WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross baseball team was selected to finish in a tie for first place, with Army, in the 2013 Patriot League Preseason Poll. Patriot League baseball coaches and sports information directors participated in the preseason poll and awards voting, and could not vote for their own team or student-athletes. In addition, Holy Cross junior third baseman Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) was tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year.
The Both the Crusaders and Black Knights received 45 points in the voting, with Holy Cross getting six first place votes to Army's five. Finishing in third place was Navy with 32 points, followed by Bucknell, who had 29 points and one first place vote. Lafayette was picked fifth with 15 points, while Lehigh rounded out the teams with 14 points.
Holy Cross also had six players named to the inaugural Preseason All-Patriot League team, the most out of any team in the conference. In addition to Ahmed at third base, senior relief pitcher John Colella (Herndon, Va.), senior first baseman Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif,), senior shortstop Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.), senior outfielder Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) and junior outfielder Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) all were selected to the team.
In 2012, Ahmed batted .295 as he had 61 hits and team-highs of 39 runs scored and seven home runs. Colella appeared in a Holy Cross record 29 games in 2012 and posted a 6-1 record with a team-best 2.32 ERA, as well as a school-record 11 saves. Enos played 47 games a season ago at first base and catcher and finished the campaign with a .305 batting average, 46 hits, 23 RBI and a team-best 11 doubles.
Maldonado started in all 55 games in 2012 and had a .292 batting average while leading the team with 62 hits and 14 stolen bases. Puentes ranked first on the team with a .343 batting average as he had 46 hits and 28 runs scored. Cipolla rounds out the preseason team selection, as in 2012 he played in all 55 games and was second on the squad with a .323 batting average. He also had 52 hits, 10 doubles, 28 RBI and five home runs.
Holy Cross will begin the 2013 season on Saturday, Feb. 23 as it will travel to Blacksburg, Va. to take on Virginia Tech and Temple in a doubleheader. The Crusaders will play their first contest at Fitton Field on Tuesday, March 19 versus rival Boston College.
2013 Patriot League Baseball Preseason Poll
1. Holy Cross, 45 points (6 first-place votes)
1. Army, 45 points (5)
3. Navy, 32
4. Bucknell, 29 (1)
5. Lafayette, 15
6. Lehigh, 14
Patriot League Baseball Preseason Player of the Year: Mike Ahmed, Holy Cross (Jr., 3B)
Patriot League Baseball Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Chris Rowley, Army (Sr., SP)
Preseason All-Patriot League Team
SP: Chris Rowley, Army (Sr.)
SP: Ben Nelson, Navy (Sr.)
RP: John Colella, Holy Cross (Sr.)
C: Joe Abeln, Lehigh (Jr.)
1B: Jordan Enos, Holy Cross (Sr.)
2B: Kevin Casey, Lafayette (Sr.)
SS: Alex Maldonado, Holy Cross (Sr.)
3B: Mike Ahmed, Holy Cross (Jr.)
OF: Brandon Cipolla, Holy Cross (Jr.)
OF: Greg Dupell, Navy (Sr.)
OF: Patrick Puentes, Holy Cross (Sr.)
DH: Mark McCants, Army (So.)