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NH College Notebook: Keene State adds familiar names to baseball coaching staff

March 16. 2013 2:22AM

If the names of the newest members of the Keene State College baseball coaching staff sound familiar - it's with good reason.

After completing their four-year careers with the Owls last season, Jeff Pelkey of Fitzwilliam, Kyle Morrill of Auburn and Tim Thiesing have joined the Keene State staff as assistant coaches this season.

Although longtime associate head coach Marty Testo and John Raiola, the Owls' fourth-year pitching coach return, Keene State head coach Ken Howe has had to juggle his staff with the loss of Dan Moylan, who was recently named the head baseball coach at Keene High School.

"The loss of Danny is obviously tough. He was a gifted hitting instructor and brought a lot to the table," said Howe. "Now we have three young guns joining Marty, John and myself. They know what it takes to compete not only at Keene State, but in the Little East Conference."

All three are excited about joining KSC's coaching staff. "I was super excited. I thought it was a great opportunity," said Pelkey, a two-time LEC All-Star, who became the programs' all-time leader in victories (20-10) last season. "I was flattered that coaches Howe and Testo asked me to help out with the junior varsity team and with the pitchers."

Pelkey says he has a lot to offer the team. "I have a lot of experience, pitched a lot of innings and gone through a lot of situations," he said. "Last year I was in the same boat, so that's one advantage I do have. I can relate to the pitchers and talk about different things I went through as a player."

"I'm excited and a little apprehensive," admitted Morrill, who will take over as the Owls' hitting coach. I have big shoes to fill with the loss of Danny. I've tried to take a lot from what coach Moylan has taught me in my four years and implement the same strategies, an LEC all-star last season who lead KSC in hitting with a .421 average. I plan on keeping everything simple and working with what the hitter already has as opposed to drastically changing things."

Thiesing joins the KSC coaching staff after posting a 5-1 record with a 3.69 ERA and a team high 41 strikeouts. "I just wanted to come back and help the guys out and do what I can to help the pitchers improve," said Thiesing. "We have a bunch of young guys who can definitely contribute."

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BEDFORD native Rand Pecknold is one of three finalists for the Tim Taylor Award, present to the ECAC Coach of the Year as voted by the league's coaches.

Pecknold is in his 19th year as the head coach at Quinnipiac University and led his team to the No. 1 ranking in the country and its first ECAC regular season championship this season.

The Bobcats took a 24-5-5 overall record into the ECAC quarterfinals this weekend. They faced No. 9 seed Cornell in a best-of-three set.

Quinnipiac has been No. 1 in the PairWise rankings since the middle of January and likely will be a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament no matter what happens in its league playoffs.

The Bobcats vaulted to the top of the rankings on the strength of a three-month long, program-record, 21-game unbeaten streak that stretched from early November to early February. They went 18-0-3 during that time.

Pecknold, who graduated from Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass., and then starred at Connecticut College, has been Quinnipiac's coach throughout the school's 15-year history in Division I.

The Bobcats have not had a losing season in Division I and a dozen times have won at least 20 games.

Yale coach Keith Allain and Rensselaer's Seth Appert are the other finalists for the Tim Taylor Award.

The winner will be announced at the league's championship banquet on Thursday in Atlantic City.

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A TRIO of Granite Staters earned weekly honors in their respective sports.

Wolfeboro's Courtney Piper, a sophomore lacrosse player at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vt., was named to the Northeast-10 Conference weekly honor roll.

Piper, a product of Brewster Academy, recorded two goals and an assist, matching her career single-game point total with three points, in a 14-4 loss in the Purple Knights' season opener at Queens (N.Y.) College on Saturday.

On the baseball field, junior Nick Nelson of Spofford was named the Northeast-10 Conference's Player of the Week. Nelson, a Keene High grad, batted .571 with a .857 slugging percentage and a .636 on-base percentage in wins over LIU Post and Caldwell College. Also, first-year player Matt Feeney of Portsmouth was honored as the conference's rookie of the week for batting .444 with a .667 slugging percentage and a .545 on-base percentage in those two contests.

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NEWBURY COLLEGE softball player Michaela McGowan, a freshman from Nashua, was the New England Collegiate Conference Rookie of the Week after registering a 1.071 OPS to lead the Nighthawks to a 3-5 week.

McGowan, a pitcher, opened the season with a 2-3 record, posting a 3.73 ERA. Included in those victories was a two-hit, 6-0 shutout of Eastern Nazarene.

Against Olivet, McGowan earned the win and helped her own cause by going three-for-three with a double and two RBIs - including the game winner in the top of the seventh. For the week, McGowan reached base safely in all eight of the team's games while leading Newbury in batting (.435), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging percentage (.609).

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THE COLLEGE Squash Association recently announced the postseason award winners with Dartmouth's Chris Hanson earning the Skillman Award.

The Skillman Award is given annually to a senior men's squash player who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during his entire college career.

In the 31-year history of the accolade, Hanson became just the second member of the Big Green to earn the honor. The Greenwich, Conn., native follows in the footsteps of Adam Farber who received recognition in 1992.

For just the third time, the award was handed out to two players as Princeton's Todd Harrity shared the award with Hanson.

Throughout his four-year career in the Upper Valley, Hanson competed at the No. 1 spot for Dartmouth. The senior captain ended his tenure in Hanover winning four of his last five matches before heading to the CSA Individual Championships.

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