Sunday, May 13, 2018

MIAA Baseball: Super Eight Projection 1.0

St. John's Shrewsbury's Staff, highlighted by Sean Burke and Nick McDonald (Pictured) has the Pioneers atop our initial projection.
By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

The MIAA Division 1A "Super Eight" selection is exactly three weeks away and with it, SuiteSports' is excited to announce its initial projection for this year's field.

Four of last year's eight teams make our first projection while the other half of the field is filled with newcomers. The selection committee is known to incorporate pitching depth, strength of schedule (both in-league and non-league), and play down the stretch into its consideration and as a result we do our best to implement that into our projections as well.

With plenty of baseball left to be played, these projections are sure to change over the coming weeks, but for now here is our first attempt to predict this year's Division 1A Super Eight.

1. St. John’s Shrewsbury 

Record: 10-4

Key Wins: Xaverian (5-2), St. John’s Prep (17-8), St. Peter-Marian (5-4), Algonquin (4-0)

Key Losses: BC High (4-1), Wachusett (5-3), Algonquin (3-0), Leominster (6-5)

Record vs. Division 1: 7-4

Record vs. Catholic Conference: 2-1

Players to Watch: Sean Burke, Sr., RHP/1B; Nick McDonald, Jr., RHP; Tyler Mudd, So., LHP; Jake Hamel, Sr., SS

Overview: The defending Division 1A champions come in at number one in our initial Super Eight projection. After starting off the season 2-3, St. John’s has been winners of eight of nine including victories over Xaverian, St. Peter-Marian, and a 17-8 thumping of St. John’s Prep. Sean Burke, Tyler Mudd, and Nick MacDonald have been stellar at the top of the rotation while Burke and Jake Hamel lead the offense. With St. John’s Prep, Wachusett, BC High, and Braintree still on the docket the Pioneers will have plenty of opportunities to prove themselves as the top seed heading into selection Sunday.

2. St. John’s Prep

Record: 9-4

Key Wins: Xaverian (9-3), BC High (8-7), Catholic Memorial (7-2), Walple (7-2)

Key Losses: Catholic Memorial (1-0), BC High (1-0), Xaverian (3-2), St. John’s Shrewsbury (17-8) 

Record vs. Division 1: 9-4 

Record vs. Catholic Conference: 5-3

Players to Watch: Tyler MacGregor, Sr., 3B; Alex Lane, Jr., C/OF; Josh Cerritani, Sr., INF; Mike Yarin, Sr., DH; Jake Sanderson, Sr., RHP

Overview: Ever since falling to Xaverian, 3-2, at Fenway Park on April 21st St. John’s Prep has done nothing but swing the bats. The Eagles have scored at least seven runs in seven of their last eight games behind the bats of Tyler MacGregor, Josh Cerritani, and Alex Lane. Couple that with the fact that St. John’s Prep has picked up a few big time Catholic Conference wins over Xaverian, BC High, and Catholic Memorial around a non-league win over Walpole the last few weeks and the Eagles come in at the number two spot.

3. Wachusett

Record: 12-1

Key Wins: St. John’s Shrewsbury (5-3), Catholic Memorial (4-3),  Algonquin (15-7)

Key Losses: BC High (11-4)

Record vs. Division 1: 6-1

Record vs. Catholic Conference: 1-1

Players to Watch: Francis Ferguson, Sr., LHP/OF; Barry Walsh, Sr., RHP/OF; Mike Maher, Jr., SS; Cole Durkan, Sr., C; Jake Gigliotti, Sr., RHP;

OverviewOutside of an 11-4 loss to BC High, all the Mountaineers have done is win, win, win. They have picked up key victories over Central Mass. foe St. John’s Shrewsbury as well as Catholic Memorial and have a deep pitching staff highlighted by Jake Gigliotti, Barry Walsh and Francis Ferguson. Up the middle the Mountaineers are strong with junior shortstop Mike Maher off to a great start at shortstop, Stonybrook commit Cole Durkan manning the catching duties, and Walsh playing center when not on the mound. With St. John's Shrewsbury still on the schedule, as long as the Mountaineers are able to win five of their final seven games they should be in line for a top four spot.

4. Lexington

Record: 10-4

Key Wins: Belmont (4-2), BC High (7-3), Wilmington (10-1)

Key Losses: Arlington (13-4), Reading (3-2), Belmont (3-2)

Record vs. Division 1: 1-0

Record vs. Catholic Conference: 1-0

Players to Watch: Jack Pawloski, Sr., LHP/1B; Sal Frelick, Sr., SS; Nick Planski, Sr., RHP; Madison Dina, Sr., RHP; 

OverviewThe Minutemen picked up a monster non-league win with a 7-3 victory over BC High on Tuesday as Madison Dina spun a complete game allowing no earned runs. Shortstop Sal Frelick is arguably the top position player in the Bay State and Jack Pawloski, Dina, and Plasnki are all shut-down guys on the mound. They do find themselves behind a bit in the Middlesex League’s Liberty Division due to a loss to Belmont on Friday night, but as long they keep their high level of play up the Minutemen should be in line for their first Super Eight berth. 

5. BC High

Record: 8-5

Key Wins: St. John’s Prep (1-0), St. John’s Shrewsbury (4-1), Newton North (13-6), Wachusett (11-4), Braintree (2-1), Catholic Memorial (16-6)

Key Losses: St. John’s Prep (8-7), Xaverian (7-3, 4-3), Catholic Memorial (2-1), Lexington (7-3)

Record vs. Division 1: 8-5

Record vs. Catholic Conference: 3-4

Players to Watch: Mike Vasil, Sr., RHP/1B; Pat Roche, So., INF; Bobby DeMeo, Sr., INF; Matt Sullivan, Sr., OF; Dave Driscoll, Sr., C; 

OverviewBC High was in line to come in at number one in our first projection but a 2-3 week that included losses to conference foes St. John’s Prep and Xaverian slides them down to the number five spot. Despite their five losses the Eagles once again are buoyed by the strongest non-conference schedule in the state with wins over St. John’s Shrewsbury, Newton North, Wachusett, and Braintree on top of in-confernece wins over Catholic Memorial and St. John’s Prep. This, on top of the fact that the Eagles have had their ace in Mike Vasil available for just two starts thus far, places them at number five in our initial projection.

6. Central Catholic

Record: 10-3

Key Wins: Austin Prep (4-0), Chelmsford (7-5)

Key Losses: North Andover (2-0), Tewksbury (3-2), Catholic Memorial (7-3)

Record vs. Division 1: 7-1

Record vs. Catholic Conference: 0-1

Players to Watch: Steve Hajjar, Sr., LHP; Dominic Keegan, Sr., C; Nate Carpenter, Sr., RHP; Mike Pierro, Sr., OF; Joe Sanchez, Sr., OF

Overview: One season after appearing in its first Super Eight, Central Catholic is poised to receive its second straight berth. Its star power well documented, the Raiders are highlighted by left-handed flame-thrower Steve Hajjar and Vanderbilt bound catcher Dominic Keegan. The Raiders have fallen to North Andover already, and lost in probably their top non-league game of the year to Catholic Memorial which could come back to be a problem down the road but for now as long as Central Catholic takes care of business they are in line once again for good news on selection Sunday. 

7. Walpole

Record: 10-3

Key Wins: Xaverian (3-2), Braintree (5-3), Newton North (3-0)

Key Losses: St. John’s Prep (7-2), Franklin (1-0), Minnechaug (4-2)

Record vs. Division 1: 9-2

Record vs. Catholic Conference: 1-1

Players to Watch: Cam Schlittler, Jr., RHP; Matt Danato, Sr., RHP; Tyler Page, Jr., C; Jack Magane, Sr., SS: Ryan Murphy, Jr., LHP

Overview: With just over three weeks to go, there is no question who the top team is in the Bay State League. The Rebels cemented that notion on Friday night overcoming a 3-1 deficit to take down Braintree, 5-3. Cam Schlittler, Ryan Murphy, and Matt Danato make up a quality top of the rotation and Tyler Page has been stellar behind the dish. A 1-0 loss to Franklin, another team in consideration, certainly hurts but if the Rebels complete the season sweep over the Wamps on Tuesday they will find themselves in the drivers seat to potentailly grab one of the final spots. 

8. North Andover

Record: 9-2

Key Wins: Central Catholic (2-0), Andover (3-2), Arlington (2-1)

Key Losses: Tewksbury (3-2), Haverhill (4-2) 

Record vs. Division 1: 7-1

Record vs. Catholic Conference: 0-0

Players to Watch: Sebastian Keane, Jr., RHP/INF; Anthony Sapienza, Jr., RHP; Charlie Jodka, Sr., RHP; Jake McElory, Jr., SS; Jack Morin, So., C

Overview: In two of the last three seasons, North Andover has been nominated at the selection meeting only to be voted down. So far the Scarlet Knights have done everything in their power to change those fortunes this time around. Led by a staff consisting of Northeastern commit Sebastian Keane, junior Anthony Sapienza, and Charlie Jodka as well as a terrific middle of the infield highlighted by junior Jake McElroy, North Andover possesses a 9-2 record and has wins over Central Catholic and Andover. The Scarlet Knights have a long way to go secure a berth with Catholic Memorial and Chelmsford coming up this week but at the moment find themselves on the right track.

First Four (4) Out 

Austin Prep (10-1)

Franklin (12-3)

Belmont (9-3)

Xaverian (8-6)

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