The NCAA Division III baseball New York Super Regional will be played in New England, not New York, and it will have a Vermont flavor to it.
Babson College, with Hartford High graduate Jordy Allard as one of the headliners on its pitching staff, will meet coach Joe Brown’s Cortland State Red Dragons on Friday and Saturday at Babson in the best-of-three series. The winner gets a trip to the NCAA Division III College World Series.
Allard is also on the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Upper Valley Nighthawks roster for this summer.
Brown is familiar to many in Vermont, particularly in the Montpelier area. He was the coach of the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Vermont Mountaineers from 2013 through 2016 and directed them to the NECBL championship in 2015.
Allard is 8-0 for the 36-8 Beavers, and was the starting and winning pitcher in the deciding game against Trinity that sent Babson into the Super Regional. He boasts a 3.75 earned run average with 44 strikeouts in 48 innings.
The fact that Brown piloted the Mountaineers and Allard is playing for the Nighthawks gives this Super Regional the feel of an extended NECBL rivalry.
“I would love to have more local players like Jordy,” Upper Valley Nighthawks General Manager Noah Crane said. “Everyone in the area knows him and my hope is that it will have an aspirational quality.
“We are trying to rekindle baseball in the Upper Valley and keep young players from walking away from the game to play other sports.”
Crane is envisioning youngsters attending Nighthawks games and seeing themselves wearing the uniform at the Maxfield Complex in White River Junction someday.
“It can help the fan experience by having them be able to connect with a player like Jordy,” he said.
Allard will be playing summer collegiate baseball on the same field he played on for Hartford High School.
Baseball fans will have their first opportunity to see Allard and the Nighthawks play June 5 when they travel to Keene to play the Swamp Bats. The home opener at the Maxfield Sports Complex on Route 5 in White River Junction is June 8 at 6 p.m. against the Danbury Westerners.
The New England Super Regional between UMass Boston and New England College, also Friday and Saturday in Boston, will have some Vermont spice to its best-of-three series. Colby Howe has appeared in 10 games in relief for 28-16 NEC.
He has only worked 10.2 innings but has been very effective, with an earned run average of 0.84.
Howe and his Pilgrim teammates stunned the New England college baseball world by winning a regional where nearly everyone had the University of Southern Maine as the favorite. The Huskies had been ranked No. 3 nationally.
“Colby just keeps his head down, stays out of trouble and does what he is supposed to do every day,” New England College coach Terry Doyle said. “He’s not a super star. He is a role guy and he knows his role. He is a great guy to have on the team.
“He is a relief guy who pitches an inning or so when I need someone to come in and do the little things. I know he will throw strikes, field his position well and hold base runners.”
Some assume that Otter Valley baseball coach Mike Howe and Colby are brothers since they both wore the purple baseball uniform of Bellows Falls Union High School.
They are not related but in an odd twist, both of their fathers played for Hinsdale High School in New Hampshire.
Now, Mike and Chris are related in another way. Both are chasing championships, with Mike’s Otters closing in on the No. 1 seed in the Division II baseball playoffs.
The winners of the Super Regionals will comprise the eight-team field for the Division III World Series, to be played May 31 through June 5 at 5,300-seat Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Jordy Allard, Joe Brown and Colby Howe offer local connections on the Road to Cedar Rapids.