2012 Northeast Conference Preview

*2011 automatic qualifier. 2011 NCAA regional participants in bold (2011 records listed; 2012 national rankings in parentheses)


Conference Overall

Monmouth 25 7 36 19
Central Connecticut 17 14 26 25
Bryant 19 12 30 23
*Sacred Heart 23 9 34 23
Long Island-Brooklyn 19 11 28 23
Wagner 12 20 18 33
Mount St. Mary’s 7 25 15 35
Fairleigh Dickinson 9 23 12 38
Quinnipiac 11 21 15 32
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Monmouth.
Conference Schedule: 32 games, begins March 16.
Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 17-19 at site unavailable.
Player of the Year: Tyler Jones, c, Long Island.
Pitcher of the Year: Pat Light, rhp, Monmouth.
1. Pat Light, rhp, Monmouth
2. Troy Scribner, rhp, Sacred Heart
3. Tyler Jones, c, Long Island-Brooklyn
4. Kevin Brown, of, Bryant
5. Dan Smith, lhp, Monmouth
1. Kevin McAvoy, rhp, Bryant (HS—Syracuse)
2. Kyle Perry, c, Monmouth (HS—Toms River, N.J.
3. Jesse Brown, c, Long Island-Brooklyn (HS—Indianapolis)


• Monmouth returns a deep, experienced team from a squad that finished in a tie with Sacred Heart at the top of the Northeast Conference standings last year but came up short in the conference tournament. Seven starters return in the field, as well as plenty of innings from the 2011 pitching staff, but most of the attention will be focused on RHP Pat Light, a 6-foot-6 junior who touched 99 mph in the fall and usually pitches at 92-96 mph. His results have not yet matched his stuff, as he went 4-5, 4.04 with 61 strikeouts in 76 innings last year, but coach Dean Ehehalt said Light’s slider turned a corner in fall practice and gives him a second plus pitch to keep hitters off balance. The strength of the offense is its all-seniors outfield of LF Ed Martin (.298/.397/.351), RF Jamie Rosenkranz (.299/.375/.396) and toolsy CF Josh Boyd (.233/.335/.333), who made strides in the fall with his swing. Jr. 3B Danny Avella (.232/.350/.509) led the team with nine homers despite missing part of the season with a hairline fracture in his hand but should be healthy for 2012.

• Sacred Heart made just its second regional appearance ever last season, finishing the season with an 11-game conference winning streak that included a 3-0 run through the NEC tournament. The Pioneers return their entire weekend rotation, led by Jr. RHP Troy Scribner (9-3, 4.55), brother of Athletics righthander Evan Scribner, who played for conference rival Central Connecticut. The younger Scribner led the conference with 95 IP. The offense returns plenty of talent, even after losing the top third of the batting order to graduation, led by Sr. 1B Rob Griffith, an all-conference performer who batted .335/.404/.488.

• The team formerly known only as Long Island is now going by Long Island-Brooklyn as the university attempts to better identify each of its constituent campuses. No matter what the jersey says, the Blackbird who will get the most attention is Sr. C Tyler Jones (.425/.545/.533), who finished fifth in Division I in batting last season. He’s also a good defender, showing 1.95-second pop times in games. All he lacks is power, but he should still get drafted in June. A prospect to watch for the future is Fr. Jesse Brown, who also has good catch-and-throw skills but will get his at-bats at DH, 3B, LF and 1B in deference to Jones. He does offer power and hit six home runs in fall ball.