EMass teams dominate field for first Super 8 baseball tournament
FRANKLIN — The field for the first MIAA Super 8 baseball tournament was announced Monday, with all eight teams hailing from Eastern Massachusetts.
In a 47-minute process conducted by the tournament’s selection committee, Newton North (19-1) was awarded the top seed, followed by No. 2 St. John’s Prep, No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham, No. 4 Silver Lake, No. 5 Braintree, No. 6 Lincoln-Sudbury, No. 7 Lowell, and No. 8 Catholic Memorial.
The inaugural selection committee consisted of 11 members, all representing different areas of MIAA baseball leadership: Alex Campea, Baseball Chair; Don Fredricks, Super 8 Director; Steve Frecker of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association (MBCA); Jon Beverly, MBCA; David King, West Baseball; Bob McNamara, Central Baseball; Mike Del Rossa, Massachusetts Baseball Umpires Association; Marc Talbot, Baseball Committee; Craig Nanajarian, Baseball Committee; Dan McGarry, South Tournament Director; and Craig Genualdo, North Tournament Director.
Campea recused himself from the nomination and voting process due to his past ties with Catholic Memorial and Braintree, and Fredricks recused himself because his son, Kirk, is the head coach at Lincoln-Sudbury, leaving nine voting members.
After being nominated, teams needed a majority of five votes to move on to the second round of consideration and could automatically be placed in the final field of eight with a unanimous first-round vote. Then once the eight teams were determined, the committee voted on seeding.
Don Fredricks was pleased with how efficient the process was.
“I think it was terrific” he said. “I think [MIAA executive director] Richard Pearson and Alex Campea did a wonderful job at executing what we wanted to here at the table and I think it would be tough to argue against any of these eight teams that made it.”
At the beginning of the nomination process, Fredricks stated that the committee had no quotas it had to reach regarding region, division, or public versus private schools. The committee followed suit, nominating only one team from Central (St. John’s of Shrewsbury) and Western Mass (Westfield). However, the Pioneers (15-7) and Bombers (15-5) were denied further consideration. Pope John Paul II (21-1) and Peabody (16-5) were also nominated but denied further consideration.
Bridgewater-Raynham was the first team nominated, getting eight of nine votes. Next Newton North and St. John’s Prep each received unanimous votes of approval to earn the Tigers and Eagles automatic spots in the Super 8 field. BC High (12-8), last year’s Division 1 South runner-up, and Billerica (13-5), last year’s Division 1 North champion, were the only two teams that advanced to the second round of consideration but failed to make it into the tournament, bringing the total of teams nominated to 14.
All first-round matchups will be played Wednesday, starting at 4 p.m. Catholic Memorial will play at Newton North, Lowell will play at St. John’s Prep, Lincoln-Sudbury will visit Bridgewater-Raynham, and Braintree plays at Silver Lake.
Newton North defeated CM, 4-0, at home on May 3.
Bridgewater-Raynham will have a rematch with Lincoln-Sudbury after defeating the Warriors, 12-4, on April 10.
“Lincoln-Sudbury is a very well-coached and talented team who played great down the stretch,” Trojans coach John Kearney said. “They’re going to be a real challenge for us.’’
Despite failing to get a home game, Braintree coach Bill O’Connell is happy with the results of the meeting.
“Our guys are going to relish going on the road,” he said. “Silver Lake is a great team, but I don’t know if there’s much disadvantage to playing on the road, these are all some of the best eight teams in the state.”