Three local college baseball teams took different routes to their postseason destinations this spring.
UConn-Avery Point survived a tough best-of-three game series with the Community College of Rhode Island in the NJCAA New England tournament to advance to the East District Championship.
After falling short in their quests to win a conference tournament title, Mitchell College and Coast Guard Academy were rewarded for successful seasons with ECAC New England Division III bids Monday.
All three open tournament play this week.
Avery Point (35-8) is coming off winning its 11th New England title. The Pointers rode Zach Albin's strong pitching to beat CCRI, 3-2, in the deciding third game Sunday at Washington Park.
The Pointers will travel to Rochester, N.Y., this weekend for the East District tournament, facing host Monroe Community College (32-13) and Rockland Community College (21-15) in the three-team bracket. The schedule has yet to be announced.
"It's awesome," Albin said Sunday of advancing to the next stop on the tournament tour. "We're happy to make it back there and we're going to show them what we've got."
Albin (8-1) was named NJCAA Division II New England Player of the Year on Monday. He joined teammates Brian Rivera (shortstop), Matt Martinez (outfield) and Nick DeLotto (designated hitter) on the first team. Martinez was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Chris Mayhew (first base) and Rivera also made the defensive team.
Mitchell and Coast Guard are in the same ECAC New England tournament field, both opening first round play on Wednesday afternoon.
The Mariners (23-14-1), the No. 6 seed, visit No. 3 MIT (24-11) in Cambridge, Mass., while the fifth-seeded Bears (22-16) host No. 4 Husson University (26-17).
It will be a difficult turnaround for Mitchell, which is coming off a heartbreaking result in the New England Collegiate Conference tournament. The Mariners needed only one win in the championship round Sunday to clinch an NCAA bid but lost two games to Daniel Webster.
The Mariners will have to quickly shake the disappointment.
"We were so decimated after leaving the field at Daniel Webster," Mitchell coach Travis Beausoleil said Monday. "It was brutal. It's nice to know that's not the way we're going to end our season."
Mitchell has experienced a significant improvement under Beausoleil, who's in his second season. The Mariners went from 10-18 last season to 23 wins, a share of the NECC regular season crown and their first ECAC bid.
"I never thought the transformation would be so quick," Beausoleil said. "It's a testament how hard they've worked. It's very appealing to be in the (ECAC) tournament. It will help us moving forward."
Coast Guard also is deserving of its ECAC berth. The Bears set a program single-season win record (22) and placed fourth in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference.
The Bears heavily rely on their veterns, including Eric Gerken (.349), Ed Sella (.336) and Nolan Gallagher (.331), three of 15 seniors on the team. Seniors Derek Petty (5-3, 1.77), Nate Toll (4-4, 2.37) and Tyler Vieira (4-1, 2.14, seven saves) anchor the pitching staff.
It is the program's fourth trip to the postseason. The Bears are 2-3 in three previous ECAC appearances.
Top-seeded Suffolk University in Boston will serve as host for the semifinals Saturday and finals Sunday.