Monmouth baseball 2017 preview

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Coach: Eric Palleschi (13th year)

Class: C; Conference: MVC

Last year’s record: 17-1 (lost in Class C South semifinals)

Returning athletes: Seniors —Hunter Richardson (P/SS), Travis Hartford (SS/1B/P), Mat Foulke (INF/P), Avery Amero (3B/P)); Juniors — Nick Dovinsky (OF), Avery Pomerleau (OF/P), Devin Poisson (OF).

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Key losses: Chandler Harris, Gage Cote, Nick Sanborn.

Promising newcomers: Junior — Adam Fortin (P/OF); Sophomores — Trevor Flanagan (3B), Corey Armstrong (C); Freshman — Gabe Martin (OF).

Season outlook: The Mustangs went into last season with a bull’s eye on their chests and rolled through an unbeaten regular season before eventual state champion Sacopee Valley shocked them in the semifinals in nine innings. They won’t miss the pressure of last year’s expectations, but they should still be a force in the MVC. Richardson, a four-year starter, anchors the pitching staff and is one of the top shortstops in Class C. Pomerleau, Hartford, Foulke, Dovinsky and Poisson were all key contributors last year. Dovinsky moves from behind the plate to bolster an already speedy outfield and will be replaced by Armstrong, a good defensive receiver who has worked hard to get comfortable with the pitching staff. The offense will be looking for a new spark at the top of the lineup to replace Cote and big bats in the heart of the order to replace Harris and Sanborn.

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