Tag Archives: NEWMAC Baseball

Mass. College Baseball: Wheaton’s Gibbons Signs With New York Mets

By NoontimeSports.com 

Wheaton College rising senior Mike Gibbons signed a free agent contract with the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB) for the 2015 season, as announced in a release this afternoon (which we’ve provided below). The release is courtesy of Wheaton College’s sports information office:

NORTON, Mass. – Wheaton College rising senior and right-handed pitcher Mike Gibbons (Simsbury, Conn./Avon Old Farms) has signed a free agent contract with the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB) for the 2015 season.

“It’s difficult to find the words to match the current emotions that I am feeling from signing with the New York Mets. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and something I have always dreamed about. I am ecstatic to be able to represent Wheaton College and Wheaton’s baseball program at the professional level,” said Gibbons. “Coach [Eric] Podbelski and coach [Ryan] Parker have helped mold me into becoming the pitcher that I am today, and I am grateful to have played under them for three years at Wheaton. My family has given me the love and support to achieve my goals, and the ability to attend a college with superb academics and athletics.”

Last season, Gibbons appeared in 12 games (nine starts) and posted a 4-1 record with a 1.89 earned run average (ERA) alongside 37 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched. Gibbons also held opponents to a .203 batting average and induced an 11.84 groundouts per game ratio. Overall in his Wheaton career, Gibbons compiled a 9-3 record for the Lyons and a 2.63 ERA through 106 innings of work.

“I’m really happy for Mike, and while we’ll certainly miss his contributions, I know that this represents an opportunity that is very difficult to pass up,” said Wheaton College baseball head coach Eric Podbelski. “I told Mike when this started to develop that he had our full support and to concentrate on making the choice that was right for him.”

“Mike’s talent and further potential is obvious. He has come so far since he first arrived, making big leaps in his development each year. That is a testament, first of all to his natural ability, but also to his determination to keep getting better. Nothing has been handed to Mike, he has earned every inning that he has pitched at Wheaton and has gotten significantly better as a result.”

This summer, Gibbons shined for the Torrington Titans of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) going 4-2 with 59 strikeouts – ranked third best in the league – in 50 2/3 innings pitched. Gibbons also held opponents to a .240 batting average, posted a 1.26 WHIP, a 10.48 strikeout per nine innings ratio and fanned a season-high 11 batters in two different games for the Titans.

“In the offseason this past winter, I worked hard to gain strength and stamina to help my pitching ability and I think it carried through this summer. I continued to work out and follow a regime to give my body the foundation to throw well. I gained a decent amount of velocity in the summer thanks to the regime I was following and becoming more fluid throughout my pitching delivery,” explained Gibbons. “Early on, I was not getting the results I wanted even though I felt like my stuff was pretty good, so I just kept persisting and looking forward to the next start and just trying to have a quality outing. At the end of the season, I started to string along quality starts which built up my confidence and allowed me to throw more aggressively. There are obviously things that I still need to work on, but that is the beauty of baseball and sports in general, because you can always improve and that’s what drives me.”

Gibbons joins Chris Denorfia ’02 and Jamie Baker ’06 as the only Wheaton student-athletes to sign with an MLB team in the program’s 17-year varsity existence. Denorfia was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 19th round of the MLB amateur draft in June 2002 and currently plays for the Seattle Mariners, while Baker inked a deal with the San Diego Padres in September 2006 after completing his first year of professional baseball with the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball’s Nashua Pride.

Gibbons also becomes the eighth student-athlete in program history to sign a professional contract to play baseball, joining Mark Brown ’06Chris Martin ’06Adam Laplante ’07Chris McDonough ’08 and Jon Shepard ’10 and the aforementioned Denorfia and Baker on the list. In addition, among all eight student-athletes to sign a professional baseball contract, Gibbons is the first to be offered, and sign, a professional contract before his senior season.

“It’s further proof that if a young man chooses Wheaton as the place to further his academic and baseball career, and if you truly have the ability, you will not go unnoticed,” stated Podbelski. “You don’t choose Wheaton to ‘get drafted,’ you choose it for the whole package – the academics, the community feel in and out of the classroom, the beautiful campus and the chance to be part of a traditionally successful baseball program.”

“That said, it doesn’t hurt that we have some concrete examples which show that you can develop here and be noticed. For the majority who don’t get the opportunity, they walk away with a great education and four years’ worth of great memories, having played the sport they love at a highly competitive collegiate level.”

Wheaton advanced to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship game for the 14th time in the 16-year history of the league after claiming its 15th NEWMAC regular season title in 2014. The Lyons also produced a 27-16-1 record which marks their 15th season in program history with 25 or more wins.

Puccio Named Head Baseball Coach At Nichols

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s yesterday’s release about Nick Puccio being named the new head coach of the Bison baseball team:

DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College Director of Athletics Charlie Robert has announced the hiring of Nick Puccio as head baseball coach.

Puccio spent the last three seasons at Wheaton (MA) College and was a key member of the coaching staff which guided the team to three NCAA Tournament appearances – including the College World Series National Championship game in 2012. During his time in Norton, Puccio coached 13 student-athletes who earned All-New England Honors, another 13 who garnered All-New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) honors, and one All-America selection.

“I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to be the head baseball coach at Nichols College,” said Puccio, who will relocate to Dudley later this summer. “I am very grateful for the opportunity that Charlie Robert has given me. I see nothing but great things in the future of the program.”

Puccio – the lead hitting coach as well as the third base coach for longtime Wheaton head coach Eric Podbelski – saw the Lyons receive the NEWMAC Team Sportsmanship Award on two occasions. Responsible for recruiting the northeast region, Puccio also assisted Podbelski with all day-to-day operations of the program. Puccio is currently the hitting coach and camp director for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

“Working for Eric Podbelski has been one of the greatest experiences in my coaching career,” explained Puccio. “He is one of the best, if not the best, baseball coach I have been around. I have learned so much from him as far as how to maintain a roster and how to go about your job every single day. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.”

Puccio began his collegiate coaching career in 2008 at Dean College, where he was the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for two years. He helped the Bulldogs win a school-record 27 games in 2009 and saw four student-athletes selected to the all-region team. Puccio returned to his alma mater, Fitchburg State, in 2010 and spent one year as an assistant coach and camp coordinator with the Falcons before he moved on to work as an assistant coach at Southeastern Iowa Community College in 2011.

While in Iowa, Puccio helped the Blackhawks win a program-record 44 games and post the seventh-highest winning pct. in the country (44-16; 733). Puccio – who was also the recruiting coordinator and community advisor – saw nine student-athletes earn All-Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) honors, two student-athletes garner All-America accolades, and two selected in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. The Blackhawks climbed as high as No. 14 in the national rankings during the season.

“I am very excited to have Nick at the helm of our baseball program,” said Robert. “He is well-known and respected throughout the New England baseball community. His passion for the game, along with his high energy, is a great fit for Nichols College, the athletics department and the baseball program.”

Puccio takes over a Bison team which won just five games in 2013 and missed the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) playoffs. “It’s no secret that we won with pitching and defense at Wheaton, as well as a very systematic offense,” said Puccio. “I plan on bringing all three with me to Nichols. We will go after guys who can defend, guys that can throw strikes and be front line arms, and guys who will bring a team mentality. Everyone needs to be pulling the ship in the same direction, and we are going to recruit student-athletes that want to be part of a championship program.”

Puccio received his associate of arts in education from Dean College in 2007 and his bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies from Fitchburg State in 2010. He is currently working towards a Master’s degree in sports management at American Public University.

VIDEO: Wheaton College Baseball Claims 12th NEWMAC Crown

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Wheaton College baseball team picked up their 34th win of the season on Sunday, as they defeated the Babson College Beavers, 11-2 in the NEWMAC championship to earn their 12th conference crown.

Wheaton, which earned an automatic bid for the upcoming NCAA Div. III tournament for the third consecutive year, will attempt to earn its first national championship in school history. The Lyons last appeared in the World Series in 2006, but fell short to Marietta 7-2.

Courtesy of Wheaton Athletics’ YouTube Page — here are some highlights from Sunday’s championship bout between the Beavers and Lyons.