Head Coach Will Sanborn '86, who registered his 23rd season at the helm for the Monks in 2015, has built one of the most consistently successful NCAA DIII programs in the country. As a testament to his growing legacy, Sanborn was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013 and is also a member of the Selection Committee for the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.
Late in the 2014 season, Sanborn became the 44th coach in the history of NCAA DIII Baseball to reach the 600-victory plateau. The win - an 8-7 triumph over Bates College on May 7th - made Sanborn just the eighth New England coach to reach the lofty total.
During his 23 years as the Monks' skipper, Sanborn has accumulated a 629-341-5 (.650) record with 18 championships, including 13 conference crowns and five NAIA New England titles, and 20 winning seasons. Saint Joseph's has reached the 25-victory plateau in 16 of Sanborn's 23 years and posted 30 or more wins on 11 occasions.
The Monks have been particularly strong since the start of the 2005 season. Over the last 11 years, Saint Joseph’s has posted an incredible 348-144 (.707) overall record, including an otherworldly 127-27 (.825) mark versus conference foes.
Over this 11-year span, St. Joe’s has made eight NCAA DIII Tournament appearances with an ECAC Tournament berth in 2005. In the New England Regional, the Monks have been seeded as high as #2 on a pair of occasions and have won 11 NCAA tourney games, including 10 over the past four appearances.
In yet another testament to the program’s winning ways, Saint Joseph’s has notched at least 30 victories in nine of the past 11 seasons – a feat achieved by just two other New England teams.
Saint Joseph’s posted a 26-17 record during the 2015 campaign. The top seed in the 2015 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament, the Monks opened postseason play with a 7-0 defeat over Lasell College on April 23rd, but fell out of contention with losses to Suffolk University (the eventual conference champion) and Johnson & Wales University on April 25th. The loss to JWU snapped a five-year GNAC title streak and left the Monks outside of the NCAA DIII New England Regional Tournament for the first time since 2009 and just the second time since 2006.
In the end, seven of the Monks' losses were by two or fewer runs and Saint Joseph's, featuring one of the best non-conference schedules in the nation, faced three of the eight 2015 NCAA DIII World Series teams (Emory, Ramapo and Frostburg State) early in the season.
Despite the unfortunate ending, Saint Joseph’s was well-represented on the All-Conference docket, with 12 individuals collecting postseason acclaim, including GNAC Player of the Year Joe Coyne ’15 and GNAC Pitcher of the Year Alex Valenti ’15. Coach Sanborn was also honored with his second GNAC Coach of the Year award.
Saint Joseph’s recorded another outstanding season under Sanborn’s watch in 2014, reaching the 30-win plateau for the sixth straight year while clinching the programs’ fifth-consecutive GNAC Championship.
As the #2 seed in the conference tournament, the Monks defeated #3 Lasell College, 9-2, in a quarterfinal contest and, several days later, earned a place in the GNAC Championship for the seventh time in as many seasons with a 9-2 victory over top-seeded Suffolk University in the semifinal round. Saint Joseph’s topped the Rams again, this time by a 2-0 margin, in the championship game to claim the GNAC crown and earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Seeded sixth in the NCAA DIII New England Regional for the second-consecutive season, Saint Joseph’s opened national tournament play facing #3 Tufts University and fell victim to a dominant pitching performance in a 3-1 setback. The Monks fought back with losers’ bracket wins over Worcester State University and Mitchell College before bowing out of contention with a 4-3 setback at the hands of #5 MIT.
Nine players All-GNAC honors, including first teamers Alex Lorenc, Nick Whittaker, Joe Coyne and Nic Lops, while Lorenc also garnered a pair of All-New England nods
The Monks opened the 2013 season with high expectations, as the Royal Blue gained national attention with #14 rankings in a pair of NCAA DIII preseason polls. With a hot start, including a triumph over top-ranked Wheaton College, in the first week of play, Saint Joseph’s moved up to #9 in the D3Baseball.com national poll.
As the #2 seed in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament, the Monks defeated #3 Suffolk University and top-seeded Johnson & Wales University to advance to the tourney championship for the sixth time in as many years as a conference member. After falling to Suffolk, 7-2, in the first game on Championship Sunday, the Monks answered with a thrilling 7-6 victory in a “winner takes all” contest immediately following to claim their fifth GNAC Championship and eighth conference crown overall since 2005.
Seeded #6 in the NCAA DIII New England Regional, Saint Joseph’s faced #3 Endicott College and suffered a 4-3 setback at the hands of the Gulls, who later advanced all the way to the regional championship, in the opening round. The Monks remained alive with a 7-5 losers’ bracket win over #7 Salem State University the following day, but saw their World Series hopes dashed with a 5-3 loss to #4 Western New England University on May 17th.
The Saint Joseph's College baseball team recorded one of the most successful seasons in SJC Athletics history in 2012. Under the watch of 20th-year Head Coach Will Sanborn '86, the Monks went 39-7 overall and 14-2 in GNAC play en route to claiming the program's seventh conference crown in the last eight years and an NCAA Tournament berth for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
Along the way, Coach Sanborn (542-295-5, .648) became the winningest coach in Saint Joseph's history and the 2012 team broke the school record for single-season victories. Also, the Monks' .848 winning percentage was the second-highest in all of NCAA Baseball – all levels – in 2012. Junior pitcher Chad Rafferty headlined the Monks’ numerous postseason accolades, as the righthander garnered D3Baseball.com All-America, ABCA/Rawlings All-America, D3Baseball.com New England Pitcher of the Year, NCBWA New England Pitcher of the Year, NEIBA First Team All-New England, GNAC Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-GNAC accolades after going 10-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 74 K’s in 68.1 innings.
The Monks were ranked regionally and nationally virtually all season, including a #1 ranking in the New England Region in early April. Nationally, the Royal Blue sat as high as 11th in early-May and finished the season as the #14 team in the country, according to the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball and D3Baseball.com/NCBWA national polls.
As the #1 seed in the GNAC Tournament, Saint Joseph's topped #4 Suffolk University, 7-5, in a quarterfinal contest and bested #3 Anna Maria College, 6-3, to remain in the winners' bracket and advance to the tourney championship for the fifth-consecutive season. Trailing 6-2 with one out in the bottom of the ninth versus Suffolk in the title contest, the Monks managed to score five runs to capture the GNAC crown and automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
Saint Joseph's, the #2 seed in the NCAA DIII New England Regional Tournament, produced a lengthy run while facing the top programs in the eight-team regional playoff for the third straight year, but fell short of the ultimate goal of claiming the program's first NCAA Regional Championship. While at the New England tourney, the Monks defeated #7 Bowdoin College, fell to #3 Trinity College, topped #4 Keene State College, and bowed out of contention with a loss at the hands of #5 Western New England University.
A four-time Coach of the Year honoree, Sanborn became the winningest Saint Joseph's College head coach with a 5-0 win over UMass.-Boston at Larry Mahaney Diamond on March 30th, 2012. The shutout triumph lifted Sanborn's career victory total to 515 and pushed him past Head Coach Rick Simonds, who amassed 514 total wins in 23 years as the men's basketball coach and single seasons as the baseball and softball skipper at Saint Joseph's.
The 2011 season was another to remember for the Monks Baseball program, as the team went 32-15 overall with a 12-2 record in conference play and advanced to the NCAA DIII Tournament for the fifth time after collecting the program’s third GNAC Championship crown in four years. St. Joe’s defeated #3 Wheaton College and #1 Tufts University in the New England Tournament and earned votes in the final 2011 D3baseball.com/NCBWA Poll.
The spring of 2011 was filled with milestones and personal accolades. Coach Sanborn collected his 500th victory when the Royal Blue notched a GNAC Championship win over Suffolk University on May 1st and senior outfielder Todd Keneborus becoming the fifth player in program history to reach the 200-hit plateau with a single against Gordon College on April 25th. Keneborus garnered GNAC Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season – making 2011 the seventh straight year in which Saint Joseph’s has had a player earn the honor.
Just moments after the Monks suffered a season-ending loss in the New England Regional, the team learned that former standout Charlie Furbush had been called up to the Major Leagues by the Detroit Tigers. Furbush, a left-handed pitcher who played at St. Joe’s in 2005 and 2006, is not only the first former Saint Joseph’s College athlete to make it to the big leagues, but also the first to play in any of the four major professional sports leagues.
The 2010 campaign will go down as one of the most memorable seasons in St. Joe’s Baseball history. The Monks posted a 35-13 record, including an 11-3 mark in GNAC play, and captured the program’s second Great Northeast Athletic Conference title in three years as a league member. The Royal Blue defeated top-seeded Suffolk University in the GNAC Championship and went on to record the program’s fourth NCAA DIII Tournament berth in the last five seasons. While at the New England Regional, hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University, the Monks posted three losers’ bracket victories with triumphs over #5 Worcester State, #3 Western New England and #2 Wheaton. The Monks’ historic run ended with an 11-inning loss to #1 Tufts University on “Championship Saturday.”
Several individuals registered stellar personal efforts and were rewarded with regional and national recognition. Junior outfielder Todd Keneborus hit .464 (77-166) with 52 runs, 65 RBI and a .783 slugging percentage and became the sixth consecutive SJC player to garner Conference Player of the Year honors. He also collected D3baseball.com and ABCA/Rawlings All-America as well as First Team All-New England accolades that spring. Also, Coach Sanborn became the winningest single-sport coach in Saint Joseph’s Athletics history with the Monks’ title win over Suffolk on May 2nd.
The 2009 season should be remembered as a very successful one, save for the premature ending, as the Monks went 31-13 overall and posted a 13-1 record in conference play en route to capturing the #1 seed in the GNAC Tournament. Despite herculean comebacks in several of the playoff contests, St. Joe's lost to Suffolk University in the GNAC title game. Two-way player Pat Moran '10 became the fifth-straight SJC player to earn conference player of the year honors and added GNAC Pitcher of the Year, All-ECAC, D3Baseball.com All-America and All-New England awards to his trophy case with a fine season as a pitcher and slugger for the Monks.
In 2009, the SJC offense proved to be one of the best in program history. Last year's squad set new team records for runs scored (431), runs per game (9.8), hits (523), doubles (116) and runs batted in (401). As a team, the Monks ranked 10th in the country in doubles, 14th in batting average (.353), 15th in runs per game, 16th in runs scored, 18th in triples (21) and 19th in slugging percentage (.531). With so many returners, it's reasonable to expect similar production this spring. The pitching staff ranked 7th in the country with 2.61 walks allowed per nine innings last year and returns all but one member of a unit that accumulated 287 strikeouts in 328 innings.
2008 was the team's first year in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference and the Monks set the tone by winning the GNAC Championship and once again advancing to the NCAA New England Regional - finishing with a 28-18 record. St. Joe's upset top-seeded Suffolk University - twice - in the GNAC Tournament and Enman was recognized with the GNAC Player of the Year honor, meaning the Monks had one of their best earn the same accolade for four straight seasons. Sanborn captured his 400th career victory with a 7-1 conference quarterfinal victory over Suffolk on April 24th.
The Monks reached the 30-win plateau for the third-consecutive season with a 30-12 overall record in 2007. Saint Joseph's went 9-3 in NAC play and won the team's third conference championship in as many years as a league member. As a result of the NAC crown, St. Joe's, which was awarded an automatic berth, made the team's second-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Regional. Shortstop Luke Enman '08 was named as the NAC Player of the Year, becoming the Monks' third individual in three years to earn the accolade, and also captured D3Baseball.com and All-ECAC honors.
The 2006 campaign proved to be one of the finest in program history, as the Monks racked up a 34-10 record, went 11-1 in NAC play, captured the NAC Championship and earned the #2 seed in the NCAA DIII New England Baseball Tournament in Harwich, Massachusetts. The win total tied the 1986 team's mark for the second-highest in team-history and St. Joe's defeated Bowdoin College, 9-7, in the Monks' opening game of the New England Regional to notch the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. Once again, Furbush collected NAC Player of the Year honors, as well as D3Baseball.com All-America and NCBWA New England Pitcher of the Year awards.
In 2005, Saint Joseph's College Baseball began a new era as an associate member of the North Atlantic Conference and Sanborn guided the Monks to a 32-10 record, including a 14-1 mark in NAC play en route to the team's first conference title since the 2002 campaign. Saint Joseph's was rewarded with the program's first-ever ECAC DIII Championship tournament appearance following the NAC Tournament title and two of Sanborn's best players - catcher Derek McIntosh and pitcher/DH Charlie Furbush -earned Co-NAC Player of the Year accolades.
Prior to these most recent NCAA accomplishments - Saint Joseph's College baseball set the standard for NAIA New England baseball under Sanborn's direction. In 2002, Saint Joseph's completed its NAIA New England dominance by once again winning the NAIA New England Championship. The Monks then moved on to capture the NAIA Region X Championship in Orangeburg, New York. Sanborn led Saint Joseph's to New England championships on five different occasions (1994, 1996, 1997, 2000 & 2002) and has three Maine Athletic Conference titles under his belt (1999, 2000 & 2001).
"It's a tribute to the continued commitment that Saint Joseph's has made to our baseball program. The College has given us the tools to build a winning program. The foundation of our program has been the fine young men we have been able to attract to our campus," says Sanborn of his success with the Monks. "We have had outstanding groups of student-athletes, assistant coaches and support staff who have all contributed to our success, so I don't think of this as a personal accomplishment as much as it is a Saint Joseph's accomplishment."
Prior to securing the head coaching position, Sanborn worked as an assistant coach under Head Coach Phil Desjardins for two seasons (1991-92) and helped lead the Monks to NAIA New England Championships both years.
During his playing days Sanborn, a three-year starting outfielder for the Monks, appeared in 110 contests and hit .279 (80-287) with 98 runs, 14 doubles, 45 RBI and 25 stolen bases during his collegiate career. In 1986, his senior season, Sanborn played an integral role in leading Saint Joseph's highest win total in SJC Athletics history (34), at the time, and the program’s first-ever New England championship. A heady player with a patient eye at the plate, he still owns the program’s career (104) and single-season (51) walks records and ranked as the Monks’ single-season record holder in runs (53, 1985) until the mark was broken in 1999.
Before taking over at Saint Joseph's, Sanborn coached at many levels. He has held coaching positions with Bonny Eagle High School, Bar Mills American Legion and the Portland Twilight League. He is also Director of the Saint Joseph's College Baseball Camp and facilitates several baseball camps during the academic year as well.
Will is a 1986 graduate of Saint Joseph’s College, where he majored in History, graduated Cum Laude and received the prestigious Clio Merit Award, an honor presented for excellence in history, and the Secondary Education Award. He also serves as the Associate Director of Athletics at Saint Joseph's College and resides in Standish with his wife, Lynn Brown.
|1994||21||17||.553||NAIA New England Champions|
|1996||22||17||1||.564||NAIA New England Champions|
|1997||27||13||.675||NAIA New England Champions|
|2000||29||14||.674||13||3||.813||NAIA New England Champions|
|2002||28||18||.609||12||4||.750||NAIA New England Champions^|
|2009||31||13||.705||13||1||.929||GNAC Regular Season Champions|
|2015||26||17||.605||12||2||.857||GNAC Regular Season Champions|
|^ NAIA Super Regional Appearance
* NCAA DIII Tournament Appearance
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