Schedule for the first two days of the 63rd NAIA Baseball National Championship, Friday-Saturday, May 24-31, Harris Field, Lewiston, ID (all times PDT):
8:30 AM: #8 seed Indiana Tech (41-14-1) vs. #9 Bellevue (46-14)
Indiana Tech (Fort Wayne) is making their sixth trip to the Baseball National Championship. The most recent one was in 2003. They are the champions of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. Twitter: @INTechBaseball
Rankings: #23 in coaches' poll, #7 in ISR. SoS: #20
Quality wins: 2-0 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 2-1 vs. Freed-Hardeman, 2-0 vs. U. of the Cumberlands
Top position players: 1B/C Glen McClain (.435, 17 HR, 54 RBI), 3B Branson Dossen (.370, 5 HR, 49 RBI), 1B/3B Jake Defries (.368, 3 HR, 42 RBI). McClain is tied for 12th in the NAIA in hitting and home runs.
Top Pitchers: RHP Tanner Perkins (5-0, 1.10 ERA), LHP Charles Dunavan (9-1, 2.60 ERA, 93 strikeouts), RHP Seth Sorensen (7-3, 2.24 ERA, 63 strikeouts), LHP Dan Shaw (2-2, 1.79 ERA, 62 strikeouts)
Coach: Kip McWilliams, 12th season
Outlook: The Warriors are happy to be here.
Bellevue (Omaha, NE) is making their 13th trip to the Baseball National Championship. The most recent one was in 2016. They are the champions of the North Star Athletic Association. Twitter: @BUBruinBaseball
Rankings: #21 in coaches' poll, #20 in ISR. SoS: #77
Quality wins: Saint Thomas, Oklahoma City, LSU-Shreveport
Top position players: SS Kory Longaker (.385, 12 HR, 57 RBI), C Travis Tanaka (.380, 3 HR, 51 RBI), 3B J.T. Patterson (.379, 24 home runs, 87 RBI). Patterson is fourth in the NAIA in home runs, and second in RBI.
Top Pitchers: LHP Jarrett Poh (9-0, 1.55 ERA, 68 strikeouts), RHP Stephen Knapp (10-2, 2.33 ERA, 51 strikeouts), RHP Colton Walker (5-2, 4.13 ERA, 60 strikeouts). Poh has the sixth-lowest ERA in the NAIA.
Coach: Duane Monlux, ninth season
Outlook: The Bruins will win a game.
The Bravos de León (13-22) defeated the Saraperos (Serape Makers) de Saltillo (18-17) 7-4 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on May 15. A lot of the Bravos games this season have been more like batting practice, but this was a good ball game.
It didn't start out that way. The Saraperos had a 2-0 lead before Bravos starter RHP Yasutomo Kubo recorded his first out. CF Juan Perez led off with a hit, and the next batter, 2B Manny Rodriguez, hit one over the left field fence. DH Jorge Vasquez followed with another hit, but Kubo got a break when the next batter, RF Rainel Rosario, hit into a well-executed double play. Kubo got out of the inning with his first strikeout of the game.
The Saraperos extended their lead to 3-0 with an RBI single by Vasquez in the third inning. In the top of the fourth, a balk was called on Kubo. He proceeded to hit the next two batters, loading the bases. However, he got out of the inning with another double play.
The Bravos got into the game in the bottom of the fourth. 3B Carlos Rivero started it with a double. He moved to third on a single by LF Felix Pie. Then, something unusual happened. RF Cedric Hunter hit what should have been a routine fly ball to left field, but it landed on the ground a couple of meters from the left fielder, Leandro Castro. Rivero scored, and Pie went all the way to third base. Pie then scored on a single by 2B Brandon Macias. The inning ended with a double play, and the Bravos trailing 3-2.
The Saraperos went three-up, three-down in the top of the fifth, with Kubo recording two strikeouts. The Bravos then took over the game with five runs in the bottom of the fifth. DH Carlos Lopez hit an RBI single. 1B Matt Clark followed with another RBI single, and CF Jeremias Pineda made a great dive at home plate when he scored. The next batter, Rivero, hit a ground ball to third, and the third baseman, Christian Zazueta, stepped on the bag for one out, and threw to first for the double play. However, Clark went to second, and scored on a close play at the plate on a single by Pie. Pie then scored on a triple by Hunter, which ended the night for Saraperos starter RHP Raul Carillo. Hunter scored on a single by Macias, and the inning ended with the Bravos leading 7-3.
The Rieleros (Railroaders) de Aguascalientes (2-1) defeated the Bravos de León (1-2) 15-9 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on April 7. After an excellent start by RHP Yasutomo Kubo in the season opener, the Bravos have given up 37 runs in their last two games.
The Bravos led this game 6-4 going into the seventh inning, but the Rieleros put up ten runs in the top of the seventh. The inning started with RHP Normand Mendoza on the mound. He gave up a three-run home run by DH Saul Soto. He was replaced by LHP Marco Ramirez, who walked the only batter he faced. The next pitcher was RHP Tony Amezcua, and he was greeted with a two-run home run by 3B Jose Vargas. Amezcua walked the next two batters, then a run scored on a single by RF Edson Garcia. That chased Amezcua, and he was replaced by RHP Fredy Quintero. Quintero struck out the first batter he faced (he had an ERA of infinity coming into the game), but the next batter, SS Richy Pedroza, hit a two-RBI single. He was followed by 2B Michael Wing, who hit a two-run home run, his second hit of the inning, and second home run of the game. Quintero gave up another home run, by Vargas, in the eighth inning.
Brent Lavallee is in his third season as Head Coach of the LSU Shreveport Pilots. The Pilots won the Red River Athletic Conference regular season championship last season. Lavalee was named RRAC Coach of the Year in 2017.
Bob Broughton, courtesyrunner.com: You played four seasons at LSU Shreveport, and went on to become assistant coach and then head coach there. How did you get from North Delta, British Columbia to Shreveport?
Brent Lavallee, LSU Shreveport: Pretty much, I got lucky. It is not easy for a Canadian to get into a good American college program. A former LSUS player (Aaron McRae) was back in town getting ready to go to Spring training with the Detroit Tigers. He had played his Senior season at LSUS in 2003, leading them to a World Series appearance. He was back home training with our high school team and noticed I had some decent defensive skills and he made a call to the Head Coach at LSUS, Rocke Musgraves. Coach Rocke took his word and spoke with my high school coach, Ari Mellios - who had a reputation of making great catchers, and they gave me a little scholarship money and an opportunity to play as a Freshman, and the rest is history. I owe a lot to my parents, my high school coaches and to Aaron McRae and Coach Rocke Musgraves for giving me that opportunity. There was a lot of hard work on my behalf - I was a hockey player who played baseball in the Summer, but there was a much better chance to get an education playing baseball and I am glad I made that decision.
BB: The Pilots have usually had at least one Canadian on the roster, and this year, you have four of them. What is is about LSUS that attracts them?
BL: I think there are many things that attract Canadian student-athletes to LSUS. We have great weather and terrific facilities, especially compared to most Canadian high school programs. The cost of tuition is very affordable, even with the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar being pretty high. Also, the comfort level of having a Canadian on the coaching staff is a bit of an attraction to the families, just knowing that there is someone who knows what the international students are going through and what to do if something were to go wrong. A lot of it is networking. We don't get the chance to see many of the Canadians that end up here; we go off of recommendations from people and we trust them and hope that they know the talent level that we try to bring in. I find myself sometimes being harder on recruiting Canadians because I don't want to bring a kid 3,000 miles to sit the bench. We want them to be contributors, especially if they are coming from so far and paying that amount of money.
Mike White is the Head Baseball Coach and Athletic Director of the Bluefield College Rams. The Rams compete in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. Their record was 28-23 last season, 8-18 in conference play. This interview took place on October 7, 2018.
Bob Broughton, courtesyrunner.com: I'll start out asking you a couple of questions in your capacity as Athletic Director. It looks like there last been quite a bit of growth in athletics at Bluefield in recent years. You started football in 2012, right?
Mike White: Yes.
BB: So, what's the base of support for Bluefield, what's your fan base, where does the money come from?
MW: Well, for football, in Southwest Virginia and Southern West Virginia, there is a huge football draw. If you go to a Friday night game in Mitchell Stadium, where we play our home games, there will be crowd of anywhere from 12 to 15 thousand. Football is a huge part of the community in Southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, so it only makes sense for us to go ahead and bring it back. We had it in the early 40's, before World War II.
BB: I was going to mention, sports at Bluefield College seem to go back a long ways.
MW: Football disbanded for World War II. In 2012, we brought it back. It made sense. It was the right time to come back. The community support has been awesome, and athletics at the college has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, especially.
The Tigres de Quintana Roo (Cancun) (16-26) defeated the Bravos de León (20-20) 12-4 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on August 19. The win competed a series sweep for the Tigres, and the Bravos have lost four straight.
RF Ruben Sosa had a big day for the Tigres: 4-for-5 with three doubles, an RBI (on a sacrifice fly) and a run scored.
The Tigres started with two cheap runs in the top of the first. Sosa led off with a double, but the ball got from the outfield to second base well before Sosa did. However, the second baseman mussed the tag. Sosa then went to third when the Bravos failed to complete a double play. He then scored on a passed ball. Bravos starter LHP Carlos Teller then walked the next two batters, loading the bases. The next batter, C Francisco Cordoba, hit a ground ball to third base, and the third baseman threw to second for the force out. The call on the field was out at second, but the called was reviewed and overturned, allowing a run to score.
The Tigres got a double play in the bottom of the first, but with the bases empty, RF Quincy Latimore hit a double (Sosa just missed a sliding catch on the right field line) and scored on a single by CF Cedric Hunter.
The Bravos de León (17-11) defeated the Olmecas (Olmecs) de Tabasco (11-18) 12-2 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on August 5. The Bravos are in first place in the South Division of the Mexican League.
The Bravos were firing on all cylinders. Five pitchers held the Olmecas to five hits, all of them off starter RHP Rogelio Martinez. Defensively, they were charged with three errors, but that’s misleading. One of the errors probably should have scored a hit instead, and the Bravos made a lot of good defensive plays, especially by SS Marco Jaime (Phoenix, AZ).
Martinez was shaky the first three innings. He gave up the first run on the game in the top of the third. The Olmecas loaded the bases with one out on a walk, an error, and another walk. The second out of the came on a ground ball to third resulting in a force out at home. The next batter, 2B Anderson Hernandez, took the count to 3-2. He fouled off a couple of pitches, then took ball four to get the RBI. The following batter, LF Daniel Carbonell, also took the count to 3-2, but this time, Martinez blew strike three by him, and the inning ended with the bases loaded. Martinez then settled in, recording three strikeouts over the next 2 1/3 innings, and got the win. He was helped by a good defensive play by RF Quincy Latimore in the top of the fifth. He caught a fly ball in foul territory, then made a good throw to first base that initially looked like a double play, but the runner on first (why was he off the bag when the batted ball was clearly foul?) was ruled safe. Two more good catches, by 3B Luis Medina and Latimore, became the second and third outs.
The Bravos de León (10-6) defeated the Algodoneros (Cotton Farmers) de Unión Laguna (7-11) 10-8 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on July 22. This was the Bravos' sixth straight win, and they are in first place in the South Division of the Mexican League.
The game was scoreless for the first three innings, with the Bravos getting a double play in the top of the third inning, and leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the third. The shutout ended with an RBI single by 3B Eudor Garcia in the top of the fourth, and his single loaded the bases with nobody out. Bravos starter RHP Eder Llamas struck out the next batter, and the following batter hit a ground ball that resulted in a force out at home. Llamas was relieved by RHP Marco Quevedo, and he was greeted by a grand slam home run by CF Jonathan Jones. The Algodoneros added another run in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by C Daniel Mercado. They led 6-0 going into the bottom of the sixth, and it looked like the Bravos' winning streak was coming to an end.
Players from NAIA schools taken in the 2018 Major league Baseball draft:
|C||Elih Marrero||Saint Thomas||8||250||Red Sox||story|
|RHS||Ben Madison||Central Baptist||9||256||Giants||story|
|RHS||Shawn Dubin||Georgetown C.||13||402||Astros||story|
|C||Lane Milligan||Oklahoma City||17||520||Red Sox||story|
|RHR||Eddie Jimenez||Southeastern||18||550||Red Sox|
|RHR||Angel Reyes||Science and Arts of Oklahoma||19||555||Tigers||story|
|RHS||Stephen Yancey||Texas Wesleyan||20||600||Rays|
|3B||Mitch Robinson||British Columbia||21||637||Yankees||story|
|RHP||Gage Burland||Lewis-Clark State||22||656||Blue Jays||story|
|OF||Preston White||The Master's||24||706||Giants||story|
|RHP||Miguel Figueroa||Oklahoma City||24||732||Astros|
|RHS||Kris Jackson||Corban||28||850||Red Sox||story|
|C||Nelson Mompierre||Saint Thomas||29||860||Mets|
|LHP||Andrew Shaps||William Jessup||31||944||Dodgers||story|
|LF||Matthew Jarecki||Benedictine (KS)||37||1095||Tigers|
|RHS||Bobby Milacki||Arizona Christian||38||1151||Nationals|
|RHP||Cole Uvila||Georgia Gwinnett||40||1199||Rangers|
|RF||Andrew Warner||Columbia C.||40||1203||Cardinals|
The Leones de Yucatán (Mérida) (40-17, first place in South Division) defeated the Bravos de León (27-29, fourth place in the South Division) 6-4 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on June 3. The win gives the Leones a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven first round playoff series.
This game was almost all Leones until the eighth inning. They jumped on Bravos starter RHP Dustin Crenshaw for two runs in the top of the first inning. CF Ruben Sosa led off with a single, then stole second base. (The Leones stole three of them.) He scored on a double by DH Luis Juarez, and Juarez scored on a double by LF Jesus Valdez. They added two more runs in the third on a home run by 1B Art Charles Jr. The Bravos originally thought they got out of the third with a double play, but the call at first base was reviewed and reversed; RF Leo Heras was safe at first. However, he was then caught stealing to end the inning.
Crenshaw made one of the better defensive plays of the game in the top of the fourth, when he caught a hard-hit line drive by SS Everth Cabrera. The shutout ended in the bottom of the fourth when 2B Niko Vasquez hit an RBI single. However, CF Junior Lake, who reached on a double, also tried to score on the play, and was out on a close play at home, on a throw from Heras.