NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Baseball team looks to the future

Coronavirus changed life for college students from coast to coast this spring. At Northern Essex Community College, it silenced the national power baseball team, coached by Jeff Mejia, taking a season of opportunity away as the coach was ready to add his son, also named Jeff to the Knights baseball roster.  This season, the home fields on Lake Kenoza will remain dormant.
The setback has not stopped Mejia from working hard to keep the run of trips to NJCAA Nationals intact, even with the off year. He recently announced three key recruits being added to his already expected-to-be loaded roster.  
The first to commit was Manchester Central High School’s slick Kevin Rodriguez. An all-state shortstop, who hit .375 for Central a year ago and swings a left-handed bat. He has an above-average arm according to Prep Baseball Report of New England.
“Proud to announce my commitment,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a big pickup for the Knights,” said coach Mejia via Twitter. 
 The Knights again went over the border for another key recruit, Kameron Levesque. He is an outfielder from Pinkerton Academy of Derry, who hit .302 as a junior. Levesque is a multi-sport talent who also plays hockey. He expects to add depth in a crowded, talented outfield group.  “Welcome to the family,” coach Mejia told Levesque.  
The ultimate gem of the class could be Saugus pitcher Todd Tringale, who graduated high school in 2019. A 6-foot right-hander, Tringale originally attended UMass Amherst as a top recruit. He spent last summer in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, an honor for only the premier incoming college freshmen. Pitching mainly out of the bullpen for the North Shore Navigators, who play in Lynn, Tringale was 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA. In his only playoff appearance, he went four shutout innings in a loss to the Bristol, Conn. Blues. “I’m excited to see where this journey takes me and what the final outcome will be,” said Tringale.  
Mejia and the Knights now hope to be back to work as soon as September, barring any coronavirus flareups, with the all-important fall training season. It is clearly a huge time for NECC baseball, which has won NJCAA Division III Region 21 in seven of the last eight seasons. The highlight of highlights being in 2018 when the Knights also took the District F Championship.