WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross junior outfielder Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) was selected as the Patriot League Baseball Preseason Player of the Year, which was voted by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Ocello and seniors Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) and Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) were also named to the Preseason All-League team, while the Crusaders were tabbed third in the Patriot League Baseball Preseason Poll.
Army (five first place votes) and Navy (three first place votes) tied for first in the poll with 42 points each, while Holy Cross came in third with 35 points and a pair of first place tallies. Bucknell was picked fourth with 31 points and two first place votes, while Lehigh (17 points) and Lafayette (13 points) rounded out the poll.
Ocello, who was named first team All-Patriot League in 2013, batted .338 a season ago with 46 runs scored, 67 hits, three home runs, 25 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. His runs and hits total ranked first in the conference, while he was third in batting average and fourth in stolen bases and slugging percentage (.485). He is a career .302 hitter with 65 runs scored, 96 hits, three home runs, 36 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. Ocello has played in 103 games as a Crusader with 91 starts.
Barry, who started in 52 games at second base last season, batted .286 with 29 runs, 56 hits, eight doubles and 27 RBIs. He ranked first in the conference a season ago in sacrifice bunts (eight), ninth in total hits and was sixth in the league with 117 fielding assists, which was second on the team. In his career, Barry has played in 155 games with 152 starts (eighth most in school history) and has a .253 batting average with 125 hits, 60 runs and 68 RBIs.
Cipolla, who earned second team All-Patriot League laurels in 2013, had a career-best .333 batting average with 37 runs, 62 hits, 15 doubles, 30 RBIs and seven stolen bases. He ranked third in the conference with 89 total bases, fourth in hits, fifth in doubles and eighth in RBIs. Cipolla is a career .317 hitter with 76 runs scored, 118 hits, 26 doubles, eight home runs, 63 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He has appeared in 137 games over the course of his career with 107 starts.
The Holy Cross baseball team will begin the 2014 season with a four-game series at No. 4 Mississippi State on Feb 21-23. Last year, the Crusaders finished with a 28-25 overall record and claimed the first Patriot League regular season title in program history with a 15-5 mark in the conference. Holy Cross earned a berth into the Patriot League championship series a season ago, but was defeated by Army.
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Patriot League Baseball Preseason Poll
1. Army, 42 points (5 first-place votes)
1. Navy, 42 (3)
3. Holy Cross, 35 (2)
4. Bucknell, 31 (2)
5. Lehigh, 17
6. Lafayette, 13
Preseason Player of the Year: Evan Ocello, Holy Cross (Jr., OF)
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Stephen Moore, Navy (Jr., SP)
Preseason All-League Team
SP: Stephen Moore, Navy (Jr.); Alex Robinett, Army (Jr.)
RP: Nick Cassell, Lehigh (Sr.)
C: Joe Abeln, Lehigh (Sr.)
1B: Kash Manzelli, Navy (Sr.)
2B: Andrew Barry, Holy Cross (Sr.)
SS: Alex Jensen, Army (Jr.)
3B: Harold Earls, Army (Jr.)
OF: Brandon Cipolla, Holy Cross (Sr.); Evan Ocello, Holy Cross (Jr.); Jacob Page, Army (So.)
DH: Mark McCants, Army (Jr.)