Seven players, head coach Szafarski involved with summer baseball teams

Seven players, head coach Szafarski involved with summer baseball teams

COLCHESTER, Vt. - With their college seasons complete, seven Saint Michael's College baseball student-athletes are amid summer campaigns in leagues stretching from New England to South Carolina, while head coach Jason Szafarski is serving the same position with the Upper Valley Nighthawks of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL).

Rising seniors Colin Brennan (Braintree, Mass./Boston College HS) and Patrick Martin (Wilton, N.H./Wilton-Lyndeborough Coop/Saint Joseph's [Maine]) and rising juniors Christiane Devine (Exeter, N.H./Exeter), Drew Farris (Andover, Mass./Saint John's Prep), Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex), Alex Sprague (Nottingham, N.H./Proctor Academy) and Sean Winthrop (Hopkinton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) are all playing summer ball.

Brennan, a left-handed reliever who posted a 3.27 earned run average with a 1-0 record in career highs of 22 innings and nine games for the Purple Knights this spring, is playing for the Al Thomas Athletics of the Boston-based Yawkey Baseball League for the third straight summer. Brennan is 1-0 with one save and a 0.00 ERA through three games, having struck out five batters in three innings. At 9-2, the Athletics are first in the 13-team league, which traces back to the 1950s and touts itself as the largest amateur baseball organization in Boston. Teams play 32-game regular seasons before the postseason begins in August. Visit yawkeybaseball.com for more information.

In his first season after transferring to Saint Michael's, Martin logged a staff-best 40.1 innings on the mound while making nine appearances, including six starts. Martin walked only five batters all season, placing him 11th in Division II with 1.12 walks per nine innings. The righty is pitching for Summit Title of the Concord (N.H.) Sunset League, which started in 1909 and is the oldest evening amateur baseball league in the country. The league's top three teams qualify for the postseason, which starts late next month. Learn more here.

Devine yielded a team-low .240 batting average to his opponents during nine games this spring while going 2-2, and posted a 0.44 ERA in seven outings from the bullpen. He surrendered just one earned run during 20.2 frames of relief. Devine is a member of the Rawlings Stars of the six-year-old Beach Collegiate Baseball League, whose 10 teams are all based in Myrtle Beach, S.C. At 6-4-1, the Stars are second in the Coastal Division, with the season running until June 29. Visit here to learn more.

On June 20, Devine joined the NECBL's Winnipesaukee (N.H.) Muskrats, whose website is here. The NECBL began play in 1994 and has become a nationally-recognized top-tier league, with teams in all six New England states. The league champion is decided in August, and top players are scouted and often selected in the MLB Amateur Draft. Learn more at necbl.com.

Farris is pitching for the North Shore (Mass.) Baseball League's Kingston Night Owls, who began the season 6-0. Farris, who is competing in a league that has been in existence since the late 1800s, led all Division II hurlers in walks per nine innings (0.47) this spring - walking two in 38.2 frames - while placing fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.5). He made 10 appearances, tying for the team lead with six starts. Find more about his summer team at northshorebaseball.com.

Sprague made a team-high 11 appearances on the mound for the Purple Knights, with 10 coming in relief. He earned one save and yielded a .267 opposing batting average while striking out 16 in 19.2 frames. Sprague is a member of the Crown Point Sharks of the second-year Mid-Atlantic Collegiate League, which is based in Virginia Beach, Va. Its website is here. The seven teams each play 24 regular-season games before the postseason starts in July. The 3-1 Sharks are tied for first place.

Robertson and Winthrop are both playing in the seven-year-old Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL), whose teams play 56 regular-season games prior to August's postseason. Its nine squads are scattered across Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, with Robertson's Seacoast Mavericks in the latter. The Mavericks are 5-7, while Robertson has scored two runs while seeing time in six contests as an outfielder. A first baseman in college, Winthrop is patrolling the outfield for the 7-6, first-place Martha's Vineyard (Mass.) Sharks while hitting .333 with nine runs. He is tied for seventh in the league in runs. Visit thefuturesleague.com for more.

During the spring, Robertson led Saint Michael's in average (.311), doubles (7), triples (3), runs (17) and sacrifice flies (4) while coming within one of the lead in RBIs (12) and stealing four bases. Robertson fielded at a .984 clip between catcher, second base, third base and the outfield. The Purple Knights' starting first baseman, Winthrop batted .267 with a team-high 13 RBIs to go along with 16 runs and five doubles.

Having just completed his first season of college head coaching, Szafarski is amid his debut season guiding the NECBL's Upper Valley Nighthawks, based in Hartford, Vt. Szafarski's charges, who hail primarily from Division I institutions but also represent a few Division II and III colleges, are 4-2 and in first place in the Northern Division early in their 42-game regular-season schedule. Visit the Nighthawks' website here.

Szafarski is head coach of a summer squad for the fourth straight year, having led the Brockton (Mass.) Rox of the FCBL to a combined 61-51 mark the last two years after guiding the start-up Montauk (N.Y.) Mustangs of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League in 2014. Szafarski was named 2015 FCBL Co-Manager of the Year.

Learn What Matters