West Windsor, N.J. – The Mercer County Community College (MCCC) baseball team heads into this weekend's Region 19 Tournament as the team to beat. Completing the regular season with a 37-10 record, they are the no. 1 seed in the double elimination contest.
The Vikings are hoping to repeat as region champs and earn a return trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II World Series. In game one of the tournament, which will be hosted by Del Tech Owens, the Vikings face no. 4 Morris County College at 10 a.m. on May 8. The other two teams are no. 2 Lackawanna and no. 3 Burlington. The winner advances to the Super Region Tournament May 16-17, to be hosted by Region 20. The Vikings are currently ranked 11th in the nation in NJCAA Division II Baseball.
Featuring a roster of talented veteran players and newcomers, the Vikings have combined a strong offense with a solid pitching rotation. The offense performed impressively throughout the regular season, with a team batting average of .345. Returning NJCAA All-American sophomore catcher David Osnato (Hamilton, NJ/Hamilton West) has had another banner year, hitting .342 with 35 RBIs. Freshman Robert Boselli (Ventnor City, NJ/Holy Spirit) is hitting .366 and has a team-high 36 RBIs, while sophomore outfielder Joe Santospago (Doylestown, PA/Archbishop Wood) is hitting a team-high .371 and sophomore infielder Angel Garced (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Liberty) is batting .351. Sophomore infielder Brandon Kirk (Yardville, NJ/Hamilton West) has nine RBIs in the Vikings’ last seven games and sophomore outfielder Nick Kagel (Lawrenceville, NJ/Lawrence) is batting .343 this season.
Led by Nick Economos (Worcester, MA/Worcester Academy), the pitching staff is also strong. The sophomore is 6-0 on the season and has 60 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. Sophomore left-hander Matt Gall (Shamong, NJ/Seneca) is 5-2 on the season with a 2.81 ERA. Freshmen pitchers Zach Gakeler (Jobstown, NJ/Northern Burlington) and Christian Waters (West Windsor, NJ/West Windsor North) are both 5-1 with a 2.12 ERA. Rounding out the pitching rotation is sophomore Brandon Garret (Levittown, PA/Pennsbury East), who is 6-1 this season. The Vikings have had strong relief appearances from sophomore Nate Vahedi (Philadelphia, PA/JR Masterman), who has a .087 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched, and freshman Evan Gillespie (Princeton, NJ/Montgomery), who has a .084 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched.
The Vikings are well represented among the All-Garden State Athletic Association (GSAC) Division II picks for the 2015 season. David Osnato was named the Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Player of the Year. Osnato and six other players were named to the All-GSAC First Team: infielders Angel Garced and Brandon Kirk, outfielder Joe Santospago, pitchers Nick Economos and Matt Gall, and DH Robert Boselli. Outfielder Nick Kagel was named to the Second Team.
Selections to the All-Region 19 Division II First Team are: Angel Garced, Joe Santospago, Nick Economos, Dave Osnato and DH Robert Boselli. Infielder Brandon Kirk, outfielder Nick Kagel and pitcher Matt Gall were named to the All-Region Second Team.
Coach Kevin Kerins has gotten due recognition for his leadership of this stellar Vikings squad. He was named the Region 19 Coach of the Year and the GSAC Coach of the Year. Kerins is happy to share the accolades with assistant coaches Fred Carella, Shawn Reindel, Russ Stupienski and Matt Zegari.
Follow the Region 19 Tournament action on the Athletics Deparment's Facebook page here.
|Outfielder Joe Santospago is hitting a team-high .371.
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