|Cal Lutheran senior closer
Aaron Roth has 11 saves going into the McMinville
Cal Lutheran athletics photo by Tracy Maple
Follow this regional
May 16: All times Eastern
Linfield 3, at UW-Stevens Point 2Box Score
By Colton Westfall
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
Saturday, May 17
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.
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?
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,
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)