HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College baseball team will begin the 2017 campaign at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla. during the week of spring break (Mar. 5-11) with an eye towards yet another Centennial title in 2017.
With the jaunt to the Sunshine State serving as a sort of proving ground for the type of day-in, day-out grind that is required to succeed in the postseason, the Haverford squad is confident it has what it takes to hoist the trophy when it is all said and done. Namely, an experienced squad that has been through the conference gauntlet and that is fiercely competitive and committed towards a common goal.
The defending Centennial champs, Haverford is looking for a fourth Centennial Conference Championship in six years and a 10th straight appearance in the Centennial Conference tournament.
Last season, the team's 28 victories were the second most in program history behind the 2011 team which finished 32-10 overall. Haverford went 28-14 overall last season, with a 13-5 mark in conference action.
After a season that saw Haverford earn the Centennial Conference championship with three straight wins en-route to an NCAA Regional Appearance, there is a lot to look forward to during the 2017 campaign.
The Fords, who are receiving votes in the latest D3Baseball.com/NCWBA Top 25 Poll, return seven of their 10 players who started at least 20 games as part of the everyday lineup for the championship squad as the program has built its reputation as a perennial contender for the conference crown.
Sam Partee, Ethan Lee-Tyson, Ben Furlong and Spencer Sohmer all return after All-Centennial campaigns a season ago and will look to lengthen the Haverford lineup. Other key returners on the offensive side include Thomas Vollaro, Matt Goss, Ben Verducci and Yannick Villanueva.
The rotation returns D3Baseball Preseason All-American Justin Herring along with Tom Phillips and Jared Deveau after losing Stephen Ridings to an MLB draft selection by the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. John Masella returns from an All-Centennial season to anchor the bullpen along with Patrick O'Shea.
A large crop of newcomers have benefited from preseason preparations and acclamation to the culture of the program. Infielders Harrison Burns, Will Karp and Luke Wallis join with catcher Owen Plambeck and sophomore Nick Perez, who joins Haverford after spending his first collegiate season at Division I Rutgers. Newcomers on the pitching staff include Dylan Livingston, Nathan Vucovich and Lucas Greenbaum.
Reigning Centennial Conference Coach of the Year Dave Beccaria has established a tradition of winning during his tenure, compiling an overall record of 351-251-3. Those 351 victories rank as the most by a single manager in program history.
Including his three Centennial Conference Championships, the Fords have played for the conference title seven times during his tenure. Six of those conference championship appearances have come in the past seven seasons on the diamond.
Haverford was picked to finish in second in the Centennial Conference to Johns Hopkins, earning four first-place tallies. Haverford will face off with the Blue Jays in a doubleheader scheduled for Baltimore on April 15.
The Fords will play 21 non-conference games, including the initial nine in a six day span as part of the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. Haverford will open the home season against DeSales on March 15 before hosting No. 10 St. John Fisher for a pair of contests on March 18 at Kannerstein Field.