SALEM, Mass. - Salem State fell short of advancing to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) championship in 2018. With a 22-19 overall record and 8-6 conference mark, good for a fourth place finish a year ago, third-year head coach Al Donovan is driven to push his squad back to the top spot in the conference this season.
Going into 2019, the Vikings were picked second behind defending champions Westfield State in the MASCAC Pre-Season Coaches Poll. Salem State will have to overcome the loss of two all-conference members in Mac Daniel Singleton (Everett, Mass.) and Joe White (Bellingham, Mass.). However, the strength of this year's team will be in its pitching. Led by Brock Riley (Lowell, Mass.), Stephen Keskinidis (Stoneham, Mass.), Andrew McLaughlin (Peabody, Mass.), Josh Bell (Uxbridge, Mass.), Dylan McCormick (South Kingstown, R.I.), Brian Smith (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.), and transfers Bryce Dawson (Post University) and Luke Brennan (Worcester State). The Vikings feature a deep and talented rotation. Riley, who spent time this past summer with the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod Baseball League, tied for second in wins in the MASCAC in 2018 with a 7-2 record and also tied for the league lead in saves with four. Keskinidis got off to a strong start last year, sporting a perfect 4-0 record with a 1.25 ERA, and 36 strikeouts in 36 innings before injuries slowed his progression. McLaughlin had a 4-4 record in eight starts, including 31 strikeouts in 49 inning pitched.
Behind the plate the team features the catching duo of Zach Duval (Middleton, Mass.) and Madoc Fisher (Wayne, NJ), who had a combined 49 starts a year ago and have effectively handled the pitching staff the past two seasons. Fisher hit .314 and along with outfielder Kyle O'Connor (Lynn, Mass.) - .338 average and 29 RBI (7th in the MASCAC) and centerfielder Shawn Rebello (Bellingham, Mass.), who had a .361 average in 19 starts, Salem State returns three of its top offensive players.
The infield will be led by two experienced players Brendan Greene (Winchester, Mass.) and Matthew Marquez (Salem, Mass.), who had 48 combined starts while the outfield will return Pat Fitzgerald (Auburn, Mass.) - .293 average a year ago. Newcomers Trav Briana (Lynn, Mass.), Mike Griffin (Hudson, N.H.), Luke Brennan (Worcester, Mass.) and Bryce Dawson (Exeter, N.H) will all be given a chance to make an impact this year.
"The team's goal is to compete at the highest level possible on every practice, game and class. Our goals every year is to win the MASCAC and have a team GPA of 3.00 or higher.
Wednesday, February 27 @ Endicott, 3:30 PM
2019 MASCAC Baseball Pre-Season Coaches Poll
(First Place Votes In Parentheses)
1. Westfield State (6) 47 points
2. Salem State (1) 38 points
T-3. Framingham State 32 points
T-3. Massachusetts Maritime 32 points
5. Fitchburg State 26 points
6. Worcester State (1) 21 points
7. MCLA 19 points
8. Bridgewater State 9 points