Somerset, NJ - The Northeast Conference has decided to delay the start of its annual baseball championship due to inclement weather and wet field conditions at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT.
The NEC's four-team, double-elimination tournament, the winner of which will receive automatic access into the NCAA Division I Championship bracket, was initially slated to start on Thursday, May 19 with the first pitch set for 12:00 pm.
Although a definitive start date and time has not yet been determined, competition at the 2011 NEC Baseball Championship will begin no earlier than Friday, May 20 at 12:00 pm. Conference administrators and tournament officials will reconvene via conference call late Wednesday afternoon (May 18) to reassess the situation and decide upon the tournament's official start.
In consultation with Dodd Stadium management and grounds crew personnel, the NEC's administrators determined that it would not be in the best interest of student-athlete safety to begin play as originally scheduled.
"Student-athlete safety is paramount to what we do here at the Northeast Conference," said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. "In addition to minimizing the potential for injury, it is our aim to provide the best possible experience at all of our championship events."
When conditions permit, Monmouth, Sacred Heart, Long Island, and Central Connecticut will compete for the 2011 NEC Tournament crown. Top-seeded Monmouth (34-17, 25-7) and defending tournament champion Central Connecticut (25-23-1, 17-14), which holds the No. 4 seed, will square off in Game 1. The other opening round matchup pits No. 2 Sacred Heart (31-21, 23-9), the NEC runner-up in both 2009 and 2010, against No. 3 Long Island (28-21, 19-11), which is making its first postseason appearance since 2000.