|Garrett Crum hit two of his six homers on the season in one NCAC tournament game vs. DePauw.
North Coast Athletic Conference photo by Russell Kramer
Follow this regional
May 18: All times Eastern
at Washington and Jefferson 12, Misericordia 7Video | Box Score | Recap
Meet the teams
|Tyler Phillips started off hot for the Red Dragons but has struggled to stay in the lineup of late.
Cortland athletics photo by Darl Zehr Photography
By Pat Coleman
Washington, Pa., is already a crossroads of sorts, where you get off the Pennsylvania Turnpike if you want to continue west on I-70. For Division III baseball, however, it will be a meeting place of teams from the Mideast, New York and Mid-Atlantic regions as eight teams battle for one trip to Appleton, Wis., for the Division III World Series.
Back in January, we said Wooster was the NCAC favorite and everyone else was playing for second place. That could be the same in this regional as well, but with Cortland, Keystone and La Roche playing here after finishing their season in Appleton last year, there are a lot of teams who know what it takes to advance.
As for DePauw, this is a team with staying power -- both with the bats and in the selection process -- but the pitching gave up a bunch of runs in games against top competition, losing 17-3 to Southern Maine and 14-12 to Denison, then losing 18-3 and 25-6 to Wooster to get bounced from the NCAC playoffs. Earlham is punching its first tourney ticket, as the Quakers picked the perfect time to rattle off nine consecutive wins and 13 wins in 14 games.
Washington Regional schedule
Thursday, May 18
Game 1: No. 4 Washington & Jefferson (34-10) vs. No. 5 Misericordia (30-12), 10 a.m.
Game 2: No. 1 Wooster (35-8) vs. No. 8 Earlham (29-12), 1:15
Game 3: No. 3 La Roche (34-8) vs. No. 6 Keystone (31-13), 4:30
Game 4: No. 2 Cortland (33-7) vs. No. 7 DePauw (31-11), 7:45
Friday, May 19
Game 5: Misericordia vs. Wooster, 10 a.m.
Game 6: La Roche vs. Cortland, 1:15
Game 7: Washington & Jefferson vs. Earlham, 4:30
Saturday, May 20
Game 8: Keystone vs. DePauw, 10 a.m.
Game 9: Cortland vs. Earlham, 1:15
Game 10: DePauw vs. Wooster, 4:30
Game 11: Washington & Jefferson vs. Keystone, 7:45
Sunday, May 21
Game 12: Cortland vs. DePauw, 9:30
Game 13: Game 12 winner vs. Keystone, 1:00
Game 14: Washington & Jefferson vs. Game 13 winner, TBA
(If winner of 12 also wins 13, Game 14 is played Monday.)
Monday, May 22
Game 15: Game 14 rematch, if necessary
When we switch to four-team regionals and two-team super regionals in 2019, the Division III baseball postseason will fundamentally change. But in the current format, especially in an eight-team regional, pitching and pitching depth is so important. Although it's still possible for a team to mash its way out of a regional, it's a lot easier to win if you can go deep into your rotation and still be effective. Wooster is our favorite in that the Scots have multiple arms they can turn to in Michael Houdek (8-2, 3.77 in 74 innings), Nanak Saran (7-0, 3.22 in 67 innings) and Tyler Schuch (6-0, 3.38 in 50.2 innings). And the Scots have four regulars with an OPS of 1000 or better, including first baseman Jamie Lackner and shortstop Michael Wielansky, who have eight homers apiece. Third baseman Garrett Crum joins the pair and gives Wooster a third 50-RBI bat. Firmly expect Wooster to not fall into the next category down the page.
But Cortland is right there as well. In fact, with the SUNYAC tournament being cancelled because of weather, the Red Dragons have fresh, fresh arms. Of course, the question of how they'll perform after not having played since April 30 is definitely relevant as well. And there are reasons to doubt the pitching staff for Cortland right now -- Alex Weingarten, the SUNYAC co-Pitcher of the Year, left the second game of a doubleheader April 22 vs. Oswego after two and two-thirds shutout innings and has not pitched since, so his status has to be considered in doubt. Meanwhile, Jeff Cooke got knocked around in his last two starts and saw his ERA rise from 1.85 to 2.56. Cooke could benefit from the down time and come back stronger, or could remain inconsistent. Meanwhile, shortstop Tyler Phillips, a .408 hitter, has had just three plate appearances in the past month. If his was a nagging injury, two weeks off could again be a huge benefit.
Most likely to disappoint
La Roche is certainly familiar with the regional round, especially in Washington, Pa. It's the Redhawks' fifth consecutive trip to the regional and their third short trip down the road from Pittsburgh. And last year, that team got to the D-III World Series for the first time. But there's no Tanner Wilt on this team, and there are two powerful Division III powers ahead of them in this regional. David Lemley provides the pop with a team-high nine homers, but his numbers have tailed off as the season has progressed.
Maybe a little home cooking will help Washington & Jefferson fight its way out of the regional that it is hosting. The Presidents were 20-3 at home this season and have four quality starters, including Riley Groves, the Presidents' Athletic Conference leader in ERA who went 8-2 with a 1.94 mark, hurling three complete games. Bryce Schnatterly is 7-0 with a 2.75 as well.
Players to Watch
C/LF Jack Massa, Cortland (.385, 104 AB, 10 2B, 6 HR, 38 RBI, .457 OBP, .654 Slg.)
1B Mike Hammel, DePauw (.396, 32 R, 10 2B, 12 HR, 40 RBI, .482 OBP, .754 Slg.)
1B Jamie Lackner, Wooster (.418, 47 R, 10 2B, 8 HR, 58 RBI, 40 BB, .539 OBP, .656 Slg.)
1B Tyler Holzapfel, Misericordia (.373, 31 R, 7 2B, 4 HR, 36 RBI, .437 OBP, .536 Slg)
SS Michael Wielansky, Wooster (.430, 67 R, 6 3B, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 20 SB, .519 OBP, .727 Slg.)
3B/2B Steven Figueroa, Cortland (.404, 39 R, 8 2B, 27 RBI, 7 SB, .509 OBP, .493 Slg.)
3B Ian Velez, La Roche (.429, 41 R, 13 2B, 40 RBI, .469 OBP, .534 Slg.)
OF Jack Thompson, DePauw (.379, 50 R, 12 2B, 13 HR, 55 RBI, 16 SB, .446 OBP, .707 Slg.)
OF Corey Lazor, La Roche (.370, 41 R, 64 H, 13 2B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, .393 OBP, .561 Slg.)
OF Nick Vento, Washington & Jefferson (.414, 40 R, 13 2B, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 11 SB, .451 OBP, .636 Slg.)
OF/2B Anthony Ferrezza, Keystone (.391, 49 R, 8 2B, 25 RBI, 20 BB, 11-18 SB, .461 OBP, .479 Slg.)
SP Nanak Saran, Wooster (7-0, 3.22 ERA, 67 IP, 55 H, 23 BB, 58 K)
SP Alex Weingarten, Cortland (6-1, 2.20 ERA, 45 IP, 38 H, 8 BB, 50 K)
SP Mike Hammel, DePauw (6-1, 3.92 ERA, 59.2 IP, 58 H, 23 BB, 50 K)
SP Howie Smith, Earlham (8-3, 2.47 ERA, 87.1 IP, 92 H, 7 BB, 68 K)
SP Regis Sauer, La Roche (9-0, 3.64 ERA, 54.1 IP, 68 H, 11 BB, 31 K)
SP Riley Groves, Washington & Jefferson (8-2, 1.94 ERA, 65 IP, 50 H, 13 BB, 56 K)
SP Troy Terzi, Keystone (8-0, 2.38 ERA, 90.2 IP, 79 H, 20 BB, 83 K)
SP Miguel Reyes, Keystone (8-1, 2.35 ERA, 72.2 IP, 59 H, 16 BB, 49 K)
SP Tim Burek, Misericordia (9-3, 2.67 ERA, 67.1 IP, 56 H, 14 BB, 72 K)
RP Spencer Owen, Earlham (1-0, 1.21 ERA, 22.1 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 14 K)
RP Payten Boice, Cortland (2-1, 3.24 ERA, 3 saves, 25 IP, 7 BB, 22 K)
RP Nick Horvath, DePauw (3-2, 2.84 ERA, 5 saves, 19 IP, 19 H, 6 BB, 22 K)
RP Derek Helbing, Washington & Jefferson (3-0, 0.87 ERA, 4 saves, 10.1 IP, 4 BB, 8 K)