Cougars Picked to Finish Second in CAA South Division, Three Nab Preseason Honors

Cougars Picked to Finish Second in CAA South Division, Three Nab Preseason Honors
(Source: CofC Baseball)

RICHMOND, Va. --- College of Charleston is picked to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association South Division in a vote of the league’s nine head coaches announced CAA officials Friday. Senior first baseman Ari Sechopoulos and freshman starter Caswell Smith were each named to the Preseason All-CAA team while junior outfielder Donald Hansis garnered Preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention recognition.

The Cougars saw a promising 2020 season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic after winning 12 of their first 14 games, including key victories over No. 21 Clemson and VCU. Charleston will return all but five players from last year’s squad in 2021, including fifth-year seniors Harrison Hawkins, Jordan Carr, Tradd James, Luke Stageberg, Steven Cook and Sechopoulos.

Sechopoulos was well on his way to a statement season last spring batting .360 with 10 extra-base hits and a CAA-best 20 RBI through 14 games. The sure-handed first baseman carries a .989 career fielding percentage into the season to go along with career totals of 25 doubles, 18 home runs, and 73 RBI in 115 career starts.

Smith burst onto the scene in his freshman season compiling a 3-0 record with a 1.35 earned run average and 20 strikeouts over his first four collegiate starts. The right-handed flamethrower is expected to partner with Carr once again to form one of the most fearsome 1-2 punches in the CAA this spring.

Hansis garners Preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention after clubbing a team-high five homers in 13 games last season, highlighted by a 3-for-4 effort with two home runs – including a first-inning grand slam – and six RBI in the Cougars’ 11-2 win at Clemson on Mar. 4. The junior outfielder batted .289 with two doubles, five home runs and 14 RBI in 2021 and figures to slot into the middle of the Cougars’ batting order this season.

The UNCW Seahawks are picked to finish first in the CAA’s South Division this season with 35 points and seven first-place votes. Charleston is tabbed to claim second with 30 points and two first-place votes followed by Elon (18), James Madison (17) and William & Mary (10). Northeastern sits atop the North Division Preseason Poll with 29 points and eight first-place votes followed by Delaware in second with 19 points and one first-place vote. Hofstra and Towson occupy the final two spots in the North Division with totals of 16 and 12 points, respectively.

2021 CAA BASEBALL PRESEASON PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

North Division

1. Northeastern (8 first-place votes)            29

2. Delaware (1 first-place vote)                     19

3. Hofstra                                                              16

4. Towson                                                             12

South Division

1. UNCW (7 first-place votes)                         35

2. Charleston (2 first-place votes)              30

3. Elon                                                                   18

4. James Madison                                               17

5. William & Mary                                              10

2021 PRESEASON ALL-CAA BASEBALL TEAM

Player, School                                                    Pos.        Cl.           Hometown

Matthew Trehub, William & Mary                 C              Sr.           Southborough, Mass.

Joseph Carpenter, Delaware                            IF            So.           Cornwall, Pa.

Ian Fair, Northeastern                                       IF            Jr.            Walpole, Mass.

Austin Gauthier, Hofstra                                   IF            Sr.           Lorton, Va.

Scott Holzwasser, Northeastern                      IF            Sr.           Sudbury, Mass.

Ari Sechopoulos, Charleston                         IF            Sr.           Windsor, Ontario

Cole Weiss, UNCW                                              IF            Sr.           Winston-Salem, N.C.

Noah Bridges, UNCW                                         OF           Jr.            Benson, N.C.

Chase DeLauter, James Madison                    OF           Fr.           Martinsburg, W.Va.

Jared Dupere, Northeastern                             OF           So.           Amesbury, Mass.

Anthony D’Onofrio, Hofstra                             OF           Jr.            Wantagh, N.Y.

Jack Cone, William & Mary                              UT           So.           Fairfax Station, Va.

Kyle Novak, James Madison                            DH          So.           Oakton, Va.

Landen Roupp, UNCW                                      SP            Jr.            Rocky Mount, N.C.

Justin Showalter, James Madison                   SP            Jr.            Bridgewater, Va.

Caswell Smith, Charleston                             SP           Fr.           Ball Ground, Ga.

Jared Wetherbee, Elon                                     SP            Jr.            Fisksdale, Mass.

Brandon Dufrault, Northeastern                     RP           Jr.            Windham, N.H.

Bryce Greenly, Delaware                                  RP           Fr.           Milford, Del.

Adam Smith, UNCW                                           RP           Fr.           Hampstead, N.C.

CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Landon Roupp, UNCW

Honorable Mention: Jack Goan, C, Delaware; Matt McDermott, IF, William & Mary; Rob Weissheier, IF, Hofstra; Kyle Baker, OF, Delaware; Javon Fields, OF, Towson; Anthony Galason, OF, Elon; Donald Hansis, OF, Charleston; Hunter Hart, DH, William & Mary; Luke Gesell, SP, UNCW; Kyle Murphy, SP, Northeastern; Derek Wakeley, RP, Delaware.