2014 McMinnville Regional preview

Cal Lutheran senior closer Aaron Roth has 11 saves going into the McMinville Regional.
Cal Lutheran athletics photo by Tracy Maple

Follow this regional

May 14: All times Eastern

Final
at Linfield 1, LeTourneau 0
Video | Box Score | Recap
Final
at Cal Lutheran 2, Illinois Wesleyan 1
Video | Box Score
Final
UW-Stevens Point 3, at Trinity (Texas) 2
Video | Box Score
May 15: All times Eastern

Final
at LeTourneau 3, Illinois Wesleyan 2
Video | Box Score | Recap
Final
at Linfield 4, Trinity (Texas) 1
Video | Box Score
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 5, Cal Lutheran 2
Video | Box Score
May 16: All times Eastern

Final
Linfield 3, at UW-Stevens Point 2
Box Score
Final
at Cal Lutheran 2, LeTourneau 1
Video | Box Score
Final - 12 innings
UW-Stevens Point 9, at Cal Lutheran 7
Video | Box Score | Recap | Live stats
May 17: All times Eastern

Final
at Linfield 4, UW-Stevens Point 2
Video | Box Score

By Colton Westfall
for D3baseball.com
 

Old meets new in the West Region. Once again, four teams ranked in the top 16 will meet up, including the 2013 national champion Linfield. The Wildcats, along with recent powers Trinity (Texas) and Cal Lutheran, return to the regional where they will meet first time participant, LeTourneau from the American Southwest Conference. The state of Texas will be hoping to end their drought, as it has been 10-plus years since it last sent a team to the D-III World Series.

Two out-of-region teams, UW-Stevens Point and Illinois Wesleyan, will join the four West teams in the McMinnville regional. UW-Stevens Point looks to return to the World Series after placing fourth in 2013.

Last year’s regional featured 10 of 11 games being decided by two runs or less, and we can hope for more of the same this year. Top rated offenses (Cal Lutheran and UW-Stevens Point) square off against elite pitching staffs (Linfield and Trinity) in the Wild West as six teams battle for the World Series bid.

McMinville Regional schedule

Wednesday, May 14
Game 1 - No. 1 LInfield (33-7) vs. No. 6 LeTourneau (32-13), 12 p.m.
Game 2 - No. 2 Cal Lutheran (34-8) vs. No. 5 Illinois Wesleyan (24-18), 3:30
Game 3 - No. 3 Trinity (Texas) (33-8) vs. No. 4 UW-Stevens Point (29-11), 7

Thursday, May 15
Game 4 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 12 p.m.
Game 5 - Winner Game 1 vs. Loser Game 3, 3:30
Game 6 - Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 7

Friday, May 16
TBD

Saturday, May 17
TBD

Favorite

Linfield. Defending national champions? Check. Returning key players from championship team? Check. Playing on their home field? Check. They boast a pitching staff that returns every player from last year’s World Series team. The 2013 champs are the favorites after they rolled through the regular season. The Wildcats enter the regional with a 30-3 record against Division III opponents.

Who will win the West Regional?
Linfield
Cal Lutheran
Trinity (Texas)
UW-Stevens Point
Illinois Wesleyan
LeTourneau

Most likely to disappoint

Cal Lutheran. The high-scoring SCIAC champions enter with a .343 team batting average. We have seen this before. This time last year, the Cal Lu team was batting over .350 before scoring only six runs in three games at the regional. Will the Kingsmen offense show up in Oregon? Or will it be another quick trip, like last year?

Cinderella

Illinois Wesleyan. Shades of the 2010 championship team are appearing as the Titans prepare for a playoff run. After posting just the fifth-best record in their league during the regular season, a victory in the league championship game guaranteed them a shot. Now they get that chance to make a loud statement as they open against Cal Lutheran.

Players to Watch

OF Nick Fisher, Linfield (.342 avg., 15 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 12 SB)
RHP Chris Haddeland, Linfield (10-1, 1.08 ERA, 100 IP, 74 K, .174 opp. avg.)
RHP Zack Speer, Trinity (8-1, 1.79 ERA, 70.1 IP, 59 K)
UTL Jake Peterson, Cal Lutheran (.444 avg., 17 2B, 27 RBI; 8-2, 3.95 ERA, 69 K)
SS Nicho DellaValle, Cal Lutheran (.406 avg., 50 R, 12 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 24 RBI)
RHP Cody Whitley, LeTourneau (6-2, 1.85 ERA, 82.2 IP, 51 K, .207 opp. avg.)
1B Garret Methvin, LeTourneau (.392 avg., 4 HR, 33 RBI, .479 OBP)
DH Kyle McHugh, UW-Stevens Point (.380 avg., 23 2B, 9 HR, 57 RBI)
RHP Luke Watson, UW-Stevens Point (7-1, 2.03 ERA, 50 K, .195 opp. avg.)
OF Bobby Czarnowski, Illinois Wesleyan (.366 avg., 14 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 40 RBI)