time since the Profs swept a doubleheader in 2011 from the Giants.

No. 11 Misericodia at Arcadia (March 26): Cougars and Knights tangle in a key regional contest.

No. 6 Rowan vs No. 23 TCNJ (April 19) and Ramapo (April 20): The NJAC regular season champion could be decided this weekend when Rowan hosts the two teams favored to challenge them for the regular season title.

No. 7 Swarthmore vs Johns Hopkins (April 23, 26): Upstart Swarthmore and the perennial CC champion meet in a mid week home-home series.

Conference Previews

Atlantic East Conference: Gwynedd Mercy (21-14) will welcome a different environment in 2019 and no longer will they have to contend with Keystone for a conference title. The Griffins have put together winning seasons for 16 of the last 18 seasons and the fewest losses since their last 30 win season in 2007. They saw their two best batters graduate but seniors Ryan Keen (.349, 15 2B, 25 RBI) and Dave Tatoian (.347, 34R, 7 HR, 28 RBI) will be part of a lineup that won at a .600 clip. Liam Sullivan (3-0, 0.89 ERA) and Tatoian (1-1, 3 SV, 2.92 ERA) will come out of the bullpen in support of a pitching staff led by Gino Tripodi (3-2, 4.37 ERA) and Bryan Kaelin (3-3, 6.98 ERA).

Neumann (20-23) and Cabrini (20-19) will also be looking to take the AEC regular season title as both are favored for a spot in the AEC postseason tournament. Senior John Lindeborn (.352, 14 2B, 36 RBI) and sophomore Mack McKisson (.417, 13 2B, 23 RBI) led the team in batting as they represented Cabrini on the All-CSAC team in 2018. A pair of seniors, John Schoelkopf (.436, 32 R, 17 RBI) and Grant Wallace (5-1, 3.20 ERA, 2 CG), were First-Team All-CSAC selections at the end of the season with second team picks, junior Dan Padilla (.321, 18 RBI) and sophomore Zach Ray (.285, 24 RBI) are part of the youth movement for the Knights.

Marywood's Jake Schuster was named to the Preseason All-American Team.

Marywood athletics photo by Carey Action Photography

Immaculata (14-18) and Marywood (16-18) will vie for the fourth playoff spot. The Might Mac will be looking to show that 2018 was an anomaly and the Pacers would be looking for their first winning season since 2015. Marywood's Jake Schuster (.481, 20 2B, 5 HR, 34 RBI) was named to the Preseason All-American team, earning the First-Team first baseman honor.

Coming over from the CAC to the AEC are Marymount (13-23) and Wesley (10-23), both finishing at the bottom of the CAC standings along with St. Mary"s (Maryland). Both teams will not miss having to play national powers Salisbury and Christopher Newport in their conference slate and a new conference could be just the spark needed for a shot at the postseason.

Favorite: Gwynedd Mercy

Colonial States Athletic Conference: No. 15 Keystone (36-12) is the CSAC favorite with as many wins in 2018 than the rest of the 2019 conference lineup combined. The road is clearer as the teams that most recently challenged the Giants have moved to a new conference.  The goal for the Giants are not just a 12th straight playoff bid but the first title given out in Cedar Rapids, in the first year of the Super-Regionals format. To get there, they will be led by Dakota McFadden (.349, 53 RBI, 6-3, 2.75 ERA), a dominant force on the mound and at the plate. fellow senior, Mohammed Hussein (.386, 16 2B, 24 RBI), also provide the punch to get head coach Jamie Shevchik the 26 wins he needs to over the 600 win mark.

Cairn (20-16) is the only other conference member that turned in a winning record in 2018. The 20 wins was a program record as the Highlanders narrowly missed the CSAC tournament. The path will be a bit easier than in the past as Cairn is the sole challenger to Keystone for conference supremacy. Cairn placed five returning players on the 2018 All-CSAC teams. Emilio Alvarez (.303, 22 RBI), Brian Amantia (.308, 5 HR, 21 RBI), Sam Dralle (4-2, 2 SV, 3.05 ERA), Brett Marks (.280, 24 RBI), and Daniel Morales (.358, 11 2B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 2-2, 2 SV, 1.78 ERA) are all ready for a successful 2019.

Centenary (9-21), Valley Forge (7-23), Clarks Summit (0-29) and Wilson (first year) will be in competition to the two CSAC tourney spots that are not claimed by Keystone or Cairn. John Poss has had a year to prepare for Wilson's inaugural season and could very well start their association with the CSAC with a tournament berth. The CSAC will welcome Saint Elizabeth in 2020, keeping their automatic bid.

Favorite: Keystone

Swarthmore junior Cole Beeker accounted for 117
runs in 2018 (scored 52 runs and drove in 65).

Swarthmore athletics photo

Centennial Conference: The CC has been for many years the path for Johns Hopkins to the regional playoffs but an upstart, No. 7 Swarthmore (38-11), took the conference for a number of firsts: first conference title, first NCAA playoff berth, first appearance in the D-III World Series. Only three seniors graduated from the 2018 team as several key pieces from last season return. Third-Team All-American senior starting pitcher Ricky Conti (12-3, 2.60 ERA, 2 CG) will resume pitching ace duties on a staff that finished the 2018 season with a 3.86 ERA. Seniors Jackson Roberts (.399, 10 HR, 48 RBI) and Charles Levitt (.344, 53 R, 41 RBI) will be joined on offense with junior Cole Beeker (.361, 52 R, 65 RBI). Swarthmore will play Johns Hopkins in late April for what could decide the winner of the regular season schedule and the right to host the CC tournament.

Johns Hopkins (29-14) received votes in the 2019 preseason Top 25 and like Swarthmore will be looking for more than a conference title. The Blue Jays' head coach expects his team to be dynamic offensively and good defensively, improving on their .955 fielding percentage (165th overall in D-III) in 2018). Gone is All-Region catcher Alex Darwiche to graduation. Competition for the catcher spot will include freshman catcher AJ King (.589 BA, 25 RBI in high school) and a trio of upperclassmen led by Bradley Martin (.429, 10 RBI in 14 games) and Mike Ainsworth (.160, 1.000 FLD% in 11 games). Seniors Sean McCracken (6-2, 3.76 ERA) and Preston Betz (5-0, 3.42 ERA) will anchor the pitching staff with help in the form of couple senior pitchers coming back from injuries last spring.

Pitching and defense got Muhlenberg (19-20) a third place finish and 2019 will be the same where keeping runs off the board will be key to the Mules success. Muhlenberg will welcome back their three best pitchers, senior RJ Hennessey (5-4, 2.67 ERA), junior Matthew D'Ambrosia (5-3, 3 SV, 3.34 ERA), and sophomore Truman Devitt (1-2, 1 SV, 3.43 ERA). To add runs on the offensive side of the game, Muhlenberg will bring back the heart of the batting order with senior Chris Grillo (.299, 5 3B, 18 RBI) and junior John Serruto (.314, 14 RBI) highlighting the line-up.

Franklin and Marshall (19-18-2) beat out Haverford (17-19) for the final conference tournament spot. The Diplomats will have summer baseball All-Star Jack Buckley (5-1, 3.47 ERA, 2 CG) anchoring the rotation, along with Jonathan Cole (3-4, 3.91 ERA) and the reigning Centennial Player of the Year, Dan Marano (.411, 5 HR, 43 RBI), to lead the offense. Haverford will rely on an experience squad to get back to the conference tournament. Tops among the returning starters are senior centerfielder Ethan Lee Tyson (.379, 27 RBI, 16 SB) and sophomore starting pitcher Ryan Giovenco (4-1, 4.89 ERA).

Washington College (24-16) will bring a young team into the 2019 season as they build upon a team that won the third most games in school history. Senior second baseman and team captain Luke D'Ostilio (.356, 22 RBI) will be relied on for the leadership of an up and coming team. Gettysburg (13-23), Ursinus (10-22-1), Dickinson (8-26) and McDaniel (11-19) finished the 2018 season at the wrong end of the conference standings. The Bullets return a pair of junior middle fielders who should anchor the offense for the next two years in shortstop Joe Giovinco (.349, 1 HR, 17 RBI) and second baseman Ryan LaCoe (.339, 1 HR, 19 RBI).

Favorite: Swarthmore

Landmark Conference: Five teams have represented the Landmark in the NCAA playoffs in the history of the conference with Catholic (31-15) earning the most tournament titles (five) and only Moravian make the trip in consecutive years. Catholic will need contributions on both offense and pitching to buck this trend of parity in the Landmark. At the plate, seniors Ryan Tracy (.354, 9 2B, 26 RBI) and Bailey Lewis (.359, 7 HR, 31 RBI) will be the go-to-guys. On the mound is two-time First Team All-Landmark and MLB prospect, senior Jon Mierzwa (4-1, 1 SV, 3.12 ERA, 81 K). If the starting staff falters, Collin Brown (3-2, 4 SV, 3.09 ERA) and Jack Ropelewski (7-1, 1 SV, 3.18) will be ready in the bullpen.

Junior Derek Manning earned Player of the Year
honors in the Landmark last season.

Elizabethtown athletics photo

Elizabethtown's (21-19) lineup features the defending Landmark Player of the Year in junior Derek Manning (.457, 22 2B, 35 RBI). The 2019 Preseason All-American will have senior Anthony Knight (.352, 14 RBI, .988 FLD%) to help carry the offense in 2019. Braden Stinar (6-1, 3 CG, 5.49 ERA) will inherit the ace duties as starter Anthony Lippy earned his degree after the 2018 season. Scranton (22-21) will want to join the list of teams with a Landmark title, finishing second in the postseason a record four times. The Tommy Trotter era is over as the Royals lost a lot of front line talent to graduation. The sole returning played from the 2018 Landmark honor roll is senior starting pitcher Pat Rohr (4-1, 4.26 ERA).

Moravian (18-22) and Susquehanna (17-23) finished tied at 9-9 in the conference standings with the Greyhounds surviving a late charge by the River Hawks, edging Susquehanna to earn the final conference tournament bid. Moravian will have reigning Pitcher of the Year to take the mound. Rhett Jacoby (5-3, 2 SV) was the model of consistency for the Greyhounds this season as the hurler posted a league-best 2.48 earned run average. The River Hawks are expected to improve their position in the conference standings with a wealth of talent back in Nick Berger (.336, 23 RBI), Will Carey (2-1, 2 SV, 2.13 ERA), and Bobby Grigas (4-4, 1 SV, 52K, 3.10 ERA).

Drew (17-22), Juniata (11-26) finished 2018 in the Landmark cellar. Drew will hope that their new head coach will have them moving up the standings. Juniata brings back 2018 Rookie of the Year Issac Maclay (.344, 8 HR, 27 RBI). The freshman designated hitter's eight homers tied for the sixth most in a single season in Juniata history.

Favorite: Catholic

Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth: Arcadia (31-16) took the MAC Commonwealth title for the second straight year in 2018 and could see their recent success continue as they open their season against Elizabetown. The Knights are receiving votes in both national polls and their chances to break into the Top 25 will start with the play of reigning Player of the Year and Preseason All-American Bryan Gillen (.415, 24 SB, 36 RBI). Joining Gillen patrolling the outfield will be Sean Carew (.382, 6 HR, 52 RBI). Two-way player Phil Pierfy (.394, 5 HR, 44 RBI, 1-1, 5.14 ERA) will add some punch with his bat and on the mound.

Alvernia's (28-15) two MACC title came in the last six years with two second place finished in the same time frame. The long term future looks bright with 2018 MACC Rookie of the Year, starting pitcher Sean Esch (4-2, 4.34 ERA, 2 CG), with three more years of eligibility. All-MACC catcher Alex Salesky (.283, 15 RBI) will be behind the plate with senior Nathan Sides (.325, 14 2B, 29 RBI) at the shortstop position.

Hood (32-11) and Widener (21-19) both made the end of the season tournament with Hood making it to the title game. The Blazers set a program record for wins in 2018 as they opened the season 18-1, including fourteen straight wins to open the season. A team that feeds on a gritty positive culture will be led by two-way player Jordan Patterson (.286, 22 RBI, 5-0, 4.40 ERA). The continuing success of seniors Nate Luscombe (8-2, 4.14 ERA), and Nathan Kessler (.324, 31 RBI, 16 SB) in 2019 could raise the bar for 2019.

The bottom half of the conference standings include Messiah (17-21), Stevenson (20-20), Lebanon Valley (10-24), and Albright (11-22). Albright's Kelchner Field received an improved look but the starting lineup for the Lions will be mostly intact. Jeff Yordy (.320, 22 RBI) and Logan Adams (.321, 10 RBI) will swing the bats and Daron Pijanowski (1-2, 5.76 ERA) is back on the mound for his senior year.

Favorite: Arcadia

Ian McCole earned a spot on the
All-Tournament team for his accomplishments in the
2018 D-III World Series. photo by Steve Frommell.

Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom: No. 11 Misericordia (37-15) made the most of their season in 2018. They won their first regional crown in 2018 and finished 1-2 in the final D-III World series held in Appleton, Wisc. Pitching in 2019 will be a strength as All-MACF pitchers, Drake Koch (7-1, 1 SV, 1.14 ERA), Ian McCole (8-1, 3.34 ERA), and Kyle Melahn (4-3, 8 SV, 3.44 ERA) are back. The offense will be equally strong with five All-Conference performers back this season on a team that batted .297 on the season. The Cougars will get an early test as they open their season at No. 25 Shenandoah.

DeSales (29-15) were the regular season champions in 2018 but finished second to Misericordia in the tournament title game. in 2019 they will be young and talented but will need for the pitching to catch up with the offense. 2018 MACF Rookie of the Year, Ian Kacergis (5-4, 3.14 ERA) is the lone returner on the mound as a senior heavy rotation turned over. Charlie Barebo (.356, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 19 SB), the 2018 MACF Player of the Year will be joined by fellow seniors Preston Amato (.331, 21 RBI, 11 SB) and Aaron Fritz (.272, 4 HR, 17 RBI).

Wilkes (16-17) and King's (21-16) finished third and fourth in 2018. Wilkes' cleanup hitter Nick Capozzi (.340, 3 HR, 22 RBI) and lead off batter Michael Patrizio (.341, 16 RBI) will be back in the middle of the lineup with Matt Reinert (.370, 21 RBI). Returning for the Colonels on the mound are Matt Amarai (5-3, 5.57 ERA) and Jeremy Worlinsky (2-3, 4.53 ERA), who had half the 34 starts in 2018. Christian Pack (.365, 30 RBI) and Dan Hartson (.359, 10 RBI) are the top players back for King's.

Manhattanville (16-18-1), Eastern (14-21), Delaware Valley (11-23), and FDU-Florham (10-27) finished 2018 outside the postseason conference tournament. Luke Scoggins (.443, 32 RBI, 17 SB), Matt Lynch (.355, 18 RBI), and Peter Iannarilli (.333, 39 RBI) for the core of a solid offense with Manhattanville but it is the question marks on the pitching staff that will determine how far they go in 2019. Manhattanville head coach Jeff Caulfield is four wins away his 300th win and it likely will come on the road as the Valiants open their season with nine straight road games.

Favorite: Misericordia

Toby Welk needs 29 hits to reach 200 for his
career at Penn State Berks.

Penn State Berks athletics photo

North Eastern Athletic Conference: Penn State-Berks (25-12) will be going for a fourth straight conference title in 2019. Their chances will be strengthen with the final season of All-American Toby Welk (.493, 52 R, 13 HR, 57 RBI). A favorite to take Player of the Year honors for the third year will be joined in the infield by Dante Salerno (.447, 17 RBI) and Brandon Griesemer (.330, 35 RBI) with only Pearce Harhigh not back in the Nittany Lions' infield. The Nittany Lions will miss Tyler Comport, the 2018 NEAC Pitcher of the Year but a pair of right-handers will toe the rubber for Berks in 2019 - Sean Pavlik (5-2, 2.86 ERA) and Jameson Glass (4-2, 2.89 ERA).

Penn College (20-15) made it to the championship game in the last two years but could not get past Penn State-Berks. While Berks dominated the All-NEAC First Team, only catcher Brittan Kittle (.353, 33 RBI) made it for Wildcats. Fellow juniors Ben Flicker (.353, 25 RBI) and Cody Cline (.381, 27 RBI) will join Kille swinging a bat. Devon Sanders (5-0, 4.26 ERA) finished the 2018 season tied for second in the number of wins as he becomes the ace for Penn College.

Penn State-Abington (25-13) found a player they might get them to the NCAA playoffs and 2019 Preseason All-American Ryan McCarty (.433 49 R, 47 RBI, 5-4, 3 CG, 3.92 ERA) could just be that player. McCarty exploded on the scene sweeping conference, regional and national Rookie of the Year awards. The youth movement in Abington was not just answered by McCarty, Stevie Stevenson (.327, 37 RBI, 26 SB) finished his sophomore year as a First-Team ALL-NEAC selection. The success for the Nittany Lions comes from another newcomer, head coach Josh Copskey who guided the team to a school record for wins in 2018.

Keuka (19-17), Lancaster Bible (19-14), SUNY Poly (12-18) rounded out the NEAC post season tournament field. Will Welsh (.444, 45 RBI) and Sam Taylor (.444, 32 RBI) are back in the fold for Lancaster Bible after being honored by the NEAC for their 2018 performance. Dan Bamann (.352, 23 RBI) will be back in a Keuka uniform.

Gallaudet (9-29-1), Wells (15-20), Cazenovia (10-21), and SUNY-Cobleskill (3-28) stayed home when the NEAC tournament was played and none of these four teams have not been able to put together a season that would contend for the conference title, let alone a playoff spot. The best player in this quartet returning in 2019 is Gallaudet utility player, Cameron Upton (.426, 41 RBI, 15 SB).

Favorite: Penn State Berks

Danny Borup put forth a breakout junior campaign
for TCNJ that culminated in All-Region honors.

TCNJ athletics photo

New Jersey Athletic Conference: Four of the NJAC teams received votes in the 2019 Preseason Top 25. Topping the NJAC quartet was No. 6 Rowan (35-11). The Profs finished 2-2 in the Mid-Atlantic Region falling a game short of the finale. A return to the NCAA playoffs is expected for Rowan. Key to their return will be D3baseball Preseason All-American Danny Serreino (7-2, 1.25 ERA, 89 K). He will be joined by Andrew DiPiazza, (7-1, 1.49 ERA, 78 k) and Drew Ryback (8-1, 2.83 ERA) forming the best rotation in the region and possibly the nation. Rowan's strength will not be just in the pitching staff but with the bat as well. Seniors Dillon Mendal (.376, 15 2B, 40 RBI, 9 SB) and Anthony Harrold (.373, 5 HR, 39 RBI) will be part of an offense that will provide plenty of support for the pitchers.

Ramapo (35-15) earned nine more wins in 2018 compared to 2017 and recognition of their potential is reflected in the votes received in the Preseason Top 25. Strikeout king Cory Heitler should be showcasing his skills in his final year but MLB came calling. Interim head coach Travis Zilg had his team playing a team game and depite the lack of postseason awards, the Roadrunners will be a force in one of the best conferences in the nation.

No 23 TCNJ (29-11) dropped below the 30 win mark for the first time in three years and 2019 promises to be an interesting season. Senior Michael Fischer (4-4, 2.64, 58 K) takes on the ace duties with junior Michael Walley (3-1, 3.38 ERA) waiting in the wings. Junior outfielder Tom Persichetti (.368, 31 RBI, 18 SB) leads the offense with a trio of seniors, Danny Borup (.357, 19 RBI, 13 SB), Tommy McCarthy (.316, 30 RBI, 2018 NJAC POTY), and Ryan Fischer (.307, 3 HR, 22 RBI) providing additional punch in the lineup.

Rutgers-Camden (27-16) was the fourth NJAC team to gather votes in the preseason Top 25. The Scarlet Raptor surprised the conference teams but this will not be the case in 2019. Pitcher Ian Schneidermann (7-2, 1.69 ERA, 6 CG), the 2018 NJAC pitcher of the year, is back as is the NJAC Rookie of the Year, R.J. Concepcion (.311, 30 RBI). Schneidermann is in sight of many career records after his record year in 2018.

William Paterson (23-16) and Kean (21-23) made the NJAC tournament but were all off their Championship years. Montclair State (19-19), New Jersey City (21-18), Rutgers-Newark (12-23), and Stockton (6-23) finished outside the six team postseason tournament. Upgrades in the coaching situations will see the bottom of the NJAC make stides up the standings, making a top conference tougher. A trio of sophomores in 2018 made the top ALL-NJAC team: Matt Ferrara (.347, 26 RBI), William Paterson, Frank LoGiudice (.354, 22 RBI), Kean, and Garrhet Reedy (.375, 19 RBI), Stockton. They will need to find the same success if their teams are to challenge to top four.

Favorite: Rowan