Tom Conley ’15
Associate Sports Editor
Photo Credit: Merrimack Athletics
It may not seem like it but spring is right around the corner, and that means the baseball season is inching closer. As a coach-less team in the fall, it looks like the only thing our Warriors on the diamond need to worry about now is when the snow will melt, as the hiring of new head coach, Nick Barese has been made official, and rightfully so.
Barese has been working with the team as the interim head coach since classes began back in September. From molding in the new freshman on the team to organizing all baseball activity throughout the fall and winter, Barese is well deserving of his new title
“It was made official just after Christmas, which was a great gift. The administration was always very good at communicating with me during the whole process, and right after the college reopened from winter break Jeremy Gibson (the AD), let me know they were going to make it official.”After spending years with Merrimack, not just academically but as a career path as well, the former pitching coach, as one could anticipate, was ecstatic about his new promotion. The new skipper made it a point to share what the college means to him, by saying “ It was obviously really exciting news. I have enjoyed my time at Merrimack College, being a part of this community, and building the relationships with the student-athletes and coaches. It was a tremendous feeling knowing I was going to continue being a part of this family.”
That’s not the only positive news speculating around the baseball team. On January 26th, the preseason rankings for the NE-10 were released and Merrimack’s team is expected to have quite the season ahead of them. The team was preseason ranked 8th overall out of the whole East Region. Merrimack finished last season with a .500 record sitting at 21-21 overall. Despite the average record, the Warriors just missed out on the Northeast-10 Conference Championship playoffs. The returning team consists of essentially every starter from last season’s squad, as well as multiple members of the dominant pitching staff. With three out of the four main starters for the rotation returning, including two reliable seniors, Joe Carnevale and Tim Cashman, along with sophomore stud Perry Kulaga, the Warrior’s have the potential to possibly even surpass their already impressive preseason ranking.
Merrimack is one of six teams for the NE-10 that will begin the year ranked in the NCBWA East Region poll and juniors Frank Crinella (third baseman) and Sean O’Neil (DH/1B) are big reasons why. Both players have been named preseason all-region selections, as announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and both are big bats for the Warriors lineup.
“It’s great for guys like Frank Crinella, and Sean O’Neill to be honored as pre-season all region selections, they without a doubt earned those accolades. They are two, of the many leaders on this team, and I could not be more proud of them,” said Barese when asked about his two players.
With all this positive hype about this year’s team, something like this could potentially get in the head of the coaches or players, especially in the preseason, but not in Merrimack’s program.
“As for our team expectations, I am sure it’s not the answer you want, but as a program, we don’t buy into anyone’s expectations but our own. Preseason rankings don’t hold a lot of weight once you step on the field. I know we are capable of accomplishing everything we want to, and I know we are going to prepare every single day to achieve our goals. It’s a great challenge playing in the Northeast-10, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to compete against quality teams all season long. This is a great group, the players and coaching staff have worked incredibly hard all year, and I am looking forward to seeing the results.”
The baseball team’s season starts February 28th when they travel to New York to open up a 3-game series against Southern Connecticut.