|Shortstop Bill Munson leads Rhodes everyday players in batting average, doubles and total bases.
Rhodes athletics photo by Allison Bowen
Follow this regional
May 15: All times Eastern
at Birmingham-Southern 3, Rhodes 2Video | Box Score | Recap | Photos
By Jim Dixon
The South region has seen their ups and downs in the past decade but 2015 is an up year. Missing from the Demorest Regional is top seeded Frostburg State but there is plenty of talent with four teams ranked in the Top 25.
Three teams will be looking for their first trip to Appleton and they are seeded 1, 2, 3. Rhodes was tabbed the top seed when it won the SAA, a conference that contributed three teams to this year's playoff field. Pacific Lutheran had to wait for an at-large selection but was off the board early as was SAA runner-up Birmingham-Southern.
In the bottom of the regional lies the teams with the most experience. Nobody has been to more World Series than Marietta who is taking the long bus trip from Ohio to Northern Georgia. Marietta made the trip to Demorest on their 2012 spring trip and when the trophies were handed out Marietta was left holding the biggest one of the season. Methodist and Emory are no strangers to Demorest or the World Series having made the local trip and the flight to the championship round. Just last year, Emory celebrated a regional win on this field before a second place finish in the World Series.
Demorest Regional schedule
Wednesday, May 13
Game 1 - No. 1 Rhodes (32-11) vs. No. 6 Methodist (32-8), 12 p.m.
Game 2 - No. 2 Pacific Lutheran (30-12) vs. No. 5 Emory (26-12), 3:30 p.m.
Game 3 - No. 3 Birmingham-Southern (34-10-1) vs. No. 4 Marietta (28-16), 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 14
Game 4 - Methodist vs. Emory, 12 p.m.
Game 5 - Rhodes vs. Marietta, 3:30 p.m.
Game 6 - Pacific Lutheran vs. Birmingham-Southern, 7 p.m.
Friday, May 15
Game 7 - Birmingham-Southern vs. Rhodes, 12 p.m.
Game 8 - Marietta vs. Emory, 3:30 p.m.
Game 9 - Birmingham-Southern vs Pacific Lutheran, 7 p.m.
Meet the teams
Saturday, May 16
Game 10 - Pacific Lutheran vs. Emory, 12 p.m.
Game 11 - Birmingham-Southern vs. Emory, 3:30 p.m.
Back in January, the favorite to take the South was Emory. It is not a surprise to see Emory in the tournament but despite a superior season, it is not the Eagles who wears the mantle of D3baseball.com's favorite. Our pick-to-click is Birmingham-Southern. The Panthers are coming off a second place finish in the SAA and this is just the motivation for a veteran team to finally get past the regional into the D-III World Series.
Most likely to disappoint
Marietta needed two wins on the final day of the OAC tournament to assure themselves of yet another regional appearance. Never underestimate head coach Brian Brewer and his ability to prepare his team and the first round match up with Birmingham-Southern could be the best game of the regional. No 'Etta Express fans will be happy with anything but a regional championship and if the Pioneers don't advance to Appleton, it will be a disappointment.
One does not generally think of the top seeds as cinderella candidates. Rhodes is the top seed in the regional and Pacific Lutheran has been the top team in the West regional rankings for all three weeks. The Lynx have lived in the shadow of Birmingham-Southern and it was a big step to sweep the SAA championship series from the Panthers. The Lutes have seen Linfield, George Fox and Whitworth each make the trip to Appleton from the NWC, with two of the three bringing back Walnut and Bronze. Both the Lynx and Lutes will be looking to making the next step and get their turn in the spotlight.
Players to Watch
C Jacob Mayfield, Birmingham-Southern (.333, 39 R, 6 HR, 48 RBI, .994 FLD%)
2B Landon Packard, Pacific Lutheran (.350, 31 R, 10 2B, 27 RBI, .988 FLD%)
3B Philip Maldari, Emory (.370, 36 R, 18 2B, 30 RBI)
3B Ryan Hanahan, Marietta (.384, 50 R, 9 HR, 58 RBI)
SS Bill Munson, Rhodes (.335, 52 R, 18 2B, 27 RBI, 43 SB)
OF Alex Rodriguez, Methodist (.377, 38 R, 10 2B, 27 RBI)
OF Collin Nilson, Pacific Lutheran (.348, 38 R, 14 2B, 7 HR, 41 RBI)
DH Ray Landers, Methodist (.376, 30 R, 15 2B, 38 RBI)
SP Christian Herstine, Marietta (6-3, 1.78, 2 CG, 2 saves, 70 K, .213 b/avg)
SP Daniel Morris, Rhodes (9-0, 1.36, 2 CG, 40 K, .199 b/avg)
SP Jackson Weeg, Emory (10-1, 2.10, 74 K, .231 b/avg)
SP Blake Stevens, Birmingham-Southern (8-2, 1.14, 97 K)
RP AJ Konopaski, Pacific Lutheran (2-0, 1.64, 10 saves, 82 K, .207 b/avg)