Charger Baseball Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

Lyndsay Miller, Contributing Writer

After a bumpy 2019 season, Chargers baseball comes into their 2020 season with strong senior leadership and budding talent. Returning nine players that started the last 16 games, the young team has matured during the offseason and has come back with eight freshmen and a world of confidence.

Since New Haven has so many freshmen, the team relies heavily on its upperclassmen to lead the way. With a difficult schedule ahead, the Chargers look to key players, including sophomore Noah Budzik, and two seniors, Billy Huber and Matt Chamberlain. Outfielder, Matt Chamberlain, represents the Chargers well, as he was not only selected for the First Team Preseason All-East Region but the All-Northeast-10 Conference First Team following last season as well.

Chamberlain is a stand-out player in the NE10, leading many offensive categories in the 2019 season.

Leading the way for this tenacious team is head coach, Chris Celano. Entering his ninth season for the Chargers, Celano has a record of 198-133-2 and an overall record of 383-271-2 as a collegiate head coach. Coach Celano guided the Chargers to one of the most successful seasons in program history when the team recorded a program-record of 39 wins in the 2018 season. It was Celano’s third season recording more than 30-plus wins. In 2018 Celano was named New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Division II Coach of the Year.

Assisting Celano is Tom Rispoli, the team’s hitting coach. He has experience in professional baseball in the Canadian/American League as a pitcher. Having a coach with this type of experience is an advantage for the Chargers.

Voted by 14 head coaches and earning 49 points, New Haven baseball is ranked fifth in the NE10 preseason poll. Finishing with a record of 12-24-1 in 2019, the team sees room for improvement. The team is scheduled to play 46 games, including 18 at home on Frank Vieria Field.

Many current and former players of the New Haven baseball team get noticed in summer collegiate leagues. Chamberlain and his teammate, Kevin McNiff were both selected for their all-star teams in their respective leagues.

New Haven opens its season with an out-of-conference match-up against the New York Institute of Technology on Feb 21. The game will be in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the Northeast Challenge where the Chargers will make an appearance for the fifth consecutive year. This will be New Haven’s first and furthest trip of the season.

Conference play will be opened for the Chargers when they welcome Pace University on Friday, Mar. 20. This will be a test for New Haven, as Pace is ranked two places above them in the NE10 preseason poll.