NORTON — NEWMAC Coach of the Year Eric Podbelski and his Wheaton College baseball team will participate in the NCAA Division III New England Regional Baseball Tournament at UMass-Boston, beginning Friday.
Wheaton will take on St. Joseph’s College of Maine at 2:30 p.m. in the first game of the four-team regional, which is a double-elimination series.
Wheaton (27-10) is ranked No. 21 in the latest d3baseball.com national poll and has earned one of 18 at-large bids in a field of 58 teams competing in the 2019 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament.
In his 23 seasons at the Wheaton helm, Podbelski is a 10-time NEWMAC Coach of the Year. The Lyons have qualified for the NEWMAC Tournament for 21 straight seasons, while advancing to NCAA postseason play 14 times, including three NCAA World Series appearances.
Wheaton last appeared in the national tournament in 2017 when it won the Mid-Atlantic Regional and advanced to the national championship round.
The Lyons have earned the second seed in the UMass-Boston regional, and will face St. Joseph’s (32-10). No. 1 seed UMass-Boston (30-11) takes on Baruch College (17-18) of New York City in the opening game at 11 a.m.
Wheaton won its 18th regular season NEWMAC title, then fell to NCAA tournament participants MIT and Babson in the NEWMAC Tournament.
The Lyons boast six All-NEWMAC selections, including Player of the Year Jared Sharkey; a senior outfielder from West Bridgewater and Rookie of the Year; and Jacob Studley, a freshman outfielder from Barrington, R.I. who attended the Moses Brown School. Also selected were junior Nick Raposo, and sophomore pitcher John Mikosz, while freshman Griffin Young and sophomore George Mulcahey were named to the second team.
Sharkey finished first in the NEWMAC in home runs (11), second in total bases (93) and RBI (46), third in slugging percentage (.660), fourth in runs (39) and eighth in hits (47). The senior outfielder also finished with a perfect .1000 fielding percentage.
Studley ranked No. 1 in the NEWMAC in hitting (.432) and on-base percentage (.529) and second in slugging percentage (.663).
In the field for Wheaton as All-NEWMAC selections are Raposo, who finished finishing first in the NEWMAC in runs (43), third in hits (54), and sixth in both RBI (35) and total bases (74). Mulcahey, a second baseman, finished in the top-20 of the conference in home runs (four), RBI (25), total bases, stolen bases (8) and batting average.
On the mound, Mikosz, a sophomore from Southington, Conn., made nine starts in the regular season, finishing with a 5-0 record over 46 innings while allowing just 10 runs on 24 hits and striking out 47. Young, a righthander from Dover, N.H., won his first five games, making nine appearances with seven starts. In 48 innings of work, he allowed just 14 runs on 42 hits and had a staff-high 51 strikeouts.
Saint Joseph’s of Maine, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference champion, is making its first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance since 2014. Wheaton has met the Monks 14 times and owns a 9-5 series edge.