Editor’s note: This is the 17th in an offseason series profiling the region’s Division 1 baseball programs.
Sacred Heart continues to walk the road to full health as the start of another baseball season continues to draw closer. Looking through that lens, the year gone by was not too kind to third-year head coach Nick Restaino and his Pioneers, but the slate has been wiped clean in their quest for a Northeast Conference championship for the first time since 2015.
Two of the team’s pitching regulars missed at least the latter half of the season in junior Cooper Thompson (Clinton, Conn.) and redshirt senior Brent Teller, shaking things up in a big way when the Pioneers snuck into the conference tournament as a No. 4 seed after finishing the campaign with a sub-.500 record.
“When you're not in a Power Five situation with so many resources and players on the bench who could start at other schools, one little thing can be a significant factor,” Restaino said. “We lost two of our starting pitchers due to injury last year. We got one of them back this fall (Thompson) and another is on track to be back. Meanwhile, some sophomores came back improved and a couple of freshmen threw the ball well. I thought we were better and deeper on the mound and there's more competition, which breeds success.”