BUZZARDS BAY, Mass – In 2018, the Buccaneer baseball team finished 10-4 in the MASCAC, tied for first place in the regular season with Westfield State and 18-15 overall. In the playoffs, the Bucs were eliminated in two games with loses to Framingham State 10-1 and Salem State 6-4. Fourth year head Coach Mike Kelley and his staff are looking to repeat their conference success and improve their overall record in 2019. In three years under Coach Kelley, the Buccaneers are 54-47 overall and 26-16 in the MASCAC, finishing tied for first in the conference in 2018 and second in the conference in 2016.
The Buccaneers return 22 players for the 2019 season including senior captains outfielder Paul Sances (Middleboro, Mass), outfielder Robert Dembitzki (North Dartmouth, Mass), and catcher Robert Beane (Hingham, Mass). Also amongst the returners are sophomore pitchers Mason Ashburn (East Freetown, Mass) and John Teehan (Hyde Park, Mass). In 2018, Teehan, who was named MASCAC Rookie of the year, pitched in 12 games, made eight starts, threw four complete games while also recording three saves in 56.1 innings. He struck out 63 hitters, good for 10.07 strikeouts per nine innings, and led the team with a 2.40 ERA. Southpaw Ashburn made 10 appearances, nine of which were starts, posting a 4-3 record with two complete games in 50.1 innings pitched. He struck out 48 hitters and finished with a 3.58 ERA. The Bucs welcome 10 freshman and one sophomore, who did not play in 2018, to the squad, rounding the roster out at 33 players.
Though the Bucs return two thirds of their roster and add 11 others, with many of the newcomers expected to make an impact right away, they will be without their top five offensive producers from 2018, including catcher Logan Sullo and outfielders Connor Kennedy and Billy Keane. Kennedy and Keane not only produced offensively but they were considered by many to be two of the best outfielders in the conference. Kennedy and Sullo led the team in batting average at .316 and Sullo led the team with seven home runs and 27 RBI. Many of the 2019 Buccaneers will have to step up offensively to pick up the production including junior first baseman Jackson Simone (Seattle, Wash) who had the most at-bats for a non-senior in 2018 with 71; Simone batted .254 with two home runs and five RBI.
In terms of the team's schedule, the Buccaneers have the maximum 40 games scheduled, including against MASCAC opponents. The number of conference games in the MASCAC has gone up from 14 to 21 for 2019 with the implementation of three game series against each of the seven conference opponents. Each series will be played as a single nine inning game at one school followed by two seven innings games at the reverse site. Most of these series will be single game on Friday night, double header on Saturday's with the exception of one series.
The Bucs begin their pre-season practices on February 18th in Buzzards Bay followed by a week of workouts in Fort Pierce, Florida. They will close out their Florida trip with three games, one against Wilkes on Saturday, March 2nd and two with Lebanon Valley on March 2nd and Sunday, March 3rd. The season opener with Wilkes University is the first meeting between the two programs. As for Lebanon Valley College, the two teams met in Florida in 2018; the Dutchmen beat the Buccaneers in a 31-run thriller, 17-14. The last time The Buccaneers beat LVC was in 2015, 5-2, in Vero Beach, Florida.
When the team arrives home from Florida they will have a week to prepare for non-conference opponent Dean College who comes in to Buzzards Bay for a double header and the Buccaneer home opener on Saturday, March 9th. Including the Dean double header, the next ten games for the Buccaneers are all non-conference and all at home at Commodore Hendy Field. That ten-game stretch will include game with Clark University, a double header against Johnson & Wales and game against Emerson.
The first road game for the Bucs back up north is on Tuesday, March 26th against Becker College in Leicester, Mass followed by arguably the biggest non-conference game on the Maritime baseball schedule against NESCAC opponent Tufts University on Wednesday, March 27th.
Following the game with the Jumbos, Maritime opens their MASCAC schedule on the road against Fitchburg State on Friday, March 29th. On Saturday the 30th, the teams come back to the bay to play the final two games of the series.
In April, four non-conference, midweek opponents remain as the Bucs will host Wentworth for a second time on Thursday, April 4th, host Anna Maria College on April 16th and travel to play Dean College in Franklin, Mass for a third time, on April 24th and then close out April hosting Roger Williams on April 30th.
As for the remaining 18 conference games, the only non-weekend series of the conference schedule is against Bridgewater State. The Bucs will travel to the Bears on April 3rd for a nine innings game and then host the Bears the following Tuesday, April 9th, for two sevens. The Buccaneers will close out their conference schedule and regular season schedule the weekend of May 3rd, travelling to Framingham State on Friday the 3rd and hosting the Rams for a double header on Saturday the 4th. The MASCAC eight team playoff tournament begins on May 9th and concludes on May 12th with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III NCAA Regionals.