SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) announced its 2018 Baseball All-Conference Teams and major award winners Friday morning. All nine CCC baseball schools had at least one representative on this year's All-CCC list. Salve Regina and Western New England each had 10 honorees to lead the group.
Two of the Golden Bears selections were also major award winners as Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) was named the 2018 CCC Player of the Year and Bob Hamel (Southwwick, Mass.) won Pitcher of the Year. This season was the first year that the league awarded a Defensive Player of the Year with Curry's Justin Cage (Glendora, Calif.) taking home the inaugural honor. Gordon right-hander Joe Pedulla (Monroe Township, N.J.) was selected as the Rookie of the Year and Wentworth's Tim Elrick (Plymouth, Mass.) was voted the Senior Scholar-Athlete. Two coaches were recognized as CCC Coach of the Year with WNE's Dan Gomez and Roger Williams' Jason Tower earning accolades. Endicott was the winner of the Team Sportsmanship award.
Voting for the All-CCC teams and each of the major awards was conducted by the conference's nine baseball head coaches following the conclusion of the regular season.
Four of the major award winners were also represented on the All-CCC First Team. Hamel and Pedulla were two of the three First Team starting pitchers with Cage serving as the First Team catcher. Loparco was the First Team shortstop. The third starting pitcher on the First Team was Curry's David Griffin (Hanover, Mass.). Joining Loparco in the infield were Salve Regina's Alex Perry (North Attleboro, Mass.), Endicott's Michael DeDonato (Chelmsford, Mass.), and WNE's Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.) from first to third. Three outfielders were picked on the All-CCC First Team. They were Nichols' Nick Roy (Middletown, Conn.), the Seahawks' Dylan Ketch (Clinton, Conn.), and the Golden Bears' Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.). Lacaire's teammate Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) was the First Team designated hitter, while two Endicott relievers, Alexander Mandrus (Acton, Mass.) and Will Bryant (Cumberland, Maine), also earned spots.
There were 15 players recognized as All-CCC Second Teamers. The starting pitchers were Sam Bennett (Andover, Mass.) from Roger Williams, Patrick Maybach (Saunderstown, R.I.) from Salve Regina, and Paul Wetmore (Hamden, Conn.) from Western New England with the Golden Bears' Sean Halligan (North Branford, Conn.) earning a spot out of the bullpen. Their battery mate on the Second Team was Hawks catcher Chris Bosco (North Andover, Mass.). The right side of the infield was filled with Bison as Kyle Bouchard (Fall River, Mass.) and Cam Cook (Phoenixville, Pa.) earned selections at first base and second base, respectively. Two third basemen were selected to the Second Team, including Salve's Colton Eremian (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Gordon's Daniel Quint (Wells, Maine). Quint's teammate Christian Hodge (Waltham, Mass.) was the Second Team shortstop. Wentworth's Elrick was one of the three Second Team outfielders with Salve freshman Michael DeFusco (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Western New England's Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) filling the other two positions. Zack Smith (New Canaan, Conn.) also represented the Seahawks at the DH position, while utility player Zachary Carmody (Babylon, N.Y.) gave Eastern Nazarene their lone All-CCC representative.
Five of the 14-member All-CCC Third Team were pitchers including starters Justin Garcia (Foxborough, Mass) from the Hawks, Will Ginsberg (Sharon, Mass.) from the Seahawks, Derek Hudson (Hudson, N.H.) from the Fighting Scots, and Jake Kawiecki (Burlington, Conn.) from the Golden Bears. Roger Williams reliever Matt Vernacatola (Berlin, Conn.) was also picked. Around the diamond were three more players from Salve Regina with Christian Vargas (Melbourne, Fla.) honored at catcher, John Militano (Miller Place, N.Y.) selected at second base, and his double-play partner Anthony Cieszko (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) chosen at shortstop. On the corners were WNE first baseman Zac Nussbaum (Bridgewater, Mass.) and RWU third baseman Shane Nowak (Litchfield, N.H.). Three Gulls patrolled the All-CCC Third Team outfield with Dan Cacciola (Saugus, Mass.), Michael Casciano (Somers, Conn.), and Brad Rebello (Bellingham, Mass.) all earning spots. The Leopard's Andrew Elliott (Rockland, Mass.) complete the list of All-CCC honorees as the Third Team DH.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Alex Loparco, Western New England
Loparco provided a spark from the second spark in the Western New England batting order. He batted .391 to lead the league and scored a league-best 43 runs. He currently sports the 17th best on base percentage in all of Division III. Once on base the trouble was just getting started for opposing defenses as Loparco showed off some speed swiping 17 bags to rank sixth in the CCC. Loparco also drove in 30 runs. In 38 games played, the Golden Bear junior was only held hitless eight times and had multiple hits in 13 contests, including three four-hit games.
|PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Bob Hamel, Western New England
Hamel currently holds the fifth-best ERA in Division III at 0.94. He split time as a starter and a reliever, pitching out of the bullpen during non-conference competition, while starting and winning four games in conference play. All four of his CCC wins were complete games. Hamel also had four saves out of the bullpen with three of them coming on WNE's spring break trip to Florida. He allowed one earned run or fewer in his nine appearances including a shutout against Gordon in CCC play.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Justin Cage, Curry
Cage was solid behind the plate for Curry this year making only a single error in 151 chances giving him a .993 fielding percentage. He was also helped keep the run game in check throwing out 50 percent of would be base stealers. He cut down 16 runners on the base paths ranking him third in the CCC in that category. In conference play, the 12 runners he caught stealing led the league.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Joe Pedulla, GordonPedulla was force on the mound for Gordon in his freshman campaign. He led the CCC in wins with six with three of those being complete game shutouts, which was also the most in the league. He posted a league-low 1.89 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .143 batting average. He had the sixth most strikeouts in the conference with 43. His five complete games rank him eighth in all of NCAA Division III in the category. He has the third fewest hits allowed per nine innings in the Division at 4.27 and the 16th best WHIP at 0.87. He allowed five hits or fewer in each of his eight appearances and struck out at least seven on three occasions. Pedulla earned two CCC weekly awards as he was named the Rookie of the Week for the week ending April 8 and the Pitcher of the Week for the week ending April 15.
Tim Elrick, Wentworth
Elrick, who was one of Wentworth's captains this year, is a prime example of what it means to be a student-athlete. The architecture major worked his way into the starting lineup at the start of his sophomore year and has solidified his spot in the lineup over the past three season, while maintaining at 3.6 GPA. He was a two-time CCC Academic All-Conference team member and involved with the Leopards Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). This year he was Wentworth's SAAC president. He is also involved in a number of clubs on campus, including the table tennis club, which he founded in his freshman year. He is a member of the Tau Sigma Delta, Tau Alpha Pi, and Chi Alpha Sigma honor societies. This year he was the recipient of the Wentworth Bowl, which is the highest honor given to a graduating senior.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Dan Gomez, Western New England
Gomez led Western New England to and 11-5 CCC record (26-13 overall) and the No. 3 seed in the CCC Baseball Tournament. This is Gomez's second CCC Coach of the Year honor in just his fifth season as WNE's head coach. The Golden Bears featured the most potent offense in the CCC leading the league in on base percentage (.421), slugging percentage (.418), runs (310), doubles (77), triples (10), home runs (17), runs batted in (279), and stolen bases (106). They also finished the regular season in the top-30 nationally in OBP (20th), runs (29th), and stolen bases (17th). On the defensive end, WNE led the league in shutouts (6) and ranked second in ERA (3.77) and opponents' batting average (.250). WNE was ranked eighth in New England in the latest NCAA Regional Rankings.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Jason Tower, Roger Williams
Tower, now in his third year on the bench for Roger Williams, earned his first CCC Coach of the Year honor after leading the Hawks to a strong turnaround season and the No. 2 seed in the CCC Baseball Tournament. Tower led his team to an 11-5 CCC mark (19-19 overall), which was an improvement on its 5-11 conference record last year. Amongst its 19 wins was a victory over nationally-ranked UMass Boston early in the season.
2018 ALL-CCC BASEBALL TEAMS
FIRST TEAM ALL-CCC
SP - David Griffin, Sr., Curry
SP - Bob Hamel, Jr., Western New England
SP - Joe Pedulla, Fr., Gordon
C - Justin Cage, Sr., Curry
1B - Alex Perry, Sr., Salve Regina
2B - Michael DeDonato, Sr., Endicott
3B - Jared Rosenblatt, Sr., Western New England
SS - Alex Loparco, Jr., Western New England
OF - Dylan Ketch, So., Salve Regina
OF - Erik Lacaire, Jr., Western New England
OF - Nick Roy, Sr., Nichols
DH - Joe Cassella, Jr., Western New England
RP - Alexander Mandrus, So., Endicott
Utility - Will Bryant, Jr., Endicott
SECOND TEAM ALL-CCC
SP - Sam Bennett, Sr., Roger Williams
SP - Patrick Maybach, So., Salve Regina
SP - Paul Wetmore, Jr., Western New England
C - Chris Bosco, Jr., Roger Williams
1B - Kyle Bouchard, So., Nichols
2B - Cam Cook, Sr., Nichols
3B - Colton Eremian, Sr., Salve Regina
3B - Daniel Quint, Jr., Gordon
SS - Christian Hodge, Jr., Gordon
OF - Michael DeFusco, Fr., Salve Regina
OF - Tim Elrick, Sr., Wentworth
OF - Ben LaCroix, Jr., Western New England
DH - Zack Smith, Jr., Salve Regina
RP - Sean Halligan, Jr., Western New England
Utility - Zachary Carmody, Jr., Eastern Nazarene
THIRD TEAM ALL-CCC
SP - Justin Garcia, So., Roger Williams
SP - Will Ginsberg, Jr., Salve Regina
SP - Derek Hudson, Jr., Gordon
SP - Jake Kawiecki, Sr., Western New England
C - Christian Vargas, Sr., Salve Regina
1B - Zac Nussbaum, So., Western New England
2B - John Militano, Sr., Salve Regina
3B - Shane Nowak, Sr., Roger Williams
SS - Anthony Cieszko, Fr., Salve Regina
OF - Dan Cacciola, Jr., Endicott
OF - Michael Casciano, Sr., Endicott
OF - Brad Rebello, Sr., Endicott
DH - Andrew Elliott, Jr., Wentworth
RP - Matt Vernacatola, Fr., Roger Williams
Player of the Year – Alex Loparco, Western New England
Pitcher of the Year – Bob Hamel, Western New England
Defensive Player of the Year - Justin Cage, Curry
Rookie of the Year – Joe Pedulla, Gordon
Senior Scholar-Athlete – Tim Elrick, Wentworth
Coach of the Year – Dan Gomez, Western New England
Coach of the Year – Jason Tower, Roger Williams
Team Sportsmanship – Endicott
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of ten full member and four associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.