By Matt Williams
---- — The Endicott College and Salem State University baseball teams enjoyed two of the most successful regular seasons in all of New England. As they turn their attention to the playoffs, both the Gulls and Vikings reaped major rewards in their respective Commonwealth Coast Conference and MASCAC awards released yesterday.
Salem State’s Richard Fecteau of Newbury was named MASCAC Player of the Year while Ryan Hyjek was the MASCAC Pitcher of the year. Similarly, Endicott’s Tad Gold was CCC Player of the Year, the Gulls’ J.J. Branch was CCC Pitcher of the Year, Cam Farnham was CCC Rookie of the Year and Bryan Haley earned his second straight CCC Coach of the Year nod.
A centerfielder from Martha’s Vineyard, Gold ranks in the top five in his league in 13 different categories and led the league in runs (50), hits (59), triples (8) and total bases (86). He hit .431, slugged .628 and stole 22 bases with 33 RBI, and ranked fourth nationally in runs and fifth in triples. Gold also set Endicott program records in career runs (153), triples (22) and steals (88).
Branch, a righty from Milford, didn’t allow a run in conference play this season and sports a cumulative earned run average of 1.88. Opponents are hitting just .222 against him, an Endicott record, and he led the league with five complete games and two shutouts. Branch is 6-1 on the season and went 4-0 in league play.
The Rookie of the Year, Farnham, is from Andover and is riding a 10-game hitting streak into the playoffs. He hit .343 was a rookie and reached base in each of his 13 conference games, and struck out only eight times all season.
Meanwhile in the MASCAC, Fecteau followed up being Rookie of the Year in 2013 with an MVP-caliber 2014 campaign. The second baseman hit .385 while leading the MASCAC in hits (6-), runs 945) and doubles (22). He also drove in 26 runs, slugged .596 and stole seven bags.
Hyjek emerged as an ace for the Vikings, leading the MASCAC in wins with six while posting a 2.10 ERA with 41 strikeouts, five complete games and four shutouts.
Gloucester’s Brett Cahill earned his second straight All-MASCAC nod at designated hitter after batting .408 and leading the league ith 32 RBI. Beverly native Ethan Trowt was All-MASCAC in the outfield and his fellow Garden City product Mike Lamothe (who graduated from Pingree) was the All-MASCAC second team catcher. Matt Burgess was also a second-team honoree at first base.
Among the CCC All-Conference honorees, Gold, Branch, catcher E.J. Martinez, second baseman Harry Oringer and third baseman Matt Paolo were all named to the first-team. Earning second-team honors were Farnham and first baseman Brett Holmgren
Elsewhere in the MASCAC, Bishop Fenwick graduate David Ruggiero of Peabody was named to the first team in his junior season at Worcester State. The Salem News baseball Player of the Year in 2011, Ruggiero hit .395 and drove in 21 runs while helped Worcester State snare a share of the MASCAC regular season crown.
Endicott (26-12 overall) is the top-seed in the upcoming CCC baseball tournament and is looking to win their second straight title, and sixth overall NCAA tournament appearance. They host Wentworth in their first postseason game on Friday.
Salem State, which is 26-14 overall, opens the MASCAC tournament Friday when the host the winner of today’s Bridgewater State/Framingham State matchup. The Vikings, coached by Mike Ward, are looking for their second straight conference title and fifth overall NCAA tournament berth.