Baseball Ready to Get Underway

Photo+Courtesy%2FCharger+Athletics+

Photo Courtesy/Charger Athletics

Chris DiGeronimo, Sports Editor

Spring is almost here, and that means baseball is around the corner. The Chargers will look to capitalize on a historic 2018 season, where they set a record for single season wins, going 39-12 overall. The Chargers made it to their second straight NE-10 Championship game but lost to Merrimack in double-elimination, which ruined their chance at a Cinderella story. The Chargers entered the NCAA East Region Championship as the number one seed, and made it to the semifinals, but ended their season with a loss to Saint Thomas Aquinas.

The 2019 season comes with high expectations, as New Haven was picked as the preseason favorite to win the NE-10 Southwest Division, according to the NE-10 Preseason Coaches Poll. The Chargers were also selected third in the NCBWA East Region rankings. The 2019 team will be led by seniors PJ Contreras, Dylon Grzenda, James Myers, and Andrew Garcia.

The Chargers lost nine players to graduation, including pitchers David Palmer and Tim Kennedy, who spearheaded the Chargers’ previous season. The Chargers also lost some production at the plate, including infielder Tom Walraven and outfielder Joe Caico. Head coach Chris Celano added 11 freshmen and one senior transfer to the roster, and he said he feels this team is ready to live up to the expectations.

“We have a lot of young talent combined with some experienced returning players that should put us in a position to compete for another conference championship, as well an NCAA bid“ said Celano.“We graduated a group of seniors that carried us to our best season in program history in terms of wins, but I am optimistic about the freshman class and the group of returning upperclassmen.”

The road to a third straight NE-10 Championship game won’t be easy, but senior catcher PJ Contreras knows what it will take to get there.

“In order to make it to a third straight NE-10 Championship game it’s going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, and execution of the little things in order to win” said Contreras. “We had a very senior heavy team last year that knew what to expect going into conference play and the NE-10 Tournament. We have a lot of new guys (this season) but I am fully confident in everyone on the team that when their number is called, they can go out there and produce at a high level”.

The Chargers will be challenged immediately as they will play regionally-ranked Wilmington, Felician, and Saint Thomas Aquinas when they travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Feb. 23. The Chargers will have their first home game on March 15 when they take on Mercy College at Frank Veira Field. New Haven will begin conference play on March 20 when they take on Assumption at home.