NESCAC Summer Baseball Wrap-Up

The summer baseball season wrapped up a couple of weeks ago so forgive us for our tardiness. Back in mid-June we let you know where some NESCAC stars were playing. We officially close the 2014 baseball season with a look back at how some of those and other NESCAC stars managed this summer. And if you didn’t get out to a summer league game and you live in New England, consider yourself missing out. Between the CCBL, NECBL, and FCBL, New England has the best and most college baseball in the country.

Cape Cod Baseball League

Nick Cooney ’15, Wesleyan, Falmouth Commodores

Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics
Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics

The Cape Cod Baseball League is filled with Division One players and MLB draft picks, so it is hard for a NESCAC player to get consistent playing time, but Cooney managed to carve out a role on the Commodores. He started two games at the beginning of the year including a good six inning, two earned run performance against the Chatham A’s. After that he was converted to reliever and he finished the season with 19 innings pitched. Cooney struggled with his command yielding 11 walks, but he still managed a 4.26 ERA which is impressive given the competition.

Gavin Pittore ’16, Wesleyan, Harwich Mariners

Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics
Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics

The only other player who managed to get a healthy amount of playing time in the Cape League was Cooney’s teammate Pittore. The Harwich Mariners used Pittore in a long reliever role. He often threw multiple innings including on June 19 against the Chatham A’s when Pittore threw two scoreless innings and collected the win. His 6.09 ERA is greatly inflated by a later appearance against the A’s when Pittore allowed eight runs in one inning. Still Pittore had a great summer fulfilling a lifelong dream, including playing with one of his oldest friends.

A few others saw cups of coffee in the Cape League including Wesleyan teammates Guy Davidson ’16 and Donnie Cimino ’15. Bowdoin’s Henry Van Zant ’15 also pitched a few innings for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.

New England College Baseball League

Nick Miceli ’17, Wesleyan, Vermont Mountaineers

Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics
Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics

The NESCAC champion Cardinals had the most impressive assortment of players throughout the leagues, and Miceli was one of the few NESCAC players in the NECBL. Miceli caught on with the Mountaineers later in the summer making his first appearance on July 19. After allowing two runs in his first relief appearance, he threw 8.2 scoreless innings in his final three appearances. The Mountaineers had a good season making the NECBL playoffs before losing to Sanford in the semi-finals.


Tim Superko ’17, Tufts, New Bedford Red Sox

Courtesy of Tufts Athletics
Courtesy of Tufts Athletics

Superko had a tough summer as a starter. He started seven games, but averaged less than four innings per start while posting a 7.39 ERA. His biggest problem was that he was incapable of drawing consistent swings and misses garnering only 17 strikeouts. Superko’s control sometimes betrayed him as he let up 20 walks. One bright spot from the summer came in a start against Danbury.  Superko threw six scoreless innings before he took the hard luck loss when he allowed a run in the bottom of the seventh. While he did struggle this summer, Superko was also pitching in a very good league at a young age. He will be back even better next year.

Futures League

Mike Odenwaelder ’16, Amherst, Torrington Titans

Courtesy of Amherst Athletics
Courtesy of Amherst Athletics

Nobody in the NESCAC had a better summer than Odenwaelder. He absolutely crushed the ball. He posted a slashline of .370/.422/.586 on his way to winning batting title and MVP honors for the Futures League. He stole 20 bases while being caught only twice. He hit two two homers in one game and had no errors in the outfield all summer. The one thing Odenwaelder didn’t do was pitch for the Titans. Odenwaelder looks like he could somehow improve on his monster 2014 NESCAC season next year.


Nate Pajka ’15, Bates, Worcester Bravehearts

Courtesy of Bates Athletics
Courtesy of Bates Athletics

Pajka got off to a hot start before posting a line very similar to the one he did during the NESCAC season. Of course his .255 average this summer came against better competition than the average NESCAC pitcher. The most important thing was that Pajka got a ton of at bats (153) which should help him as he gets ready for next season. Most of Pajka’s 12 steals came in the first half of the season as his bat slowed down a little as the summer went along. Still a very successful summer for a player who will have to be a big part of the Bates offense in 2015.


Jack Roberts ’17 and Jack Cloud ’17, Williams, Martha’s Vineyard Sharks

Jack Roberts Courtesy of Williams Athletics
Jack Roberts
Courtesy of Williams Athletics
Jack Cloud Courtesy of Williams Athletics
Jack Cloud
Courtesy of Williams Athletics

Roberts spent the summer playing for his hometown team on the Vineyard and enjoyed a steady summer. He managed to get consistent at-bats, but only managed a .252 average with only five walks. After slumping down to .229, Roberts used three straight muli-hit games to get his average back up into the .250 range. Cloud saw his playing time dwindle as the summer went along making his last appearance on July 17, but he hit .260 for the summer as well as walking 11 times to have an OBP of .387.

Mekae Hyde ’15, Bates, Old Orchard Raging Tide

Courtesy of Bates Athletics
Courtesy of Bates Athletics

The positives for Hyde this summer is that he was the starting catcher and got a lot of at-bats and had a respectable .346 OBP. The negative is that his batting average was only .232. Still he can live with that because of the five home runs he also hit. Hyde had one of his best games August 3rd against the Dirt Dawgs when he went 3-4 with a homer and three RBIs. Hyde saw his power come in bunches as he hit three homers in seven games and then two in back to back games but none others.


Soren Hanson ’16, Colby, Martha’s Vineyard Sharks

Courtesy of Colby Athletics
Courtesy of Colby Athletics

It took a little bit of time for Hanson to get going, but once he did this summer, he turned into one of the best pitchers in the Futures League. Hanson started the season as a reliever before starting seven games in the second half of the season. He finished the season with a 2.07 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 52 innings. He also had three scoreless starts of six or more innings. Hanson had some troubles at the beginning of the NESCAC season in 2014 as well but finished the year strong and looks primed for a great 2015.


Andrew David ’16, Tufts, Brockton Rox

Courtesy of Tufts Athletics
Courtesy of Tufts Athletics

David threw the fifth most amount of innings in the Futures League, but he finished with a somewhat average 3.92 ERA. His success came from barely walking anyone as he allowed only four walks over the entire season. Teams did hit him pretty hard however as he allowed seven or more hits in each of his final five starts. David was somewhat of an afterthought for Tufts in 2014 because of all the talent in their staff. His summer performance shows a capable pitcher, but one who relies heavily on the defense behind him because he doesn’t strike too many batters out.

Rob DiFranco ’16, Bates, North Shore Navigators

Courtesy of Bates Athletics
Courtesy of Bates Athletics

This was an exceptional summer for the Bates reliever. He put up a miniscule 0.82 ERA  over 32.2 innings of relief. His K:BB ratio of 8.3:1 was exceptional, and DiFranco finished with eight saves for the Navigators. DiFranco was the best pitcher for the North Shore squad and flashed the ability to go more than one inning several times. With the loss of several starters, DiFranco might be pushed into starting duty next spring for Bates. If he is not a starter, then he will be a lethal weapon out of the bullpen.


Kyle Slinger ’15, Tufts, Worcester Bravehearts

Courtesy of Tufts Athletics
Courtesy of Tufts Athletics

This summer was pretty much a continuation of Slinger’s impressive NESCAC season but with a few more hiccups. Despite those, he finished the season with a 2.55 ERA over eight starts and had a good 6.2:1 K:BB ratio. His best start of the summer was an eight inning outing against the Torrington Titans when Slinger allowed only one run on two hits. The run came in the first inning and after that Slinger fired seven innings of perfect ball. His 0.92 WHIP shows his ERA was no lie, and the southpaw should have another great season in 2014.

Atlantic College Baseball League

Joe Jensen ’15, Hamilton, Trenton Generals

Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics
Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics

One of the few NESCAC players to play on a team outside of New England, Jensen spent the summer in New Jersey. He could not match the gaudy stats he put up in the NESCAC, but still hit for a .269 average and made the ACBL all-star game. His play also fell off somewhat as the season went along as he had .380 OBP at points of the summer before a late season slide. His 13 steals for the season were also below the ludicrous rate he puts up in the NESCAC, but was still the fifth best amount in the league.


A few more NESCAC players saw a little bit of time in the Futures League and beyond but we ran out of space to feature those guys. If we missed anyone important please leave it in the comments and we will make sure to remedy our mistakes.

That does it for us in 2014 for baseball coverage. Stay warm this fall and winter and be ready for when the NESCAC returns in the spring.

A Fan’s Perspective on the Beginning of the Kevin App Era

Editors Note: As most NESCAC men’s basketball fans (and all readers of our blog) already know, a mass exodus occurred from Williamstown, MA this offseason. Seniors Michael Mayer and Taylor Epley graduated after combining for 32.0 PPG and 11.9 RPG. On top of that loss,  NESCAC Rookie of the Year and Second-Teamer Duncan Robinson transferred to Michigan, and head coach Mike Maker stepped down after six years at the helm and three Final Fours in order to take a Division-I head coaching job at Marist. Stepping into Maker’s shoes is his former assistant Kevin App.

Coach App played college ball at Cornell University where he was named tri-captain during his senior season. He got his first coaching gig as an assistant to Maker in 2008-09, then returned to his alma mater for one season before spending the last four years as an assistant at the United States Military Academy under head coach Zach Spiker, who coached App for three seasons at Cornell. Of all his stops as a coach so far, Williams held a special place in his heart.

“”I really didn’t apply for the job simply because I wanted to be a head coach,” App said. “I really applied because ever since I was assistant there, it’s been my dream to be the head coach at Williams College. I didn’t know — or think — I would get the opportunity this early.”

And these aren’t just idle words. App met his wife, formerly Katelyn Brochu, at Williams in his one year there. So Williams fans have reason to hope that App will be in Williamstown for a good long time.

On the departure of Robinson, App has a positive outlook.

“Now, we can kind of focus on the guys that will be there and start planning accordingly knowing exactly who’s going to be there,” App said. “It just gives other guys opportunities to step into bigger roles, which I think some of them are excited about… Even the incoming guys could be stepping into an impactful role.”

App has already been on campus, meeting with returning players and running a camp just weeks after taking the job. He’s also made his excitement about his new home clear via Twitter.

The new coach has announced his first hire, Mick Hedgepeth. Hedgepeth is a former player at Belmont University who played overseas in Spain after graduation. App hopes to have his entire staff in place by the first of September.

Lastly, we wish a happy 29th birthday to Coach App, and the best of luck at Williams.

Courtesy of Williams College Athletics

This has been a tough offseason for the fans of the Williams College basketball team, losing both their coach and star player to the bright lights of Division One. In order to get a more direct perspective on this trying period in Williamstown, I turned to my close high school friend (and rising sophomore at Williams) David Burt, a precocious math major, passionate basketball fan and average Mario Kart player. Burt and I sat down to discuss these matters in his basement, over a rousing game of NBA 2K14.

Peter: Okay, I’m sitting here with David Burt, my friend who goes to Williams College-

David: Wait they’re listening to this whole thing? The interview is going on the blog?

P: No, no, I’m transcribing it later.

D: So why are you talking like that then?

P: I was just setting it up a little, getting in the zone…whatever, can we just get started here?

D: Fine, fine.

P: First of all, can I run you a bath, or get you a drink or something? I know this offseason must have been a trying time for you.

D: I definitely do not want a bath from you, no. Thanks though.

P: What are your thoughts on the Williams offseason?

D: There are obviously a lot of questions about next year, but I think it speaks to how strong the program has been in the last few years that our coach [Mike Maker] and Duncan are both going to D-1 schools.

P: That exposure should also help with recruiting in the future, as Williams is much higher profile now due to the Division One attention.

D: Yeah, I would assume so.

P: You mentioned Coach Maker in there, what are your thoughts on the new coach, Kevin App? He’s been kind of a man of mystery on this blog; we haven’t really done anything on him yet, although I understand he doesn’t have much head coaching experience.

D: He hasn’t ever been a head coach is my understanding, but he was at Williams as an assistant, so in some sense he’s coming back, and he’s been with a couple Division One programs as an assistant. Cornell and the US Military Academy, I believe. I think he [Coach App] is young, and will bring a lot of energy to the program, which again should be a good factor in recruiting. (Coughs loudly and obtrusively) Don’t worry, just choking on some popcorn.

P: We’ve got Smart Food down here, he requested it as compensation.

D: I think it was more of a demand than a request…

P: Anyway, the big story coming out of the Williams offseason was Duncan Robinson’s transfer to Michigan, and, honestly how do you think he’s going to do there? We haven’t had a lot of discussion about that yet, we’ve been more focusing on the effects it has on NESCAC, but it’s certainly exciting to imagine. Can he play with those D1 guys?

D: Clearly he was different, you could tell as soon as he stepped on the court at Williams that he was the best guy. It’s hard to say, but with the year off to develop, the future looks bright.

P: Yeah that’s one thing I was thinking as I was reading the article on Robinson, this year off could be the best thing for him. A year to practice against his seasoned D1 teammates, and get his quickness and defense up to that level will be huge for his development.

D: Definitely. Offensively I think most everyone who watched him last year can imagine him being a Division One level player.

P: He was definitely special.

D: Question. If I say “off the record,” will it actually be off the record?

P: Of course. If you say that, I won’t put it in the piece.

D: That’s cool, I like that.


P: Do you have something to say off the record?

D: Oh not at all, I was just wondering.

P: Okay, cool. It would be huge for NESCAC if Robinson did well there also, just for respect and exposure purposes. From watching NESCAC basketball the last couple of years, you have a basic knowledge of the rest of the league, so how do you think the league shakes out with these changes in Williamstown?

D: Amherst looks good-

P: Way to earn the Smart Food, stellar analysis there, Tim McCarver.

D: Let me finish. Williams is definitely a wild card, it would be hard to imagine a NESCAC season without them being in the mix at the end, but some things will definitely have to work out. Middlebury is also something of a wild card, they have a lot a talent and returning starters, but the inconsistency from last year has to get worked out. Tufts will also be in the mix. I think Amherst has to come in as the favorite, as much as I hate to say it. And I do HATE to say it.

P: More than anything. Yeah, I actually expect Tufts to be excellent this year, almost all of their key players are coming back. I could see them finishing first or second in the league, and certainly being above Williams and Middlebury in preseason rankings. I would still have to put Amherst at number one though, which is just terrible.

D: Sucks. Completely unbiased note here, Amherst is awful.

P: Well, those were David Burt’s illuminating comments. David just spilled a ton of Smart Food on the floor, so we’re going to go deal with that situation now. Thanks for reading.

Duncan Robinson Announces Transfer to Michigan

The announcement was made official on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. Duncan Robinson is leaving Williams to take a scholarship at Michigan. NESCAC fans everywhere, except for a certain corner of Massachusetts, had a little more pep in their step knowing their teams wouldn’t fall victim to Robinson’s devastating shooting over the next three years.

This was really an unprecedented offseason in NESCAC basketball because the two top underclassmen, Robinson and Matt Hart formerly of Hamilton, both transferred to Division 1 programs. Hart received a preferred walk-on spot at George Washington in the A-10 conference where he will have a chance to win a scholarship while sitting out a year because of NCAA transfer rules. Robinson’s transfer has received a lot more press nationally ( and have run stories) because he is receiving a guaranteed scholarship and Michigan is a much more high profile program. Writer Peter Lindholm covered some of the potential impact on the NESCAC 2014-2015 season, and we will have much more about the effect of those two leaving as we get closer to the winter.

How Robinson went from a lightly regarded high school senior to the NESCAC Rookie of the Year and subsequently a Big 10 recruit is a story of hard work and a different developmental curve. At this point it is pretty well documented how coming out of high school Robinson had offers from other schools but choose Williams early and stuck to that because none of those offers gave him nearly the combination of athletics and academics. His game, already underrated, kept getting better and better while playing for the Middlesex Magic and Phillips Exeter.He submitted one of the finest NESCAC freshman seasons ever last year. After Mike Maker left to take the head coaching job at Marist, Division 1 coaches knew they had one last chance to make right on their mistake of missing Robinson before.


We gave our take on how we see Robinson’s game as he leaves Williams over at so feel free to check it out here.  Robinson himself has said that he is still growing and definitely has a lot of muscle that can still be put on his lean frame. When news broke on Robinson possibly transferring we reached out to a couple of NESCAC players and coaches to get an idea on how they felt Robinson projected and the general level of play in the NESCAC. The responses we got back were remarkably similar in their assessment of Robinson. Both Bowdoin guard Lucas Hausman ’16 and assistant coach Brandon Linton noted Robinson’s high basketball IQ. Hausman added that “He was also a very smart player and he made very few mistakes. He knows how to space himself and use screens to get open shots even if the defense is focusing on him.” Everyone I talked to obviously touched on Robinson’s greatest strength as a player, his shooting ability. Linton put it simply after noting Robinson’s basketball IQ and shooting that “there is always room for players on any team with that skill set.” 

Their opinions of the jump that Robinson would face in moving from the NESCAC to the Big 10 centered primarily around the athleticism gap.  Colby point guard Luke Westman ’16 told us that “Division I players, for the most part are quicker, faster and stronger. Division III players may be just as skilled, but could lack the explosiveness of a Division I athlete.”  When we asked him exactly how the NESCAC level of play compares Westman said, “I think there are a few other NESCAC players that could play Division I basketball (primarily upperclassmen). I do not think any of them have the potential to be as good as Duncan though and achieve at a high level.” Hausman echoed this sentiment saying, “I think there are definitely some other players in the NESCAC that could be scholarship players at the D1 level (mostly Ivy or Patriot League), but have already used two or three years of eligibility”

At this point it is hard to project how Robinson will do at Michigan given the jump in competition, but merely the scholarship is a huge endorsement of the overall level of play in the NESCAC. Remember that Robinson was not even the best player on Williams at points last year. That would have been senior center Michael Mayer ’14 who caused NESCAC defense fits over the last few years. This isn’t an indictment of Robinson especially given the three year gap in college experience, but it shows how good some NESCAC players are.

Perhaps no player has seen Duncan Robinson grow quite like Wesleyan point guard Harry Rafferty ’17 has. They first played together way back in seventh grade, but they really became close friends when they played first together on Middlesex Magic and then at Exeter. Rafferty is very excited to see his friend take his game to a new higher level. Before he heard Robinson’s decision Rafferty told us, “if he leaves I think he will be great. He will continue to work hard and prove the doubters wrong. That’s just who he is. He loves being the underdog because he has been one his whole life.” He still thinks Duncan has a lot of room to grow as a player, and more importantly the desire and work ethic to achieve that level of play. “He is one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever met. He lives in the gym and takes a professionals approach to the game. Most importantly though, he is an absolutely GREAT person.” For Rafferty and others that have known Robinson for a while, there couldn’t have been a better person to have such a confluence of events happen to them.

Duncan Robinson and Harry Rafferty while at Exeter
Duncan Robinson and Harry Rafferty while at Exeter

We leave you with one final story from Rafferty about Robinson’s final game at Exeter in the NEPSAC Class A championship game. We wish Duncan Robinson the best of luck over the next four years at Michigan.

We were playing Choate in the championship game. It was a pretty anticipated match-up. Both teams were good. A lot of scholarship talent. We had guys going to Wisconsin, Stony Brook, and San Francisco. They had guys going to Columbia, Yale, St. Mikes so there were a lot of guys who were theoretically suppose to be better than this D3 guy going to Williams. On top of that Duncan had his worse shooting game of the season the first time we played Choate. So he had a lot of motivation. I’ll never forget, we got off the bus at Endicott, and as we walked into the gym he told me he was ready. You could tell he was locked in. He went out and dropped 24 points and 11 rebounds on 9-9 from the field and 5-5 from three. He dominated and did it in the most efficient way I had ever seen. A lot of high level college coaches were at Endicott that day and I think that’s when a lot of people started to realize how good he actually is.

One-on-One with Trinity’s James McCullagh ’18

Editors Note: We are really excited to have Sean Meekins, Trinity ’15, join us as a contributor as we continue to grow and add writers.

I was able to get a hold of James McCullagh ’18, an incoming big man to Trinity, from Chaminade, a prestigious high school on Long Island. James took time out of his day to talk with me on the phone about basketball and his transition to a new team, school, and environment.

Sean Meekins: James, I know you were a part of the team that won the Long Island championship in your junior season. Obviously that was a great memory, but what was your best memory of your senior season?

James McCullagh: One of my best memories was beating Holy Trinity at home by 25. That was one of the games where we played as a team and everyone contributed. They were one of the top teams in our league and it proved to others that we had what it takes to win.

SM: Did you play any other spots besides basketball?

JM: I was on the track team my freshman year. Then I played football, basketball, and volleyball my sophomore year, and basketball and volleyball my junior year. Senior year, I decided to focus solely on basketball because that is what I was planning on pursuing in college.

SM: What are you going to miss most about your high school basketball experience?

JM: The team camaraderie based on the bond that we formed throughout our high school career.

SM: What made you choose Trinity?

JM: I first heard about Trinity because of its academic reputation, so when Coach Cosgrove contacted me I was excited to visit campus. When I went on a campus tour and met the team I knew it would be a good fit both academically and athletically.

SM: What do you think the biggest transition will be from high school to college in terms of basketball?

JM: The physicality and the quick pace of every game. The games will be much more intense compared to the high school level.

SM: Are you excited to play for Coach Cosgrove?

JM: Yes, because he pushes you to get better in all aspects of the game. I believe his coaching style will be very effective for my type of play.

SM: Trinity had very successful season last year and really showed significant improvement. What do you think you can contribute to a team that is returning a good core of their players?

JM: I can learn a lot from the upperclassmen and can contribute a big body that can rebound and play solid defense. I am looking to help out the team in any way that I can.

SM: Have you met any of the other incoming freshmen? Do you think that you can form the same bond you shared with your high school team?

JM: I met Eric Gendron ’18 who I will be rooming with in the fall. We have common goals for the season and I hope during pre season workouts we lay the foundations for a successful four years on the court.

SM: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk. You seem excited for the upcoming season. Hope that workouts in the fall go well and that you guys can continue to show success this winter.