|Bobby Della Polla||Tim LeCompte|
|Greg Monastra||Michael Gaeta|
The University of Scranton baseball team is picked to finish third in the Landmark Conference this season, according to the preseason poll released by the conference office on Thursday morning.
The Royals received two first-place votes and finished with 36 points in the poll, which was conducted among the conference’s seven head coaches. Catholic University is the favorite after picking up two first-place votes and finishing with 48 points. Moravian was three points behind, but received three first-place votes.
Merchant Marine Academy was chosen fourth with 31 points, followed by defending conference champion Drew (26), Susquehanna (18) and Juniata (13).
Head coach Mike Bartoletti enters his 11th season with a veteran-laden roster. Scranton has eight seniors and boasts 13 position players who saw action in at least 15 games last year and eight pitchers who appeared in seven or more games last year. The Royals are coming off a 20-12 campaign in 2012, including 9-9 in the Landmark Conference, missing the playoffs by one game. The 20-win season marked the first time in program history the Royals won 20 or more games in back-to-back seasons. They won 26 while reaching the conference championship in 2011.
The Royals are led by senior captains Bobby Della Polla (Havertown, Pa./St. Joseph’s Prep), Greg Monastra (West Chester, Pa./Cardinal O’Hara) and Tim LeCompte (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic), and junior captain Michael Gaeta (Cranford, N.J./Cranford). Della Polla had a team-high 53 strikeouts while going 4-4 on the mound last season. Monastra has 14 career extra-base hits, including three homers; LeCompte hit .320 with four homers and 12 stolen bases last season; and Gaeta was a second-team all-conference choice after hitting .345 with five homers and 31 RBIs last year.
Scranton will open its season on Saturday, March 2, when it plays a doubleheader against Albright at noon at Diamond Nation in Flemington, N.J.
The 2013 Landmark Conference preseason baseball
|4.||Merchant Marine Academy||31|