Contact InformationKen Hopkins
Assistant Head Coach
Head Athletic Trainer
About Men's Baseball
- Rheal Cormier Jersey Retirement Ceremony
- Baseball Season Preview 2015
- Baseball 2014 Season Summary
- Summer Development Camps
- Former Knights hurler Hertzler drafted by the Oakland A's in the 15th round with pick #480
- Ken Hopkins with Frank Viola
The Community College of Rhode Island Knights baseball program has a rich tradition of success. Since its inception in 1965, the program has progressed to national prominence and has maintained this level for the past decade. The program has placed several of their players in professional baseball with two former players playing in the Major Leagues. These players are Rheal Cormier of the Philadelphia Phillies and Allen Levrault of the Florida Marlins.
Former CCRI Knights pitcher Brad Hertzler (East Providence, RI) who played for the Knights in 2006 was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 15th round with pick #480.
Hertzler, a left handed pitcher, was a First Team All-Region XXI Pitcher who was stellar for the Knights with a 5-1 record and a 1.469 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched. Brad is currently a starter for the University of Maine Black Bears where he led the team with a 3.58 ERA and also led the team with 71 strikeouts with a 4-5 record throwing two complete games with one shutout. Season highlights included a 10 strikeout performance versus Miami, a nine strikeout performance versus UMBC, and an eight strikeout complete game performance versus Vermont. Hertzler is only a Junior so he has a decision to make on whether he will return to the University of Maine for his Senior season or go pro.
Hertzler was previously drafted in 2004 in the 32nd by the Boston Red Sox who his brother Barry Hertzler currently plays for with the AA affiliate Portland Sea Dogs. Brad was drafted in 2004 after being nominated 2004 Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year.
With a strong complement to returning veterans combined with a quality crop of freshman recruits, the 2015 CCRI Knights baseball team has set its sights on a return to Enid, Oklahoma, home of the NJCAA Division II World Series. In order to accomplish this goal, the team has been working extremely hard training for the season with a seven-week program. According to head coach Ken Hopkins, “The Knights have a wealth of depth and experience at every position. This should lead to a very exciting season.”
The Knights will be led by returning veterans and co-captains, TJ Boyajian (Warwick, RI) in right field and Eddie Apice (North Kingstown, RI) in center field as well as a top left handed pitcher in the region. Coach Hopkins has said, “These two players are like having two more coaches in the room and they are counted upon heavily to set an example of how the team approaches its work ethic and preparation for the season.”
Returning players also include Austin Barry (North Kingstown, RI) in left field and on the mound as well as James Riley-Garnett (Newport, RI), both who will be counted upon for their long ball and RBI production. Casey Mack (Trumbull, CT) returns at third base and Mike Evans (Warwick, RI) at first base. These players will give the team a strong, experiences lineup at the corners. Sophomore transfer, Diego Campos (Providence, RI) will provide the Knights will many options as a designated hitter, third base, outfielder and pitcher. Coach Hopkins considers Campos to be the most important utility player on the team because of his ability to play many positions. According to Hopkins, “He also gives the team many options with his bat as he is one of the better offensive players on the roster.” Steve Adams (Jacksonville, FL) also returns to the lineup as the team’s catcher and provides a solid bat as well as strong defense behind the plate.
Quality newcomers, Dave Hopkins (East Greenwich, RI) a transfer from URI will start at second base, giving the Knights an additional arm on the mound. Hopkins will bat near the top of the order to provide quality offence. The only position without a veteran presence is shortstop, but coach Hopkins has recruited two quality freshman to fill the position. Freshman, Ramiel Rodriquez (Providence, RI) and Derek Estes (Hyannis, MA) will share the shortstop duties.
For the first time in many years, the team has three quality catchers that will share duties behind the plate as well as help to keep a deep pitching staff in shape. Along with Adams, Dan Autiello (Orlando, FL) a transfer from Lake-Sumter State College and freshman Edison Mercado (Providence, RI) a strong hitting prospect will compete until someone emerges to hold down the job.
Recruited Freshman who will compete for playing time include: Ryan Rotondo, a first team All-Stater from Bishop Hendricken HS (Warwick, RI), who will compete for time at second base and designated hitter and Brandon Escalante (Fort Lauderdale, FL), a solid right fielder and lefty hitter. Colby Ortega (Kissimmee, FL), a strong left handed hitter will challenge Evans for playing time at first base and Ernesto Figueroa (Providence, RI), a strong and athletic centerfielder will see plenty of action when Apice takes the mound.
According to coach Hopkins, success will come from the reliance of the strength and depth of the pitching staff. Veterans PJ Watson (Cheshire, CT) and Stew Braman (Middletown, RI) will lead a deep but unchallenged staff. While returning veterans Ben Duarte (East Providence, RI) and Ryan Faria (Cranston, RI) will see innings as their experience brings a wealth of confidence to the team. Newcomers to the staff could be the key to a very promising season as coach Hopkins has recruited some quality arms that still need to be tested under pressure in key games. Jack Livingston (East Lyme, CT) and Tyler Lamonda (Auburn, MA) are two highly touted recruits that will be relied upon to pitch some big games for the Knights. The depth of the staff will also be counted upon to eat up many innings with John Sikie (Cumberland, RI) Steve Noti (Warwick, RI), Heiker Feliz (Providence, RI) and Wally Luna (Providence, RI) all competing for innings out of the bullpen with the potential to move into the rotation. Apice, Hopkins, Garnett-Riley, Barry, and Campos, will also be counted on to supply innings as needed in a dual role. Mike Gallagher (Stoughton, MA), a freshman transfer from URI by way of has seen much success in practice and may move into the closer role out of the bullpen.
The team has been working hard since the first week of September, playing a full 30-game fall schedule, lifting weights and preparing in the off season. It is hoped that the hard work and dedication will be evident as the 2015 Knights set their sights on a return to Enid, Oklahoma. The team will open their season once again in its season opener at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Orlando, Florida.
The CCRI Knights baseball team had outstanding year, ending the season competing for another Region XXI baseball championship early May. They played UConn-Avery Point (UCAP) in the championship series. The Knights won the first game of the series 8-0. In the second game, the Knights fought hard in a game that lasted 10 innings, but fell 3-2, forcing a game three to be played. In the final game of the series, the Knights lost 4-2, ending the series. The Knights’ season ended with a 22-10 record.
Despite not finishing the season with a championship win – the Knights had some great individual efforts throughout the season. The team did have some individual performances that earned players All-Region XXI honors, and those players included sophomores Eddie Apice, Ryan O’Dell, Jake Tillman and Jake Waldren. In addition, Apice earned the award for Defensive Player of the Year in the Region.
In 2014, the Knights played a very tough national schedule that was made even harder by the unpredictable weather during the spring. The rain and cold made it hard to play on days, forcing a number of cancellations and postponements. While playing against top competition, the Knights played only 11 home games, 22 away and finished 12 games above .500.
The Knights will return a solid core of players to pair with new talent from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida, which should lead to some exciting baseball at Fell field in Warwick during the 2015 season.
Academics is the priority here at CCRI for all of our student-athletes. The student-athletes are required to attend the Student-Athlete Academic Support Center each week throughout their tenure as a player here at CCRI.
CCRI Baseball is also proud to sponsor and host a variety of youth-centered Developmental Sports Camps. The Camps are directed by the Coaching Staff with the assistance of many of the Community College players. [Download camp brochures]