MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Mountaineers opened up their 2019 season in the New England Collegiate Baseball League on Friday, beating their in-state rival the Upper Valley Nighthawks 7-1.
The Mountaineers finished 2018 with a 21-23 record, missing out on the playoffs but winning 7 of their last 10 games. They return just one player from last season, and former SUNY Maritime manager Charlie Barbieri will take over as manager.
Barbieri said roster turnover is a constant challenge for coaches in the NECBL, but he’s looking forward to the season.
“You’re taking a bunch of guys from all over the country and clubbing them together,” Barbieri said. “It’s about them, and that’s the biggest thing is trying to create that team environment where they feel confortable coming out every day to the field.”
With a new roster of players, Mountaineers General Manager Brian Gallagher said he hopes the team can avoid the inconsistencies of 2018.
“We had an unusal year last year,” Gallagher said. “We went through 60 players because in Division I they worry guys are gonna get tired so they send them home. It felt like a revolving door.”
At least some of those concerns have come up again at the start of this season.
“We’ve lost 11 guys for the season with injury before they got here,” Gallagher said. “We’re hoping this year once we get the team solid, they’ll stick around.”
The Mountaineers will also host the 2019 NECBL All-Star Game. It’s the third time Montpelier has hosted the event, and dozens of MLB scouts are expected to attend.
“It’s exciting for the local community to have the best players that are going to be drafted in Montpelier,” Gallagher said. “Steven Strasburg, A.J. Pollock, Mariano Rivera Jr., all these guys played in this league and that’s how they get to that next level.”
The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 28.