CLAREMONT, Calif. - The CMS Baseball team's opening exhibition against CETYS was canceled due to weather and the Stags will play their regular season opener against Lewis & Clark on Friday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. The Stags today were picked to finish seventh in SCIAC Preseason Poll as voted on by the league's member institutions.
The Stags finished 18-22 overall and 9-15 in the SCIAC a season ago and were picked to finish seventh in the SCIAC in the first preseason poll this season. The 2018 season marked the third consecutive year with a noted improvement in the win column and the Stags look to build on the growth and development over the last three seasons.
CMS Baseball returns four of its top five hitters from a year ago, including its leading batter CJ Novogradac (Sr., CMC), who played in 39 games last season and finished with a .346 batting average. Novogradac was honored by D3baseball.com with a First-Team All-Region selection and was named to the Third-Team All-Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association. The senior from Oakland, added to his vast selection of awards with an CoSIDA Academic All-American selection, joining Briana Halle from the softball team respectively.
Outfielder Henri Levenson (Jr., CMC) was third on the team in hitting (min. 30 GP) with a .311 batting average and first on the team with 31 RBI. Levenson was named Second-Team All-SCIAC after his outpouring in 2018. Levenson had a hit in 30 of his 40 games played a season ago, including a season-ending eight-game hitting streak and a season-high four hits twice (1st; vs. Sul Ross St, 2/10, 2nd; at Occidental, 3/24). The Bedford, Mass. native recorded 13 multi-hit games including four-straight to end the season.
Infielder Patrick Gavin (So., CMC) appeared in 39 games during his first year with the Stags, tallying 36 hits for a .247 batting average, led CMS with seven home runs, and finished second on the team with 17 extra-base hits. Gavin's numbers in conference were better than his non-conference totals. In SCIAC play, his batting average went up nearly 30 points and his slugging percentage almost 50 points higher to earn SCIAC Newcomer of the Year.
Right-handed pitcher Justin Hull (Jr., CMC) returns for his junior season after leading the Stags with five wins and earning Second-Team All-SCIAC honors in 2018. Hull also paced the team in innings pitched (77.2), and strikeouts (60). The senior from Palo Alto, was the only CMS pitcher to throw a complete game doing so three times. He earned solid results in conference play, tossing 56.0 innings in eight starts, tossing to the tune of a 3.21 ERA with an opponent batting average of .248. Hull was 5-1 in SCIAC games, including his best start of the year on Mar. 4 against La Verne. In that start, Hull tossed a complete game, scattering seven hits and allowing one run (unearned) while striking out five.
Not only did the 2018 CMS Baseball team see an improvement on the field, but also for the first time in program history the American Baseball Coaches Association selected the Stags as winners of the Team Academic Excellence Award. CMS was one of 76 Division III baseball programs nationwide to earn this honor.
The 2019 Stags are made up of nine seniors including Novogradac, Deji Andrew, Nick DeGallier, Ben Meyer, Ryan Motter, Jack Savard, Pat Shore, and Andre Simoneau. Along with Levenson and Hull joining the Stags feature nine total juniors, Cameron Cash, Zach Clarke, Konnor Kwok, Brandon Louie, Truman Miller, Kevin Nakahara, and Nate Tolles. Eight sophomores and the largest class of 10 players make up the first year Stags.
CMS concluded last season on a high-note with a doubleheader sweep of Cal Lutheran on the final day of the regular season to knock the Kingsman out of the SCIAC Tournament, and open the 2019 campaign on Friday, Feb. 8 against Lewis & Clark at 2 p.m. from Bill Arce Field. The Stags begin SCIAC action on Feb. 22 at Cal Lutheran at 2:30 p.m.
2019 SCIAC Preseason Poll
1. Chapman (6) - 76 points
2. La Verne (1) - 68 points
3. Cal Lutheran (1) - 65 points
4. Redlands - 51 points
5. Pomona-Pitzer (1) - 47 points
6. Occidental - 34 points
7. CMS - 33 points
8. Whittier - 22 points
9. Caltech - 9 points