LEICESTER, Mass. - The Becker College baseball team will open its 2019 season under the direction of first-year head coach Brian Kehew next week.
Kehew expressed his excitement for the season, "Our players have shown complete dedication to the program and their hard work is paying off. I cannot say enough about the work the entire team and coaching staff has put in."
This season the team welcomes back senior first baseman/pitcher and second-year captain, Tanyon Ventres (Holden, Mass. / Wachusett Regional). Last season Ventres earned a spot on the NECC All-Tournament Team and led the team with a 3.99 ERA in 10 appearances on the mound. He was the team-leader with 51 strikeouts and held the team's lowest batting average against of .272. Offensively, Ventres posted a .254 batting average and recorded 11 runs, 16 hits and 10 RBI.
Becker also welcomes back sophomore outfielder/catcher William Negron (Bronx, N.Y. / Salesian) who finished last season with a .326 batting average, 29 runs, seven doubles, two triples, one home run and 19 RBI. He was named to the All-Conference Second Team last season and was a two-time NECC Rookie of the Week. "Negron is expected to hit near the top of the order," said Kehew. "We are looking for him to set the table for the rest of the lineup by getting on base at a high rate and creating runs on the base path."
Cameron Plank (Marlborough, Mass. / Marlborough) also returns for the Hawks at the catcher position. He was one of the team's top hitters last year, as he registered a .283 batting average and accumulated 13 runs, 28 hits, a team-high 10 doubles, two home runs, and 18 RBI. Kehew believes Plank will be a major bat in the middle of the order.
"I am looking for each of these three players to continue developing and build off the strong seasons they had last year," said Kehew.
The team suffers the loss of 11 players from last season including outfielder/second baseman Chris Testa, who finished his storied career at Becker last season as the school's all-time leader in hits, at-bats and stolen bases. He also was named to the 2018 NECC All-Conference First Team. Becker also said farewell to centerfielder Josiah Shepherd and pitcher Michael Iacovelli who were key contributors on last year's team.
Kehew shared his thoughts on this year's team, "We have many areas we are working to improve on. Our top priority is to reduce the amount of free bases we give away through walks and errors. So far, throughout the fall and winter our offense looks to be our strength. We have batters throughout the entire lineup who will consistently put together quality at bats and can hit with some power."
"I know we have a lot of individual players who are capable of much more than they have achieved in the past," stated Kehew. "These players are going to surprise a lot of people and I believe the team, as a whole, will do the same."
The 2019 team captains are Ventres, Daniel Diaz (Teaneck, N.J. / St. Mary), Willis Pollard (Worthington, Mass. / Williston Northampton), and Michael McMahon (Canton, Mass. / Canton). Kehew is relying on these proven veterans for their leadership, but will also look to many other upperclassmen who will contribute to the team's positive environment daily.
Becker baseball opens its season next Tuesday (Mar. 5) against Nichols. The game will be played at the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough, Mass. Later that week, the team will head south to take part in the spring games at the RussMatt Invitational in central Florida. For the complete 2019 Becker baseball schedule, visit: http://beckerhawks.com/sports/bsb/2018-19/schedule