NECC Knights baseball season preview
Northern Essex CC Knights 2012 Baseball Outlook
The 2011 NECC Baseball season put life back into the program. After a dismal 2010 season finishing 7-22, the Knights flipped things around finishing 22-12 in 2011, including a conference championship as well as regional runners up. With a very strong Freshmen class the Knights look to continue forward and compete for top billing in Region 21.
The Knights are returning 5 starting position players, 4 of whom were All-Region players, one having been named a 2nd Team All-American. Domingo Cruz (Manchester NH/Memorial) finished his 2011 season with staggering numbers and proved to be the lynchpin in the teams offense. The sophomore Centerfielder finished the season at a .405 clip with 4 homeruns, 40 RBI, and 34 Stolen Bases while being named 1st Team All-Region and 2nd team All-American. Team Captain’s Matt Faia (Sandown NH/Timberlane) and Keegan Pafford (Portsmouth NH/Portsmouth) also received all region honors for their performances in 2011. Faia a Sophomore second baseman finished with a .330 batting average out of the 9 hole and stole 15 bases. Pafford, a sophomore outfielder hit .303 with 4 homeruns and stole 12 bases, while also being a stopper on the mound going 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA. Another team captain and an All-Region back stop, Manny Cabral will return to control the Knights defense in 2011. Cabral was clutch at the plate last year hitting 3 homeruns and 15 of his 30 RBI coming with two outs but it was Manny’s work behind the plate that proved to be the strongest part of his game. John Faia (Sandown NH/Timberlane) will be at 1st base once again and looks to build off a strong freshman season. John hit .290 and was as solid as they come defensively at 1st base.
The Knights are also returning a solid core of pitchers for the 2011 season. Costa Tingas (Lowell MA/Lowell) and Kyle Oniell (Chelmsford MA/Chelmsford) will be back to spearhead a talented group of arms. Tingas finished 2011 at 4-2 with 3 saves, a 5.45 ERA and 42 K’s in 39 innings. Tingas started off slow but came on stong and was a key component during the playoff run through April and will be at the top of the rotation this spring. O’neill also had a very strong 2011 season finishing 5-1 with a 4.03 ERA. After a stong summer league season Kyle looks to be a conference game starter along side Tingas. Sophomore relief pitcher Mike Patane (Salem NH/Salem) was the Knights stopper out of the bullpen last year, coming into many big games and shutting the door. Patane finished the ’11 season with a 3-1 record with a .59 ERA giving up just one earned run on the season.
Other returners looking to fill a spot in the starting lineup are pitchers: Sean Perkins (Billerica/Shawsheen Tech), and Corey Couillard (Pelham NH/Pelham) Outfielders: Fernando Hernandez (Lawrence MA/Lawrence)
The Knights Freshman/Transfer class is one of the brightest the school has seen in a while. Sophomore pitcher Shane Beauchemin comes to the Knights program in top form and looking to fill the 3rd spot in the teams pitching rotation. 3B/C Pat Parker (Wilmington MA/Merrimack High NH) had a solid senior season at Merrimack High school finishing with one of the top batting averages in the state and was named 1st Team All-NH. Outfielder Luke Reynolds finished his senior season as one of the top leadoff guys in the state and was also named 1st Team All-NH. Infielder Tyler Johnson (New Junction/Sanborn Regional) will also look to fill a starting role in the Knights lineup this spring after a strong senior season last year where he was named 2nd Team All-NH. Relief Pitcher Nick Goodin (Dracut MA/Dracut) will add some solid depth to the pitching staff.
Other Promising Newcomers
RHP/SS Chris Martin (Manchester NH/Memorial), RHP Tim Parker (Wilmington MA/Wilmington), RHP Alex Mears (Sandown NH/Timberlane), RHP Derek Dolan (Lowell MA/Greater Lowell Tech) LHP Graham Kelly (Billerica MA/ Billerica) OF David Cusak (Newburyport MA/Newburyport), OF Adam Byron (Tyngsboro MA/Tyngsboro)