Sprts News Sports News
Calendar Latest Sports News Athletic Home www.mccc.edu

Baseball Team Continues Winning Ways This Season


West Windsor, N.J. -- Finishing the season ranked 18th nationally with a 29-15 record, the Vikings baseball team continued its winning ways in 2012. The Vikings advanced all the way to the Region 19 championship game before a tough loss against a very talented Lackawanna College team. Led by interim Head Coach Kevin Kerins, who assumed the post in January, there was barely a ripple as the Vikings adjusted to new leadership just two months before the start of the season.

According to Kerins, the Vikings' success was due to skill, a solid work ethic, and great team chemistry. Standouts included sophomores Mike Constantini at shortstop, the team's hitting leader with a .380 average, 60 hits and 42 runs scored, third baseman Rick McLaughlin and outfielder Ian Moyer. Other key players were outfielder Dan Denton and the formidable pitching staff of sophomore Chris Rupprecht (5-3) and freshmen Paul Piromalli (6-2), Dylan Murphy (5-2) and Matt Berbon-Owle (6-1). Walter Cleary was a clutch reliever with a 3-2 record.

Kerins says he easily picked up where Coach Matt Wolski, who earned a 133-98-1 won-loss record over six years, left off. Kerins and Assistant Coach Fred Carella added a few skills to practice sessions, but basically kept Wolski's well-tested approaches intact. Former pitcher Shawn Reindel also joined the staff.

Entering the double elimination Region 19 tournament as the no. 2 seed with a 27-12 overall record and 10-4 record in the region, Mercer knew that no. 1 Lackawanna (41-10, 14-0) was the team to beat. In their first game, the Vikings first faced no. 3 Burlington, against whom they had split a doubleheader in April. The result was a 4-3 win for Mercer, which was followed by a 4-1 loss against Lackawanna. The next morning, the Vikings beat Burlington even more decisively by a score of 7-1, forcing yet another match-up against Lackawanna and a heartbreaking 4-3 loss.

Constantini and McLaughlin were named to the All Region 19 First Team and outfielder Ian Moyer was named to the second team. Constantini was named no. 3 on the list of Top 10 Players in Region 19. In the All Garden State Athletic Conference, Constantini, Moyer and outfielder Dan Denton were named to the First Team.

As he completes his first season, Kerins is clearly satisfied with his experience at the helm. "We were fortunate to have a great group of sophomores. We let them lead and let our freshman develop. You have to grow up quick at the college level. They did a great job."

Kerins is also excited about next year's roster, which will feature sophomores Piromali, Denton, Cleary, Berbon-Owle, Steve Spadifino, Darren Heisse and Mike Ras, and an incoming class that should add depth to the line-up. In addition to the talent Kerins has found in Mercer County, several players are expected to join the squad from Hunterdon and Middlesex counties and Pennsylvania.

"The incoming class features numerous strong pitchers who will complement the returning arms and experience we have on the mound. Pitching will be the strength and core of our team next year," Kerins predicts. He adds that the roster will boast two high school All-Americans -- Dan Denton, who just completed his freshman season for the Vikings, and freshman outfielder Mark Tomei.

Nine players have announced their transfer plans. To see where they are heading, click here.

In baseball alumni news, Vikings pitcher James Pugliese, who was drafted by the Cubs last June, had a strong season in the minor leagues.

The Vikings face Lackawanna in the Region 19 tournament.
Ace Paul Piromalli on the mound.
Michael Constantini, the team's hitting leader, at bat.
Dan Denton is on the move.

Return to Baseball

Return to Athletics Home Page

Return to MCCC Home Page

Return to Current News