BENNINGTON, Vt. – The 2013 Southern Vermont College baseball team will be looking to raise some eyebrows after being selected to finish last in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) in a preseason poll voted on by coaches around the league.
First-year coach Dave Gage sees 17 players return to the Mountaineers from the 2012 squad which went 9-31 overall, 5-13 in the NECC. "This year, we expect to head the program in the right direction," said Gage. "Building a program can be a long ride, but this team has the full intention to start that journey. The head skipper adds assistant coach Robby Hisert to the staff for 2013.
Included in the group of returners is sophomore first baseman Cody LaBadia (Howes Caves, N.Y.) who earned an All-NECC Second Team selection after hitting .366 with 41 hits and 35 runs batted in during his first collegiate season. He carried a .589 slugging percentage and .952 fielding percentage for the Mountaineers. Senior captain and second baseman Dillon Desiderato (Burlington, Conn.) returns as a team leader to follow up a season in which he recorded a team-leading 51 hits with a .350 average and 29 RBIs.
Returners to the mound for SVC will include Dave Northup (Richmond, R.I.) and Max Ginter (Hamden, Conn.), both right-handed senior captains. Northup recorded the second-most strikeouts for the Mountaineers in 2012 (30), second to Connor Murray who expended his eligibility this past fall and now returns to the team staff as a pitching coach. Northup saw 16 appearances last season, 15 coming out of the pen for Southern Vermont. Ginter spent the most time of any Mountaineer on the rubber in the 2012 campaign, throwing 47.0 innings on seven starts and five appearances in relief. He recorded three wins on the season, tying graduated Greg Gilmore for the team-high. Senior captain Joel DeFedele (North Kingstown, R.I.) will act as the Mountaineer closer after making eight trips from the bullpen in 2012, striking out 16 batters in 36.2 innings of work.
12 new faces will put on SVC jerseys for Coach Gage, a group consistent of a strong core of freshman and transfers who he expects to make a noticeable impact this season.
Defending conference champion Daniel Webster College was picked to finish first with six of the seven first-place votes despite losing three 2012 All-NECC First Team members.
The Mountaineers take to the field for regular season action on March 13 for a doubleheader at Emerson College before embarking on their spring training trip to Fort Meyers, Fla. March 16-22. They begin the NECC schedule March 29 at Newbury College. Non-conference opponents include Norwich University in the home-opener (March 27), Salve Regina University (April 2), and Wesleyan University (April 24).
"We are going to be a very defensive-minded team," noted Gage. "We've put a lot of emphasis on defense this preseason. However, this is a group that's very capable of scoring many runs."
1. Daniel Webster - 47 (6)
2. Becker - 37
3. Newbury - 36 (1)
4. Mitchell - 25
5. Elms - 24
6. Lesley - 15
7. Southern Vermont - 12