Sunday, 13 February 2011 00:26

Recap for February 13

Cal Baptist swept three close games from a Cal State San Marcos team that was 6-1 going into the series. The Lancers won the first game 2-0 with a pinch-hit single by Josh Manzano. Drew Madrigal and Erik Wallace scattered four hits for the shutout; the Cougars outhit the Lancers 4-3. The second game was 4-3; the Lancers scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the winning run came in on a double by RF Zach Esquerra. Patrick Smith got the win in relief. The Lancers trailed 7-0 after 1 1/2 innings in the third game, but Travis Barnes was able to hold the Cougars to two runs on four hits the rest of the way. The Lancers took a 9-7 lead in the fifth inning on a two-run home run by LF Jake Johnson, and the Cougars tied it 8-8 in the eighth when Smith walked in two runs. However, the Lancers loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, and the winning run came in when C Sharif Othman was hit by a pitch by  Johnny Omahen.

The Lancers are now 10-1. They host La Sierra on Tuesday, and host British Columbia Feb. 18-19. The Cougars visit Point Loma Nazarene on Tuesday, and play Azusa Pacific home-and-away Feb. 18-19.

Cumberland opened their season with a pair of wins over Missouri Baptist, 3-2 and 7-1. The first game was scheduled for seven innings, but it took a home run by Cory Farris in the eighth inning to decide it. Keith Kirby got the win in relief. In the second game, Mike Mandarino allowed two hits over six innings, and Christian Jennings finished with a perfect seventh inning. Farris went 2-3 with an RBI double.

Sunday, 06 February 2011 19:35

Recap for February 6

Cal Baptist won two of three against Division II Cal State-San Bernardino. The Lancers won the first game 3-2. Taylor Siemens got the win, holding CSUSB to three hits over six innings, striking out five. SS Brian Sharp singled in the winning run in the sixth inning. Story from Cal Baptist site: Coyotes Executed. CSUSB won the second game 8-3; the game was tied 3-3 going into the eighth inning, but the Coyotes pulled away with a two-RBI single by RF David Silvas. 2B Cole Bullard and Sharp each had two hits for the Lancers, and Travis Barnes got the loss. The Lancers won the rubber game 8-5, and RF Matt Marnati went 3-4 and batted in three runs. Devyn Rivera got the win; he and reliever Erik Wallace combined to hold the Coyotes to seven hits. Marnati is batting .522, Wallace is 1-0, 1.64 ERA with two saves. Coming up for the Lancers: at Cal State-LA on Tuesday, at Redlands on Wednesday, and away-and-home against  Cal State San Marcos, a team that is now 6-1, Feb 11-12.

The Red River-Sooner Conference challenge that was scheduled at Northwood (TX) was cancelled due to weather, depriving Lubbock Christian and Oklahoma City of their season openers. The Chaparrals are now scheduled to host Bellevue Feb. 11-12; the Stars will host Sterling Feb. 11-12. However, LSU-Shreveport managed  to schedule a triple-header against Lindenwood, and the result was three losses, 9-8, 7-4, and 7-6. CF Mario Parra had five hits in nine at-bats for the day for the Lions. The Pilots host Southern Arkansas on Tuesday, and Belhaven Feb. 11-12.

Monday, 31 January 2011 05:00

Recap for January 31

Cal State-San Marcos initiated their on-campus ballpark with an 8-7 win over Vanguard on Friday. The Cougars and Lions split a double-header at Vanguard on Saturday; the Lions won the first game 2-1, and the Cougars won the nightcap 7-2.

Friday's game drew a crowd of 787. They saw the Cougars trailing 7-4 going into the bottom of the ninth. They got a run on a passed ball, followed by a two-RBI single by LF Anthony Renteria to tie it. Courtesy runner Cory McCloskey scored the winning run on a single by SS Johnny Omahen. Mitch Ferguson, who pitched two perfect innings for the Cougars, got the win in relief; Mike Leal got the loss. Omahen hit a home run earlier in the game. Story from CSUSM site: Omahen, Holtman, Cougar Fans All Heroes in Thrilling Debut Win at CSUSM Baseball Field

In Saturday's first game, Lions starter Antonio Peraza went 7 2/3 innings, struck out ten, allowed one run. Cougars starter Matt Kretchmer went 7 1/3 innings, allowed only one hit, and the only run scored on him was unearned. The Lions won it in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by 1B Kyle Hardman. Robert Purpura, who retired all four batters he faced, got the win; Kyle Smart got the loss.

In the second game, the Cougars got a complete seven-inning game from Brett Miller, who allowed one earned run on six hits. The winning run came on the fourth inning on a two-RBI double by DH Mike Mecucci. The Lions left the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. Starter Gabriel Garcia got the loss. Story from CSUSM site: Kretchmer, Miller Both Outstanding in Road Split with Vanguard

Sunday, 23 January 2011 17:52

2011 Season Preview

The 55th NAIA baseball season started yesterday, with Wayland Baptist splitting a double-header at Arizona Christian. On Tuesday, Simpson visits Azusa Pacific and La Sierra is at Vanguard. On Wednesday, Webber International is at Warner. On Thursday, Simpson visits Cal Baptist. On Friday, it's Vanguard at Cal State San Marcos, Northwood (TX) at Houston-Victoria, Patten at The Master's, Brewton-Parker at Edward Waters, and U. of Science and Arts of Oklahoma at Texas College. On Saturday, Brescia visits Loyola-New Orleans. On Saturday and Sunday, Auburn-Montgomery hosts a six-team event; LSU-Shreveport plays Savannah College of Art and Design and Faulkner, and Auburn-Montgomery plays Milligan and Lindenwood on Saturday. On Sunday, Auburn-Montgomery plays LSU-Shreveport and SCAD, LSU-Shreveport plays Milligan, and SCAD plays Lindenwood.

Here is an evaluation of the top 10 teams according to the pre-season coaches' poll:

#1 – Cumberland: The defending champions had major graduation losses. However, RHP Aaron Wilkerson, who got 14 wins for the Bulldogs last year, is returning, as well as two key position players, 1B Greg Appleton (.361, 17 home runs) and C David Fanshawe (.342). The Bulldogs have added an impressive group of Division I transfers: LHP Will Locante (Tennessee), IF Tommy Winegardner (Coastal Carolina), and OF Cory Farris (Kentucky). They have a fighting chance at repeating as national champions. Games to watch: at Belhaven Feb. 19, at LSU-Shreveport March 9, Embry-Riddle March 21-22, Union U. (TN) April 1-2, at Lee April 19

Thursday, 20 January 2011 18:07

Interview with Cumberland Coach Woody Hunt

Woody Hunt is getting ready for is 30th season as Head Coach of the NAIA Defending Champion Cumberland Bulldogs.

Bob Broughton, courtesyrunner.com: First, congratulations on being named NAIA Coach of the Year. The Bulldogs were also named Amateur Team of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Is Cumberland starting to get a higher profile in Middle Tennessee?

Woody Hunt: Well, this year has done a lot for that. We’ve been successful in the past, but this year has really been over the top. We’ve had a lot of publicity and a lot of awards and this year has really given us more of a profile in the Middle Tennessee area, which is difficult with two professional sports teams as well as all of the colleges and universities in the area.

BB: Most of the people who will read this have never been to Lebanon. What do you tell potential recruits about Lebanon and the Cumberland campus? And about Cumberland's academic offerings?

WH: I tell prospective student-athletes that we are a Liberal Arts university and you have some choices with regards to your major. We sell the Nashville area as much as we do Lebanon because we are so close. Nashville is a great city and Middle Tennessee is a great area. You get the laid-back atmosphere of a small town with Lebanon but also the big city with Nashville. With regards to our campus, it’s a small college campus with a lot of attention. I tell them that it’s not for everybody. If you like a small university with personal attention and a good baseball program, then this is the place for you.

I also sell our facilities, which are very good. That goes a long way in our recruiting process. The internet has done a lot for that because prospective student-athletes can go online and look at the pictures of our facilities – the field and grandstand and press box as well as the locker room and indoor hitting facility that we have. That’s been a huge asset for us in recruiting.

Two Southern California colleges with strong baseball programs will be in NCAA Division II for the 2012 season, and three more will be applying for membership in Division II on June 1.

Cal Baptist has been upgrading their athletic program for the past few years, and they remodeled their ballpark in 2007. They recently won their first Golden State Athletic Conference since 2006, and made their first trip to the Baseball National Championship since 1997. Cal Baptist supports 16 varsity sports. They have been accepted for membership in the Pacific West Conference, and will be competing in PacWest in 2012.

Cal State San Marcos is headed for the more prestigious California Collegiate Athletic Conference. This is an obvious move; most of the members of this conference have names that start with “Cal State.” CSUSM recently added men's and women's basketball to bring the number of varsity sports to 13. While CSUSM was moving in the direction of Division II anyway, their lack of a conference affiliation (membership in the GSAC is restricted to Christian colleges) was a drawback for their NAIA membership.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:35

2011 Coaches' preseason poll

The 2011 NAIA Coaches' pre-season top 25:

RANK

LAST YEAR

SCHOOL

2010 RECORD

TOTAL POINTS

1

2

Cumberland (TN)

58-9

556

2

4

Lee University (TN)

52-13

526

3

3

Cal Baptist

49-15

511

4

1

Lewis-Clark State (ID)

48-5

498

5

5

Lubbock Christian (TX)

46-16

492

6

8

Embry-Riddle (FL)

47-19

465

7

6

Oklahoma City

50-16

464

8

17

Point Loma Nazarene (CA)

41-20-1

431

9

13

Southern Polytechnic (GA)

49-13

400

10

7

British Columbia

41-13

377

11

10

Madonna (MI)

48-11

365

12

14

Belhaven (MS)

44-17

353

13

9

LSU Shreveport

48-13

340

14

24

Tennessee Wesleyan

46-18

325

15

11

Fresno Pacific (CA)

36-17

288

16

18

Union U. (TN)

42-17

267

17

21

Campbellsville (KY)

42-22

246

18

20

South Carolina-Beaufort

38-13

228

19

19

York (NB)

45-9

221

20

16

Faulkner (AL)

39-21

212

21

15

C. of Idaho

38-16

158

22

RV

William Jewell (MO)

41-15

141

23

NR

Taylor (IN)

38-17

131

24

22

Brewton-Parker (GA)

40-18

130

25

25

Rio Grande (OH)

48-13

116

First place votes: Cumberland 16, Cal Baptist 2, Lee 1, Lewis-Clark State 1

This poll represents an annual mistake by the NAIA; they take this poll much too early. With many of the top NAIA teams heavily dependent on transfers, is isn't reasonable to expect accurate predictions when the coaches don't know who they are going to have in school for the spring semester. However, this poll is out there, and is open for comments.

Sunday, 07 November 2010 20:02

2011 Preseason All-America Team

The 2011 NAIA Baseball Preseason All-America team, as selected by the NAIA All-America Selection Committee:

Name

School

Sharif Othman

California Baptist

Brian Sharp

California Baptist

Taylor Siemens

California Baptist

Aaron Wilkerson

Cumberland (TN)

Kevin Park

Dickinson State (ND)

Phillip Reamy

Embry-Riddle (FL)

Justin Medeiros

Indiana Tech

Andrew Broulliette

LSU-Shreveport

Kevin Smith

LSU-Shreveport

Jason Trivett

Milligan (TN)

George Ban

Missouri Valley

Anthony Lopez

Oklahoma Baptist

Chad Carman

Oklahoma City

Danny Gesick

Shawnee State (OH)

Phillip Butler

Shawnee State (OH)

Corey Schultz

St. Francis (IL)

Kevin Hennessey

Wayland Baptist (TX)

Cal Baptist has three players on the list.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 18:41

Two NAIA alumni in World Series

Two players for the San Francisco Giants had stellar careers at NAIA schools.

Giants starting LHP Jonathan Sánchez was drafted out of Ohio Dominican (now in Division II) in 2004. His major league career started with the Giants in 2006. He started 33 games in 2010, has a record of 13-9, 3.07 ERA, 205 strikeouts. He has had three post-season starts so far, with a loss and two no-decisions.

He played four seasons, 2001-2004, at Ohio Dominican. He pitched four no-hitters for the Panthers, and holds several school records, including most strikeouts in a game (16), career strikeouts (311), and career shutouts (10). He made three trips with the Panthers to the NAIA Baseball National Championship. He took a loss in the 2002 tournament. In 2003, he got a win against Olivet Nazarene, went 8 1/3 innings, allowed two earned runs, struck out nine.

Freddy Sánchez is the starting 2B for the Giants. He was drafted in 2000 out of Oklahoma City by the Red Sox, played for the Red Sox in 2002 and 2003, the Pirates 2004 through part of 2009, and the Giants 2009-present. He batted .292 in 2010, including 22 doubles, and is batting .268 so far in the post-season. He won the NL batting championship in 2006, with a .344 average.

Sanchez was an NAIA All-American at shortstop for the Stars in 2000; he hit .434 that year. He was the first player coached by Denny Crabaugh to make it to the Major Leagues. OCU Assistant Coach Keith Lytle taught him how to hit to the opposite field.

Sunday, 03 October 2010 17:28

Book review: Strike IX, by Paul Lonardo

Strike IX, by Paul Lonardo, InfinityPublishing.com, 2009

This book tells the story of the Providence Friars' final season of baseball in 1999; the program was discontinued primarily because of Title IX.

If you have some sort of connection to Providence College, your reaction to this book will probably be, “this would have been a really great book if the words 'historic season' appeared just one more time.” (The author, Paul Lonardo, went to U. Of Rhode Island.)

During this final season, the Friars had a regular-season record of 43-13, and had a 15-game winning streak. They won the Big East tournament, and made it to the final of the NCAA regional tournament. Five players from this team were drafted. One of them, RF Keith Reed, made it to the major leagues with the Orioles. Three others, SS Jaime Athas, C Dan Conway, and 1B Mike O'Keefe, made it as high as AAA.

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