Baseball Season Preview


Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

Get ready to eat some sunflower seeds and chew bubblegum because the weather is getting warmer, which means baseball season is back.

The defending NE-10 Champion Chargers are coming off a 31-13 season in 2017 with 16 of those wins coming from NE-10 conference play. Last season the Chargers entered the NE-10 tournament and steamrolled their way to the championship, beating Franklin Pierce in a double header at home. The Chargers entered the NCAA East Region Championship with momentum beating Dominican College 5-2 but then lost to both Saint Thomas Aquinas and Felician College in double elimination.

There is a lot of hype surrounding the Chargers as they were picked to win the NE-10 Southwest Division in the 2018 Preseason coaches poll as voted on by the leagues 15 head coaches. New Haven received nine first place votes and a total of 78 points to top the division. The Chargers were also ranked 17th in the Preseason NCAA Division II College Baseball Top 25 by Perfect Game College Ball, while also receiving 14 votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) preseason poll. New Haven will have a loaded squad as they are returning 10 position players, along with 10 members of the pitching staff. They are also returning seven of their eight NE-10 All-Conference selections from last year. These players include David Palmer (First Team), Tom Walraven (First Team), Tim Kennedy (Second Team), Jack Zagaja (Second Team), Matt Chamberlain (All-Rookie Team), and Brandon LaManna (All-Rookie Team).

The Chargers will rely on their experienced pitching staff to get them through a tough NE-10 Conference schedule. New Haven will enter 2018 with three starters and seven relievers returning to the staff. Leading the staff will be David Palmer who was named NCBWA Third- Team All- American and NCBWA All- East Region Preseason first -team selection. Palmer, 2017 NE10 Conference Tournament MVP chiseled an 8-1 record with a 1.51 ERA to go along with 82 strikeouts in 2017. Fellow senior Tim Kennedy will also be a force to be reckon with this season. Kennedy was an undefeated 7-0 with a team low 1.43 ERA. Kennedy also finished with 82 strikeouts in 63 innings pitched. Palmer and Kennedy not only finished with the two lowest ERA’s on the New Haven pitching staff, but were both top 10 in NCAA Division II in ERA with Kennedy finishing sixth and Palmer finishing ninth. The Chargers will look to ride this two-headed monster at the front end of the rotation in order to obtain the same success as last season.  

The Chargers will be tested early as they head down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Friday, Feb. 23 to play in the Northeast Challenge. The Chargers will play Wilmington, Concordia, Queens, and Felician throughout the weekend. The Chargers will return to action on March 2 as they take on Mercy on the road. New Haven will play its first home game on Tuesday, March 6 as they take on Bridgeport.