2008 Season Review: Monks First Year
in GNAC Results in Championship
Saint Joseph's College Baseball captures 2008 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Title
STANDISH, ME - The Saint Joseph's College Baseball
team completed its first season in the Great Northeast Athletic
Conference in exciting fashion, coming out of the number four seed
in the conference tournament to capture the title in the team's
first year of competition in the conference.
The 2008 campaign began on March 2nd in Florida at the Port Charlotte Invitational. After losing two out of the first three games the Monks rebounded, winning five out of their last six in Florida. The Monks completed the spring trip to the sunshine state with wins over Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Thomas More College, Northland College, Olivet College and Misericordia University. With a 6-3 record coming out of Florida, expectations were high for the Royal Blue as the team headed north.
The next stop for St. Joe's baseball was a weekend trip to the Washington DC area for games with Catholic University and Salisbury University. Little did the team know that this trip would begin a skid that would put a successful season in jeopardy. On March 20th SJC split a doubleheader with Catholic University thanks to the offensive punch of Ryan Murphy (2-3 with 2 RBI) and Luke Enman (2-3 with 2 runs scored) in game two. On March 21st the Monks dropped a doubleheader to nationally-ranked Salisbury University. The slide continued the following weekend as the Monks began conference play. A disappointing weekend was the result as St. Joe's lost all four games in their first conference weekend with Suffolk University and Johnson and Wales. After losing 7 out of 8 games the team dropped to 7-10 and there was a great deal of soul-searching in Standish. With a talented squad and a positive attitude, SJC was looking to rebound as the team entered the month of April.
April 2008 proved to be a defining month for SJC baseball as the team began the process of turning the season around. The pitching staff led the way in a four-game conference weekend vs. Emerson College and Daniel Webster College. In game one of the weekend Pat Moran gave up 3 hits while notching 8 strikeouts as the Monks won 9-1 over Emerson. In the second game Mike Burdin went on to provide a solid outing on the hill as he scattered 8 hits giving up no earned runs in a 7-1 SJC victory. Things were starting to look up as the Monks completed the four-game conference weekend with a doubleheader sweep of Daniel Webster College.
Next came one of the biggest non-conference doubleheaders of the season as St. Joe's played host to Bowdoin College. Coach Sanborn sent a pair of sophomore lefties, Kyle Dorr and Andrew Keirstead, to the mound against the Polar Bears and couldn't help but be pleased with the results as SJC swept a doubleheader from Bowdoin 12-3 and 10-0 to improve to 13-10. Thus began a month of April that would see Saint Joseph's College go 18-4 and return to regional prominence.
The highlight of the 2008 season came in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament. Finishing the conference regular season as the #4 seed, St. Joe's opened the conference tournament by hosting Albertus Magnus College in a preliminary contest. The two teams had split during the regular season and the crowd was large as St. Joe's hosted its first ever GNAC playoff game. Eight Monks notched hits and Luke Enman led the way by going 2-4 with 3 RBI as St. Joe's advanced to the next round by defeating Albertus Magnus 10-6. Pat Moran (7 IP, 2 ER, 7 Ks) pitched well as Chris Dion and Andrew Keirstead finished out the victory.
Next the tournament would move to Suffolk University as SJC would take on the #1 seed. Prior to this game St. Joe's had lost to Suffolk four straight times (two in 2007 and two in 2008). Coach Sanborn sent lefty Andrew Keirstead to the mound for the most important game of the year. Keirstead was masterful as he bested Suffolk starter Steve Durant for the 7-1 victory. Keirstead tossed 9 innings while scattering 9 hits and helped Coach Sanborn notch his 400th career victory. Wade Oliver (2-5, 2 RBI), Brian Schools (2-5), and Luke Enman (3-5) led the offense to the most satisfying victory of the season.
The road to the GNAC title would not be easy as the next tourney opponent would be #2 seed Johnson and Wales University. Mason Roberge scattered 8 hits over 5 2/3 innings and Chris Dion notched the save with 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, one-run relief as the Monks defeated the Wildcats 6-4. Luke Enman and Dustin Spiller led the way with 2 hits apiece as SJC moved on to the championship game.
Suffolk University was once again the opponent as St. Joe's attempted to win the GNAC in the team's first year in the conference. Pat Moran came through with a Curt Schilling-type of performance. Still recovering from a leg injury, Moran pitched 7 2/3 innings while giving up only three earned runs on four strikeouts and one walk. Andrew Keirstead pitched the last 1 1/3 innings for the save as SJC won a thriller by the score of 6-5. The Monks offense was paced by Luke Enman (2-4, two runs), Ben Grant-Roy (2-4, two RBI) and Todd Keneborus (2-4, one run). Luke Enman's dramatic home run in the eighth inning provided the margin of victory for the Royal Blue. With the triumph, St. Joe's captured its first-ever GNAC title and secured a place in the NCAA DIII New England Regional Baseball Tournament for the third-consecutive year.
Saint Joseph's was defeated in the first two games of the 2008 NCAA DIII New England Regional - a disappointing end to an otherwise very successful season. The team finished with a 28-18 record and won the GNAC Championship - a great achievement in the first year of GNAC membership. Many players had excellent individual seasons for the Monks including:
Luke Enman - Senior - Luke hit .368 with 46 runs scored, 56 hits including 12 doubles, 7 triples, 7 home runs and 41 RBI. Luke was selected as the GNAC Player of the Year and was selected for the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association All- Star Game which was played at Fenway Park. Enman was also named to the GNAC All-Conference Team and the GNAC All-Tournament Team.
Ben Grant-Roy - Sophomore - Ben played a fine first base and finished the season with some impressive offensive numbers. Ben hit .367 with 37 runs scored and 54 hits. He had 6 doubles and 7 home runs while delivering 41 RBIs. Ben was named to the GNAC All-Conference Team.
Dustin Spiller - Senior - Dustin has been remarkably consistent in his time at SJC and is senior year was no different. He hit .341 with 45 runs and 51 hits. Dustin hit 18 doubles and had 39 RBI.
Wade Oliver - Junior - Wade had another fine year hitting .341 with 45 runs and 56 hits, 12 doubles and 30 RBI. Wade was named to the GNAC All-Conference Team and the GNAC All-Tournament Team and was also the recipient of the 2008 Saint Joseph's College Baseball Gold Glove Award.
Andrew Keirstead - Sophomore - Andrew was 6-3 with a 4.72 ERA and was named the GNAC Tournament MVP and SJC Pitcher of the Year.
Ian Lee - Freshman - was named SJC and GNAC Rookie of the Year while hitting .341 with 33 RBIs.
Pat Moran - Sophomore - In his first season with SJC Pat was 4-5 with a 3.88 ERA and was named to the GNAC All-Tournament Team after recording two key wins in the tourney.
Brian Schools - Senior - .304 with 45 hits, 35 Runs and a .351 on base percentage. Brian was named the team Most Dedicated Player.
Stephan Gorsun - Junior - was selected as the recipient of the Saint Joseph's College Baseball Coaches Award for his leadership and dedication to SJC Baseball.
David Doucette - Senior Captain - was honored as he received the Robert R. Doyle award for his contribution to St. Joe's baseball.
Michael Hebenstreit - Junior - was honored with the 2008 GNAC Sportsmanship Award. Michael's unselfish play and sportsmanship made him an inspiration to his teammates. His countless hours of catching in the bullpen truly made the Monks a better team.
As a team, the 2008 Monks hit an impressive .321 with 28 home runs and a .399 on base percentage. On the mound the Royal Blue pitchers posted a 28-18 record with 6 saves. The staff posted a 4.67 team ERA in 343 innings of work, while striking out 213 batters and holding the opposition to a .283 batting average.
"I am very excited about the direction the program is going in" said head coach Will Sanborn. "We will miss these six seniors a great deal; they have been a major part of our success both on the field and off. (Four year record of 124-50-1 with four conference championships) I am excited about the young men that are coming in this Fall. We should be very competitive in 2009."
Let the record show; 2008 was another banner year for St. Joseph's College baseball and head coach Will Sanborn.