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Here we go folks...

College '04 Preview:
America East Conference

+ 2003 conference tournament champion
* 2003 conference leader
# Not eligible for 2004 draft

Conference Power Ranking: 21

HOW THEY'LL FINISH

1. Maine
2. Vermont
3. +Northeastern
4. Stony Brook
5. Maryland-Baltimore County
6. Albany
7. Binghamton
8. Hartford

Projected NCAA Teams (1): Maine.

Conference Schedule: 21 games. Schedule begins April 9.

Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 27-29 at Orono, Me.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

C--Aaron Izaryk, Jr., Maine (.310-2-34).
1B--Barry Chamberland, Sr., Vermont (.346-11-41).
2B--Kevin Brooks, Sr., Maryland-Baltimore County (.356-0-13).
3B--Tim Bush, Jr., Northeastern (.353-4-36).
SS--Bobby Tewksbary, Jr., Vermont (*.357-5-30).
OF--Chris Emanuele, So., Northeastern (.335-5-31); Ryan Quintal, So., Maine (.340-5-25); Simon Williams, Sr., Maine (.286-3-17).
DH--Jay Balback, Sr., Binghamton (.312-*12-26).
P--Justin Hedrick, Jr., Northeastern (7-2, 3.47; 70 IP/89 SO); Mike MacDonald, Sr., Maine (7-5, 3.28; 82 IP/82 SO); Greg Norton, So., Maine (7-1, 2.97).

Player of the Year: Bobby Tewksbary, ss, Vermont.

TOP PROSPECTS

1. Bobby Tewksbary, ss, Vermont.
2. #Greg Norton, rhp, Maine.
3. #Chris Emanuele, of, Northeastern.
4. Justin Hedrick, rhp, Northeastern.
5. Mike MacDonald, rhp, Maine.

TOP NEWCOMER

Andy Hutchings, rhp, Binghamton (2-2, 2.91 at College of Charleston).

SHORT HOPS

Vermont set a school record for wins in capturing its first America East regular season title last year, but the Catamounts missed their first NCAA tournament bid since 1962 when they failed to win the conference tournament. Three of their top four pitchers graduated or moved on to pro ball, but the Catamounts return conference player of the year Bobby Tewksbary (.357-5-30), a junior shortstop who topped the America East in hitting and on-base percentage . . . Maine should provide the stiffest challenge for Vermont, even as it lost RHP Mike Collar (8-3, 3.25), who was drafted in the eighth round by the Astros. The Black Bears have plenty of pitching returning in senior RHPs Ryan Harris (4-3, 3.80) and Mike MacDonald (7-5, 3.28), and sophomore RHP Greg Norton (7-1, 2.97) . . . Defending champion Northeastern is counting on a big season from 6-foot-3, 215-pound Justin Hedrick (7-2, 3.47), who averaged a league-best 11.44 strikeouts per nine innings last year and led the Cape Cod League with 68 strikeouts, while going 3-2, 1.96 for Harwich . . . Maryland-Baltimore County was added to the conference, expanding its boundary to the south by 200 miles. The Retrievers are counting on the two-way efforts of sophomore RHP/DH Zach Clark (1-1, 4.09; .314-0-3), who will be their No. 1 starter and hit in the middle of the order . . . With the addition of UMBC, the America East will resort to three-game conference series--two nine-inning games and one seven--instead of four seven-inning games . . . Binghamton hopes to improve considerably on a 2-20 conference record with the addition of senior RHP Andy Hutchings, a transfer from the College of Charleston. Hutchings, who attended Binghamton High and was drafted in the 27th round by the Astros in 2000, set a school record with 12 saves at Charleston in 2002. He went 2-2, 2.91 in 16 appearances for the Cougars in 2003 . . . Hartford 3B Ron Acabbo (.295-7-24) returns for his senior year after leading Peschell's Bakery of the West Haven, Conn., Twilight League to the 90th National Amateur Baseball Federation Major World Series title in Louisville. Acabbo hit .466 on the summer and led the tournament with a .478 average.
 

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Thanks for the baseball post, NU Hoop Fan. I think having only 3 conference games per series helps Maine because the drop-off between their #3 and #4 starters was fairly big IMHO. Should be a great season and is most likely a battle between Maine, Vermont, Northeastern and Stony Brook. I think there will be pretty decent crowds this time around in Orono for the AE Championship.
 
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