Feb. 6, 2014
The Patriot League released its annual baseball preseason poll on Thursday and Navy was picked as co-favorites for 2014 with Army. The poll is voted on by the conference’s head coaches and sports information contacts. The Mids and Black Knights shared the top spot as each received 42 points. Army received five first-place votes, while Navy garnered three.
Holy Cross was selected third with 35 points and two first-place votes. Bucknell followed closely behind with 31 points and two first-place votes, as well. The poll was rounded out with Lehigh picked fifth (17 points) and Lafayette predicted sixth (13).
Junior Stephen Moore (Roswell, Ga.) joined Holy Cross’ Evan Ocello as the highlighted preseason award winners, as Moore was selected as the Patriot League Preseason Pitcher of the Year, while Ocello was the Player of the Year honoree.
Moore comes off of a 2013 sophomore season in which he was named to the All-League First Team after posting a 3.24 ERA, 46 strikeouts and a .252 opponents’ batting average. All three stats ranked among the league’s best. Moore was Navy’s most consistent starting pitcher as he never allowed more than four runs in an appearance, including eight games with two or less runs allowed.
He is joined on the Preseason First Team by senior first baseman Kash Manzelli (Dunwoody, Ga.). As a junior in 2013, Manzelli earned his first career postseason honor when he was named to the All-League Second Team. He finished the season in the top 10 of all Patriot League hitters with 64 hits, 35 runs scored, 30 RBIs and a .335 batting average. Manzelli was one of only three Mids to appear in and start all 51 games.
The top-four teams in the regular season will earn a bid to the Patriot League Tournament, which will begin May 10-11 with a best-of-three semifinal series being played at the top-two seeds. The two winners will then play at the site of the higher seed in a best-of-three championship series on May 17-18 with the winner earning an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Navy opens regular season play next weekend with a three-game set at Florida A&M beginning on Friday, Feb. 14. Conference play for the Mids kicks off on the weekend of March 29 when they host Bucknell in a four-game series.
Patriot League Baseball Preseason Poll
1. Army, 42 points (5 first-place votes)
1. Navy, 42 (3)
3. Holy Cross, 35 (2)
4. Bucknell, 31 (2)
5. Lehigh, 17
6. Lafayette, 13
Preseason Player of the Year: Evan Ocello, Holy Cross (Jr., OF)
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Stephen Moore, Navy (Jr., SP)
Preseason All-League Team
SP: Stephen Moore, Navy (Jr.); Alex Robinett, Army (Jr.)
RP: Nick Cassell, Lehigh (Sr.)
C: Joe Abeln, Lehigh (Sr.)
1B: Kash Manzelli, Navy (Sr.)
2B: Andrew Barry, Holy Cross (Sr.)
SS: Alex Jensen, Army (Jr.)
3B: Harold Earls, Army (Jr.)
OF: Brandon Cipolla, Holy Cross (Sr.)
OF: Evan Ocello, Holy Cross (Jr.)
OF: Jacob Page, Army (So.)
DH: Mark McCants, Army (Jr.)