Sunday, 20 May 2018 07:00

National Championship preview

Written by Administrator

Schedule for the first two days of the 62nd NAIA Baseball National Championship, Friday-Saturday, May 25-June 1, Harris Field, Lewiston, ID (all times PDT):

8:30 AM: #8 seed Antelope Valley (44-12-1) vs. #9 Reinhardt (41-18)

Antelope Valley (Lancaster, CA) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship, in only the third season of their program. They won both the regular season and tournament championships of the California Pacific Conference.
Nickname: Pioneers
Rankings: #17 in coaches' poll, #29 in ISR. Strength of Schedule: #93
Quality wins: 2-2 vs. Lewis-Clark State, Middle Georgia State, 2-1 vs. William Jessup
Top position players: IF Michael Pereznegron (.398), IF Tyler Pittmon (.376, 9 HR, 64 RBI), OF Adam Maciel (.410, 57 RBI), C/1B Nathaniel Broaddus (.318, 8 HR, 42 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Clayton Rabiej (11-0, 3.28 ERA, 93 K), RHP Jacob Castillo (11-0, 4.75 ERA), RHP Jesse Garcia (7-4, 5.30 ERA, 77 K), LHP Chris Gutierrez (3-0, 2.61 ERA)
Coach: Jacob Garsez, third season
Outlook: The Pioneers should win this one, but if they do, Saturday night's game against Faulkner will be a challenge.

Reinhardt (Waleska, GA) is one of five teams making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship. The Eagles and Freed-Hardeman are tied for fourth in the NAIA in team fielding, with a .971 average.
Nickname: Eagles
Rankings: Unranked in coaches' poll, #14 in ISR. Strength of Schedule: #24
Quality wins: 1-1 vs. Middle Georgia State, 2-1 vs. Campbellsville
Top position players: OF Kaleb Swayze (.356, 10 HR, 45 RBI), 1B Sherman Graves (.316, 10 HR, 55 RBI), IF Jacob Cagle (.256, 12 HR, 49 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Heriberto Casasola (Panama City, Panama; 6-2, 2.25 ERA, 48 K), RHP Dylan Powers (11-3, 2.62 ERA), 80 K), RHP Jason Gifford (9-3, 3.32 ERA, 85 K)
Coach: John Harris, first season
Outlook: The Eagles are happy to be here.

11:30 AM: #4 Oklahoma City (50-8) vs. #5 Southeastern (54-7)

Oklahoma City is making their 16th trip to the Baseball National Championship. They won the championship in 2005, and they won 67 games that season. They were 2-2 (fourth place) at last year's tournament, with losses to Lewis-Clark State and Faulkner.
Nickname: Stars
Rankings: #5 in coaches' poll, #8 in ISR. SoS: #57
Quality wins: 2-0 vs. Freed-Hardeman, 2-2 vs. Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 2-1 vs. Jamestown
Top position players: C/OF Lane Milligan (.458, 15 HR, 86 RBI), IF Shaun Corso (.340, 8 HR, 63 RBI), C/IF Joe Lytle (.402, 7 HR, 75 RBI). IF Garrett Foster (.364, 12 HR, 78 RBI), IF Branden Grieger (.361, 13 HR, 61 RBI). Milligan leads the NAIA in RBI.
Top pitchers: RHP Matt Young (3-0, 1.65 ERA, 47 K), RHP Tanner Andrews (1-1, 1.39 ERA, 35 K), RHP Bryce Milligan (10-1, 2.14 ERA, 87 K), RHP J.R. Holloway (9-0, 4.17 ERA, 70 K), RHP Blaze Hastings (9-1, 4.50 ERA, 57 K)
Coach: Denney Crabaugh, 26th season
Outlook: The Stars have a lot of pitching depth. That's always a good thing, but especially so in a competition like this one.

Southeastern (Lakeland, FL) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship.
Nickname: Fire
Rankings: #4 in coaches' poll, #4 in ISR. SoS: #30
Quality wins: 2-0 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 3-2 vs. Webber International
Top position players: 1B/C Nick Bottari (.425, 11 HR, 43 RBI), UTL Dan Valerio (.402, 16 HR, 79 RBI), OF Manuel Mesa (.362, 10 HR, 30 RBI), OF Marvin Malone (.351, 16 HR, 57 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Eddie Jimenez (2-0, 0.84 ERA, 31 K), LHP Jonathan Bermudez (Coama, Puerto Rico; 13-2, 1.72 ERA, 133 K), RHP Jordan Scott (13-1, 2.50 ERA, 101 K), LHP Felix Dieguez (6-2, 4.50 ERA, 77 K), RHP Jared Crescentini (6-1, 3.21 ERA, 70 K). Bermudez' ERA is seventh-lowest in the NAIA, and he has the second-most strikeouts.
Coach: Adrian Dinkel, second season
Outlook: The Fire and Saint Thomas were dead even in The Sun Conference regular season, so either or both of them could end up in the top four.

3 PM: #7 Freed-Hardeman (43-14) vs. #10 Northwestern Ohio (42-18)

Freed-Hardeman (Henderson, TN) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship. They won the American Midwest Conference tournament.
Nickname: Lions
Rankings: #24 in coaches' poll, #9 in ISR. SoS: #26
Quality wins: 2-0 vs. Oklahoma Wesleyan
Top position players: IF Josh Sears (.386, 19 HR, 66 RBI), IF Bryce Lester (.365), OF Wes Brooks (.365, 16 HR, 55 RBI). Sears is seventh in the NAIA in home runs.
Top pitchers: RHP Jared Humphry (7-3, 2.73 ERA, 52 K), RHP Jacob Sawyers (7-1, 2.82 ERA, 65 K), RHP Austin Steel (10-2, 3.32 ERA, 67 K), RHP Connor Creasy (8-0, 3.86 ERA, 34 K)
Coach: Jonathan Estes, ninth season
Outlook: The Lions will win a game.

Northwestern Ohio (Lima, OH) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship. The Racers won this year's United Nations award big-time. Their full roster has 18 players born outside the US. Seven of them saw action in the Opening Round; two from Canada and the Dominican Republic, and one each from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Australia.
Nickname: Racers
Rankings: Unranked in coaches' poll, #18 in ISR. Strength of Schedule: #21
Quality wins: 2-2 vs. Campbellsville, Bryan, 2-0 vs. Point Park
Top position players: IF Blake Maines (.431, 5 HR, 49 RBI), IF Felix Correa (Canovanas, Puerto Rico; .376, 3 HR, 33 RBI), C Dayfran Ortiz (Aragua, Venezuela; .346, 8 HR, 42 RBI), IF/OF Jack Barrie (Maleny, Australia; .326, 14 HR, 47 RBI), OF Kyle Fisher (.308, 11 HR, 45 RBI), OF/IF Junior Gomez (La Vega, Dominican Republic; .327, 8 HR, 54 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Jacob Hulcher (3-2, 1.10 ERA, 54 K), RHP Mitch Ebben (6-0, 2.28 RBI. 43 K), RHP Olivier Mailloux (Ville de Quebec, Canada; 11-3, 2.98 ERA, 75 K), RHP Mike Alexander (8-2, 3.10 ERA, 74 K)
Coach: Kory Hartman, eighth season
Outlook: The Racers are happy to be here.

7 PM: #3 Saint Thomas (56-7) vs. #6 Lewis-Clark State (38-11)

Saint Thomas (Miami Gardens, FL) is making their sixth appearance at the Baseball National Championship. They were runners-up in 2015; They led Lewis-Clark State 7-4 going into the eighth inning, but lost 10-7. They won the regular season championship of The Sun Conference.
Nickname: Bobcats
Rankings: #3 in coaches' poll, #3 in ISR. SoS: #5
Quality wins: 4-2 vs. Webber International, 2-1 vs. Southeastern, 2-0 vs. William Carey
Top position players: OF Nick Izquierdo (.448), IF Chris Garabedian (.407, 59 RBI), IF Erick Delgado (.405, 9 HR, 39 RBI), IF Jackie Urbaez (.397, 9 HR, 72 RBI), C Nelson Mompierre (.396, 15 HR, 74 RBI), OF Sergio Lopez (.344, 13 HR, 68 RBI)
Top pitchers: LHP Erne Valdes (1-2, 1.82 ERA, 59 K), RHP Orlando Rodriguez (Havana, Cuba; 14-0, 2.44 ERA, 115 K), RHP Chris Rodriguez (11-1, 2.56 ERA, 81 K), LHP Ian Exposito (9-1, 3.04 ERA, 70 K). Orlando Rodriguez leads the NAIA in wins.
Coach: Jorge Perez, tenth season
Outlook: During the regular season, there was a 33-game stretch where the Bobcats lost only one game. They have an outside shot at winning the championship.

Lewis-Clark State (Lewiston, ID) is the host team and defending champion. They have won 19 national championships. They won the regular season championship of NAIA West.
Nickname: Warriors
Rankings: #6 in coaches' poll, #6 in ISR. SoS: #13
Quality wins: 2-2 vs. Antelope Valley, 2-2 vs. Georgia Gwinnett
Top position players: OF Raymond Pedrina (.356, 6 HR, 34 RBI), OF Tyler McDowell (.363, 5 HR, 41 RBI), C Cory Voss (.345, 10 HR, 55 RBI)
Top Pitchers: RHP Lalo Porras (1-0, 1.19 ERA, 27 K), LHP Justin Hammergren (5-0, 1.46 ERA, 34 K), RHP Tyler Burch (8-1, 2.53 ERA, 73 K)
Coach: Jeremiah Robbins, sixth season. He will be moving on to Umpqua CC (Roseburg, OR) next season.
Outlook: Last season's edition of the Warriors sent eight players to pro ball. This year's team isn't as good, and it's unlikely that they will win a fourth consecutive national championship.

3 PM Saturday: #1 Faulkner (53-7) vs. Antelope Valley or Reinhardt

Faulkner (Montgomery, AL) is making their seventh trip to Lewiston; they won the championship in 2013. They were the runners-up the past two years. Last year, They won one of three games against Lewis-Clark State, losing the "if necessary" game 6-4. They won the regular season championship of the Southern States Athletic Conference.
Nickname: Eagles
Rankings: #1 in coaches' poll, #1 in ISR. SoS: #1
Quality wins: Reinhart, 4-0 vs. Northwestern Ohio, 3-1 vs. Georgia Gwinnett, 4-0 vs. William Carey, 2-0 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 2-2 vs. Middle Georgia State
Top position players: LF Reid Long (.372, 7 HR, 46 RBI), IF Ryan Rosa (.444, 5 HR, 43 RBI), OF Reese Cooley (.395, 13 HR, 47 RBI), 1B Austin Paschke (.327, 12 HR, 55 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Tyler Tungate (8-0, 2.57 ERA, 94 K), RHP Brandon Suttles (6-2, 1.51 ERA, 47 K), RHP Alex Carrillo (5-0, 2.22 ERA, 55 K), RHP Tyler Thornton (7-0, 3.58 ERA, 89 K)
Coach: Patrick McCarthy, ninth season
Outlook: The Eagles are a clear favorite to win this tournament. Not only were they tough all season; they came close to winning it the last two years.

6:30 PM Saturday: #2 Georgia Gwinnett (48-10) vs. Freed-Hardeman or Northwestern Ohio

Georgia Gwinnett (Lawrenceville, GA) is making their second trip to Lewiston. The first was in 2014, and they were 1-2 at that tournament.
Nickname: Grizzlies
Rankings: #2 in coaches' poll, #2 in ISR. SoS: #2
Quality wins: 2-1 vs. Webber International, 3-0 vs. Indiana Tech, 1-1 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 2-2 vs. Lewis-Clark State, 2-0 vs. Bryan, 4-0 vs. William Carey, 2-1 vs. Middle Georgia, Keiser
Top position players: 2B Walter Coursey (.506, 1 HR, 42 RBI), OF C.J. Ballard (.431), 1B Alez Garland (.374, 9 HR, 50 RBI), C Nick Barnes (.369, 7 HR, 48 RBI), 2B/OF Marcus McCorkle (.355, 3 HR, 56 RBI). Coursey leads the NAIA in hitting.
Top pitchers: SS/RHP Jordan Tylski (4-0, 0,68 ERA, 17 K, and .302, 2 HR, 47 RBI at the plate), RHP Hunter Dollander (8-1, 2.56 ERA, 70 K), LHP Gregory Loukinen (6-1, 2.62 ERA, 88 K), LHP Hunter Peck (11-0, 4.35 ERA, 79 K)
Coach: Brad Stromdahl, sixth season
Outlook: Like Saint Thomas, Southeastern, and Oklahoma City, the Grizzlies have an outside shot at winning this.

Predicted order of finish:

Faulkner
Saint Thomas
Georgia Gwinnett
Southeastern
Oklahoma City
Lewis-Clark State
Freed-Hardeman
Antelope Valley
Reinhardt
Northwestern Ohio

If the top four seeds all win their first games, Monday's matchups will be Faulkner vs. Oklahoma City and Georgia Gwinnett vs. Saint Thomas. Tournament bracket Tournament stats Schedule and Results (includes links to press releases)

In a long-standing Lewiston tradition, all games are audio webcast by KOZE Radio, free of charge. Video webcasts are by Stretch Internet. It's $14.95 per day, or $34.95 for all 19 games. Live stats are available for all games by clicking here. The games on or after May 30 will also be streamed live by ESPN 3.

Last modified on Monday, 28 May 2018 11:03
Administrator

Administrator

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.

Website: broughton.ca/

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