2020 Conference Wrap: Patriot LeagueAnalysis
It’s still hard to believe the 2020 college baseball season is over after just four weeks of play. Most conferences didn’t even reach league play before the coronavirus halted the season, so it would be pointless to give out any legitimate awards or draw any sweeping conclusions from our meager sample size. With that in mind, we won’t be releasing a 2020 All-America team, or naming a national Player of the Year or Freshman of the Year.
But informally, we can still take a look back at those first four weeks and highlight some players who stood out. Keep in mind that nonconference strength of schedules vary dramatically, and four weeks really isn’t a long enough period to even determine how strong a given schedule truly was. With those caveats out of the way, here are some superlative picks for the Patriot League, which played four weeks of nonconference action and had yet to reach conference play.
Here are the superlative categories:
- Best Team
- Most Surprising Team
- Most Impressive Hitter
- Most Impressive Pitcher
- Best Senior
- Best Freshman
- Breakout Player
- Breakout Pitcher
Looking from a record standpoint, Navy was no doubt the best team in the league with a 14-1 record. No other team in the conference was above .500 with the next best record being Army at 6-9. In the preseason, we had Army picked to make it to a regional, but Navy wasn’t far behind. The Midshipmen had won the regular season title the last five seasons but failed to win the conference tournament four of those years. While the Midshipmen may not have the tournament to prove if they could turn their luck in the postseason, they were definitely on track to make a run at their sixth regular season league title in a row.
A major part of Navy’s success last season was its pitching, and despite the loss of some key arms, the Midshipmen kept that success going this year, too. With a 3.07 team ERA, Navy was more than two runs better than the next best in the conference and were on pace with last season’s 3.82 total. Juniors Charlie Connolly (1-0, 1.04) and Tommy Goodridge (2-0, 2.25) led the way in the rotation each making four starts in the shortened season. In the bullpen, junior Trey Braithwaite wasted no time settling back into the closing roll. After recording a team-high 10 saves last year, Braithwaite already had four saves under his belt this year with just a 0.71 ERA.
Offensively, Navy led the league with a cumulative .275 batting average and 97 total runs scored. At the quarter-way point of the season, three Midshipmen were still batting over .300. Freshman Alex Smith led the way, hitting .368/.457/.526 with seniors Evan Lowery and Jacob Williamson not far behind. Lowery batted .341/.500/.477 while Williamson put up .308/.383/.462 on the year. As a team, Navy also put up 10 home runs, just one shy of the league lead of 11 from Lehigh.
Click below and subscribe to D1Baseball to view the full wrap!