|The Patriots are hoping that home cooking will be the key in earning one of eight spots in the 2017 D-III World Series.
Texas-Tyler athletics photo
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Meet the teams
|Ben Andrews is one of six seniors on the Wildcats squad to make the trip from McMinnville, Ore.
Linfield athletics photo
By Ralph Turner
The West Regional Championship in Tyler, Texas, shapes up to be another classic, as six teams meet at Irwin Field at host Texas-Tyler, May 17-20. Two of the last four champions have come from the West Region, Trinity Tigers in 2016 and Linfield Wildcats in 2013.
Texas-Tyler will not only come in the Regional as the top team, but get to play on their home field. The California Lutheran Kingsmen, with their fourth bid in the last five years will have something to say about who represents the West in Appleton, Wis.
Linfield made it out of a rain soaked conference schedule and will take on SCAC champs Centenary (La.) in the opening day of the Tyler Regional. Coach Tommy Boggs’ Concordia-Texas Tornadoes earned the Pool C bid on the basis of a strong opponents’ winning percentage and results against regionally ranked teams. For this they get a date with ASC rival Texas-Tyler.
Rhodes won the SAA tourney to earn the bus trip to Tyler. The Lynx missed the playoffs last season but are making their third postseason trip in the last four years. Coach Jeff Cleanthes has only four seniors on this young team which won seven of its last 10 games. This will be an exciting program to watch over the next couple of years.
With so much balance in the West Region overall, it could be any one of the six teams that will take the field in Texas.
Tyler Regional schedule
All times Central
Thursday, May 18
Game 1: No. 1 Texas-Tyler (39-7) vs. No. 6 Rhodes (25-19), 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 2 Cal Lutheran (31-10) vs. No. 5 Concordia, Texas (28-16), 3:00
Game 3: No. 3 Centenary, La. (34-8) vs. No. 4 Linfield (30-13), 7:00
Friday, May 19
Game 4: Texas-Tyler vs. Concordia (Texas), 11 a.m.
Game 5: Rhodes vs. Linfield, 3:00
Game 6: Cal Lutheran vs. Centenary (La.), 7:00
Saturday, May 20
Game 7: Rhodes vs. Cal Lutheran, 11 a.m
Game 8: Concordia (Texas) vs. Centenary (La.), 3:00
Game 9: Concordia (Texas) vs. Rhodes, 7:00
Sunday, May 21
Game 10: Concordia (Texas) vs. Cal Lurtheran, 1
Game 11: Game 10 rematch, if necessary
Texas-Tyler has to be the favorite this year. In winning their third straight ASC championship, the Patriots have been in playoff mode for their last four games of the ASC playoffs. This includes scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth against Concordia (Texas) plus extra-inning wins against Concordia (Texas) and East Texas Baptist.
Most likely to disappoint
Linfield coach Scott Carnahan was the pitching coach on the 2013 team led by his former player and former major leaguer Scott Brosius. When Brosius retired after the 2015 season, Carnahan returned to the head coaching spot, a position he had held from 1984 to 2007. Linfield played a tough schedule including 8 non-conference games against the top teams in the SCIAC. With the loss of Scott Hilpert, their All-American candidate to injury, they are more likely to disappoint.
Centenary (La.) had a storied baseball program prior to the move from Division 1 earlier in the decade. The Gents finally broke the hold of Trinity (Texas) on the SCAC throne by beating Trinity 2-1 in the conference tournament. Centenary split the season series with Texas-Tyler (1-1) with the win over Tyler coming in the midst of a 16-game win streak. Centenary finished the season winning 10 of their its 12. The Gents should have a good fan base to cheer them on, since the drive to Tyler is a short two hours.
Players to Watch
1B Bret Leiferman, Concordia-Texas (.378, 41 R, 16 2B, 8 3B, 34 RBI, .61 SLG)
2B Max Weinstein, Cal Lutheran (.356, 31 R, 9 2B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, .500 SLG, .947 Fld%)
3B Ben Andrews, Linfield (.361, 60 H, 36 R, 19 2B, 6 HR, 40 RBI, .596 SLG)
SS Bill Munson, Rhodes (.324, 35 H, 26 R, 8 2B, 2 HR, 22 RBI, .472 SLG, 14-23 SB)
C Chris Zapata, Centenary, La. (.393, 35 R, 17 2B, 12 HR, 71 RBI, .744 SLG, 8-9 SB)
DH Daniel Williams, Texas-Tyler (.414, 79 H, 36 R, 13 2B, 2 HR, 34 RBI, .610 SLG, 16-18 SB)
UTL Cole Lavergne, Centenary, La. (.308, 36 R, 27 RBI; 2.70 ERA, 4-1, 8 Saves, 53.1 IP, 49K)
OF Trenton Buchhorn, Texas-Tyler (.417, 53 H, 26 R, 11 2B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, .630 SLG)
OF Michael Schimpf, Centenary, La. (.412, 53R, 12 2B, 4 HR, 46 RBI, .647 SLG, 10-11 SB)
OF Caleb Maddox, Concordia, Texas (.328, 44 H, 19 R, 12 2B, 1 HR, 25 RBI, .455 SLG)
OF Bennett Notestine, Rhodes (.294, 50 H, 28 R, 5 2B, 4 HR, 36 RBI, .370 SLG, 11-14 SB)
SP Cason Cunningham, Linfield (1.92 ERA, 5-1, 1CG, 79.2 IP, 40 H, 100K, 37BB, .151 OBA)
SP Matthew Brown, Concordia, Texas ( 2.14 ERA, 7-2, 63.0 IP, 61 H, 4 BB, 34 K, OBA .247)
SP Cody Brown, Texas-Tyler(2.56 ERA, 10-2, 5 CG, 77.1 IP, 67 H, 82 K, 25 BB, OBA .243)
RP Miguel Salud, Cal Lutheran (4.12 ERA, 3-2, 26 App, 8 saves, 39.1 IP, 33 K, 13 BB)