Merrimack sending 13 players to collegiate summer baseball teams

The Merrimack College baseball program will see 13 student-athletes continue play this summer as the Warriors will have representation across both the New England and Atlantic regions in collegiate summer baseball leagues.

Returning players will suit up in the coming months for teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL), Valley Baseball League (VBL), Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL), the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League (GNCBL) and the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL).

Rising senior Joey Porricelli is one of two Warriors returning to their previous clubs last summer; the Northeast-10 Conference Co-Player of the Year will play for the North Adams Steeplecats of the NECBL. The corner infielder impressed last summer by ranking among the top four on North Adams in batting average (.291), plate appearances (151), hits (44), doubles (8) and steals (13). His phenomenal 2019 season with Merrimack included a career-best nine homers, 41 RBI, .946 OPS and 33 steals, only the third season of at least 30 thefts in program history.

Returning graduate student Riley Sorenson will also join Porricelli in the NECBL as a member of the Valley Blue Sox. Sorenson led Merrimack in appearances (16) and saves (4) while also closing the spring season as one of the Warriors’ starters. He earned both NE10 and National College Baseball Writers Association Pitcher of the Week honors after a streak of one-run ball over 16 innings in April; that run also featured his first-ever complete-game shutout. Sorenson tossed 44.1 innings during the 2019 season.

A trio of Warriors will join the Brockton Rox of the FCBL. Rising senior and NE10 All-Conference shortstop Nick Shumski will suit up for the Rox this summer after his breakout spring season. The Salem, N.H. native enjoyed a career year offensively, posting career highs in average (.297), hits (57), runs scored (42) while enjoying an unprecedented year for the program defensively. He posted a career-best .971 fielding percentage at shortstop, committing just seven errors and leading the team with 145 assists. Returning graduate student Cory Wasylow and rising sophomore Sean Thompson will also be on the Rox roster this summer. The former appeared in 27 games in Merrimack’s outfield this spring while the latter made seven appearances and six starts as part of the team’s pitching staff.

Rising seniors Thomas Joyce and Stephen Fleury will face off against the Rox triumvirate as the duo will be teammates this summer with the upstart Westfield Starfires of the FCBL. Joyce was a middle-of-the-order bat for the Warriors in 2019, tying for the team lead with a career-high 41 RBI. He drew a team-best 30 walks and led the Warriors with a .409 on-base percentage, the second time in three years he has posted an OPS of at least .400. Fleury served as a right-handed arm in Merrimack’s bullpen, appearing in 11 innings across eight appearances.

Freshman Cedric Gillette will be the sixth Warriors in the FCBL, suiting up for the North Shore Navigators. The Andover, Mass. native came on strong in the second half of the season, posting a 2.09 ERA over his last 17.2 innings of work that featured six total appearances and two starts. Gillette won both of his starts, throwing a five-inning outing in his first collegiate start against American International before a six-inning victory against Saint Anselm.

Four rising sophomores and a senior who missed this spring due to injury round out the summer placements. Michael Golankiewicz will play for the Glens Falls Dragons of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. He was an all-rookie team selection in 2019, emerging as an important bat for Merrimack as well as an above-average defender in left field. Golankiewicz hit .258 with three home runs and 27 RBI during the year, tying the most homers hit by a true freshman at Merrimack since 2002. Fellow first-year Warriors Jack Lynch and Ben Nelson will compete in the GNCBL in Maine this summer, with specific placements to be announced tomorrow.

Classmate LT Pare will be traveling the furthest of any Warriors, joining the Staunton Braves of the Valley Baseball League in Staunton, Va. The right-handed hurler made three appearances during his debut season. Connor Suech rounds out the group, joining the Syracuse Salt Cats of the NYCBL. Suech – one of Merrimack’s four catchers – missed the 2019 year, but hit .250 with a .393 slugging percentage as Merrimack’s backup catcher in 2018.

All six leagues featuring Merrimack student-athletes begin their 2019 schedules either this weekend or next week, beginning with Fleury, Joyce and the Starfires tonight at 7 p.m. against the Bristol Blues.

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