Monday, 20 May 2013 22:32

National Championship preview

Written by Administrator

Schedule for the first two days of the 57th NAIA Baseball National Championship, Friday-Saturday, May 24-25, Harris Field, Lewiston, ID (all times PDT):

9 AM: #8 seed Sterling (48-12) vs. #9 Missouri Baptist (35-12)

Sterling (Sterling, KS) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship.
Nickname: Warriors
Rankings: #15 in coaches' poll, #31 in ISR. Strength of schedule: #105
Quality wins: Oklahoma City, Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 1-1 vs. York
Top position players: IF Joe Battaglia (.422, 10 HR, 63 RBI), IF Joe Williams (.395), OF Jared Forbush (.391)
Top pitchers: RHP Steven Cazares (9-1, 0.86 ERA), RHP Daniel Cloteaux (10-3, 2.81 ERA, 70 K). Cazare's ERA is second-lowest in the NAIA.
Coach: Adrian Dinkel, second season
Outlook: Happy to be here.

Missouri Baptist (Saint Louis) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship.
Nickname: Spartans
Rankings: #20 in coaches' poll, #23 in ISR. SoS: #56
Quality wins: 2-1 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, including a 19-inning win in the final of the Kingsport bracket. 1-1 vs. Cumberland, 1-1 vs. Lindsey Wilson
Top position players: IF Patrick Johnson (.387), OF Ryan Gunhouse (.373, 7 HR, 40 RBI), IF Pier Olivier-Dostaler (.322, 34 RBI), IF Joseph Taylor (.241, 9 HR, 43 RBI). Olivier-Dostaler is one of six Canadians on the Spartans' roster, and they also have two Puerto Ricans.
Top pitchers: RHP Ethan Gibbons (10-0, 2.09 ERA, 85 K), RHP Julien Soucy (5-2, 1.90 ERA)
Coach: Eddy Uschold, 14th season
Outlook: The Spartans will go home with a win.

Noon: #4 Northwood (TX) (43-11) vs. #5 The Master's (43-15)

Northwood (TX) (Cedar Hill) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship.
Nickname: Knights
Rankings: #6 in coaches' poll, #10 in ISR. SoS: #39
Quality wins: 3-0 vs. Oklahoma City, 3-1 vs. Texas Wesleyan, Oklahoma Baptist, 1-1 vs. York
Top position players: DH Bryan Kinard (.408), SS Elvin Rodriguez (.370), IF Joee Reyna (.348), UTL Isaac Maturino (.345, 8 HR), 1B Adam Humes (.333, 7 HR, 53 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Cody Gray (8-1, 2.13 ERA, 52 K), LHP Jason Gareri (7-1, 2.77 ERA), RHP Roman Gomez (9-2, 4.09 ERA)
Coach: Jeremy Kennedy

The Master's (Santa Clarita, CA) is making their second appearance at the Baseball National Championship; the first one was in 2000.
Nickname: Mustangs
Rankings: #7 in coaches' poll, #1 in ISR. SoS: #6 (highest in tournament)
Quality wins: 4-3 vs. Concordia-Irvine, 2-1 vs. Cal State-San Marcos
Top position players: OF Steve Karkenny (.354, 11 HR, 58 RBI), IF Jonathan Popadics (.352)
Top pitchers: A.J. Work (12-4, 2.49 ERA, 77 K, 115 2/3 IP), Andrew Klausmeier (6-1, 2.14 ERA), James Scott (7-4, 2.87 ERA)
Coach: Monte Brooks, 16th season
Outlook: The Mustangs should make it to the final four.

3 PM: #3 Embry-Riddle (48-13) vs. #6 York (44-10)

Embry-Riddle (Daytona Beach, FL) is making their twelfth appearance in Lewiston, and their tenth in the past eleven years. They were 0-2 in last year's tournament.
Nickname: Eagles
Rankings: #5 in coaches' poll, #9 in ISR. SoS: #35
Significant wins: 2-1 vs. Georgetown (KY), 2-0 vs. Bellevue, 2-2 vs. Lewis-Clark State, 4-1 vs. Ave Maria, Concordia-Irvine, Lindsey Wilson
Top position players: UT Kevin Lindheim (.335, 52 RBI), UT Jeff Lemon (.349, 48 RBI), C Adam Cellini (.272, 33 RBI)
Top pitchers: LHP Kevin Maloney (11-1, 2.26 ERA), LHP Eric Green (6-0, 0.83 ERA, 11 saves, 59 K in 30 relief appearances), LHP Stetson Nelson (8-2, 2.03 ERA, 98 K), RHP Chad Modomo (7-2, 2.80 ERA). Maloney's career numbers are 30-1, 2.48 ERA, 164 K. Nelson and Will Dismukes of Faulkner are tied for eighth in the NAIA in strikeouts.
Coach: Randy Stegall, 6th season
Outlook: The Eagles have an outside shot at winning this tournament.

York (York, NE) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship.
Nickname: Panthers
Rankings: #9 in coaches' poll, #11 in ISR. SoS: #63
Quality wins: 1-1 vs. Sterling, 3-1 vs. Oklahoma Baptist, 1-1 vs. Northwood (TX), 2-2 vs. Bellevue
Top position players: IF Zach Garcia (.357), IF Trevor Ramos (.347, 53 RBI)
Top pitchers: LHP Aaron Conyers (9-2, 2.12 ERA, 77 K), RHP Tom Korn (10-2, 2.69 ERA), RHP Julio Angulo (8-0, 3.29 ERA)
Coach: Nick Harlan, ninth season
Outlook: The Panthers are happy to be here.

7 PM: #7 Lewis-Clark State (41-13) vs. #10 Rogers State (34-22)

Lewis-Clark State (Lewiston, ID) is the host team. They have won 16 national championships, most recently in 2008. They were 1-2 for the fourth straight year last year.
Nickname: Warriors
Rankings: #10 in coaches' poll, #2 in ISR. SoS: #11
Significant wins: 7-1 vs. Concordia-Portland, 2-2 vs. Embry-Riddle, 4-0 vs. Menlo, Linfield
Top position players: 1B/3B Brady Steiger (.431, 46 RBI), 1B Eric Peterson (.402), OF Cody Lavalli (.389, 9 HR, 49 RBI), OF Kyle Knigge (.321). Steiger is third in the NAIA in hitting.
Top Pitchers: RHP Seth Haehl (3-1, 2.05 ERA), RHP Steve Thompson (4-5, 2.44 ERA), LHP Anthony Armanino (9-3, 3.52 ERA, 66 K), RHP Sal Arena (1-3, 3.72 ERA), RHP Carsen Nylund (6-1, 3.52 ERA)
Coach: Jeremiah Robbins, first season
Outlook: The Warriors should have been seeded higher, but their #7 seeding makes their first game against a decent Rogers State team an absolute must-win. If they get past the Hillcats, they get a big Saturday night home crowd against Lee.

Rogers State (Claremore, OK) is making their second appearance in Lewiston. They were last years' runner-up. They are the first fourth-seeded team in a sectional bracket to make it to Lewiston.
Nickname: Hillcats
Rankings: NR in coaches' poll, #40 in ISR. SoS: #18
Quality wins: 2-2 vs. Oklahoma Baptist, 0-4 vs. Lubbock Christian in regular season, but 2-0 against them in the Claremore bracket.
Top position players: OF Colton Campbell (.415, 51 RBI), SS Jose Olazagasti (.347). Olazagasti is one of three Puerto Ricans on the Hillcats' roster, and they also have four Canadians and a Dominican Republican. They are tied with Missouri Baptist for the tournament's United Nations award.
Top pitchers: LHP Shawn Spainhoward (8-4, 1.97 ERA), LHP Brandon Bargas (8-5, 2.55 ERA, 83 K)
Coach: Ron Bradley, tenth season
Outlook: The Hillcats might get a win.

3 PM Saturday: #1 Faulkner (51-11) vs. Sterling-Missouri Baptist winner

Faulkner (Montgomery, AL) is making their second trip to Lewiston; the first was in 2011.
Nickname: Eagles
Rankings: #1 in coaches' poll, #3 in ISR. SoS: #15
Quality wins: 2-0 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 2-1 vs. Texas Wesleyan
Top position players: C Zac Colby (.379), OF Michael Cruz (.365, 13 HR, 66 RBI), C Sergio Sanchez (.356, 66 RBI), OF Antonio Kendrick (.308). Cruz is one of two Dominican Republicans on the roster. He is sixth in the NAIA in home runs. He and Sergio Sanchez are tied for third in the NAIA in RBI. Kendrick is second in the NAIA with 52 stolen bases.
Top pitchers: RHP Johnny Shuttlesworth (14-1, 1.19 ERA, 93 K), RHP Will Dismukes (11-2, 2.17 ERA, 98 K), RHP Julian Esquibel (10-2, 2.68 ERA). Shuttlesworth is tied with two other pitchers for most wins in the NAIA.
Coach: Patrick McCarthy, fourth season
Outlook: The Eagles' starting pitching is good enough to win this tournament. The Eagles and Lee have not played each other this season. They will meet Tuesday night if they both win their first two games.

6:30 PM Saturday: #2 Lee (49-10) vs. Lewis-Clark State-Rogers State winner

Lee (Cleveland, TN) is making their seventh straight trip to Lewiston under Head Coach Mark Brew. They went 2-2 (fourth place) last year. They finished third in 2011, and were runners-up in 2008 and 2010.
Nickname: Flames
Rankings: #3 in coaches' poll, #4 in ISR. SoS: #17 (highest in tournament)
Significant wins: Georgetown C. (KY), 2-1 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 2-2 vs. William Carey
Top position players: 1B/C Corey Davis (.357, 8 HR, 62 RBI), SS Josh Silver (.384), 2B Brandon Rader (.381), 1B/3B Karsten Strieby (.358), 1B/OF Derrick Pitts (.303, 9 HR, 53 RBI)
Top Pitchers: RHP Jose Samayoa (10-1, 1.76 ERA), RHP Andy Hillis (3-0, 0.53 ERA, 9 saves, 62 K in 28 relief appearances), RHP Myles Smith (11-3, 1.51 ERA, 88 K), LHP Clint Terry (10-1, 1.53 ERA)
Coach: Mark Brew, 7th season. His record is a phenomenal 375-87-1.
Outlook: The Flames have been contenders in this tournament several times, and this will be Coach Brew's last chance to win it before Lee heads to Division II.

Predicted order of finish

The Master's
Lewis-Clark State
Rogers State
Northwood (TX)
Missouri Baptist

If the top four seeds all win their first games, Monday's matchups will be Lee vs. Embry-Riddle and Faulkner vs. Northwood.

All games are webcast by KOZE Radio (audio and free) and NeuLion (video and $29.95 for the series). Live stats are available for all games by clicking here. The final and the “if necessary” game will be streamed live by ESPN 3.

Last modified on Monday, 20 May 2013 23:21


Bob Broughton started going to British Columbia home games in 2001, and was favorably impressed with the caliber of play. This led to annual trips to the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID, a nine-hour drive from Vancouver. He retired in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2012.


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