By Jim Dixon
Wow. No. 1 Christopher Newport not here after being swept by Misericordia. No. 3 Southern Maine not here after New England College exceeded all expectations. No. 4 Trinity (Texas), No. 5 Washington Univ. also sitting home. In fact our field of 16 features two unranked teams, three receiving votes with half of the field ranked 15th or lower.
We are guaranteed to continue the tradition of a rookie team at the D-III World Series in Cedar Rapids as Birmingham-Southern and Coe meet in the Central super regional. Babson and New England College can make it three if they also became super regional champs. What could happen is the first hometown team making the finals since UWO in 2003, if Coe makes the cut.
|The UMass-Boston freshman catcher scored a run in each of the Beacons wins in the Boston Regional as they went 3-0 to advance to the New England super regional.
UMass-Boston athletics photo
New England super-regional
New England College at No. 23 UMass-Boston
We were half right in our teams to meet in the New l super regional as UMass-Boston cruised through their regional and Southern Maine did not. We joined an lot of folks who did not have New England College advancing. All the Pilgrims did was go 2-1 with Southern Maine and get a win over MIT. The lack of familiarity with the Huskies might have played in the Pilgrims' favor as NEC is now 2-1 all-time with Southern Maine. The same cannot be said about UMass-Boston and NEC. The Beacons are 4-0 against NEC, outscoring the Pilgrims 46-5. We are past midnight and unless David can slay Goliath, the ball has ended for NEC.
New York super regional
No. 19 Cortland at No. 7 Babson
Cortland made quick work of our pick of Tufts and will travel to take on the Beavers of Babson. Both Cortland and Babson were regular season champions in their conferences but had to earn NCAA at-large berths after falling in league tournament action. Cortland was 18-0 in SUNYAC regular-season action. Babson went 15-2 in the NEWMAC. One of three super regionals between teams ranked in the D3baseball.com/NCBWA Top 25, this is also the closest contest. Cortland has a statistical edge in offense, pitching and defense but it is the experience of Cortland head coach Joe Brown that will make the most difference - Cortland in three.
|Coe will travel to Birmingham, Alabama to try to win two games and make the D-III World Series a home affair.
Coe athletics photo
West super regional
Concordia (Texas) at No. 6 Chapman
Before the advent of super regionals, the SCIAC champion seemed to always be traveling either to the Northwest or to Texas but this year, Chapman has stayed home as their opposition came to them. Winners of a best-of-five series with Whitman, they now play host to Concordia (Texas). The runs will be hard to come by as both teams bring solid pitching staffs, ranking in the top 12 in ERA. Look for close games but look for both teams making plane reservations, Concordia for Austin and Chapman for Cedar Rapids.
Central super regional
No. 17 Coe at No 15. Birmingham-Southern
Ever since Birmingham-Southern has taken the field as a D-III team, there were expectations that they would be making the trip to Appleton a regular thing but that has never panned out. Early losses, late losses have seemed to derail the Panthers' plans. New World Series site, renewed expectations. Going back to this well again, it is Birmingham-Southern who we see making it through their best of three games. They will have to get past Coe which has found a lot of success this year on the diamond. The Kohawks will have one more incentive to win two against the Panthers, it is just a 4-mile drive through downtown Cedar Rapids from the Coe campus to Veterans Stadium, the site of this year's D-III World Series.
|Matt Mulhearn was named the MVP of the Whitewater Regional as he went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two appearances in the regional tournament. In 14 innings of work, Mulhearn threw a total of 236 pitches and allowed nine hits and three runs (three earned runs), while walking two and fanning 14, including eight strikeouts in the opener against Bethany Lutheran.
Webster athletics photo
Midwest super regional
No. 18 Webster at No. 2 Concordia-Chicago
Weather has always been the bane of regionals in the past and the Concordia-Chicago Regional was the only regional that saw significant delays, so much that the final games was held over to Monday. Concordia-Chicago bested Baldwin Wallace 5-3 to keep their goal of reaching the final round in Cedar Rapids alive. Both teams are coming in to the super regional needing the if-necessary game to advance. For Webster, they entered Sunday as the lone undefeated team and was forced to the extra contest. Concordia-Chicago needed two wins against Baldwin Wallace to meet the Gorloks. Both teams should have their aces ready on Friday, CUC's Adam Gregory has not pitched since the regional opener while Webster's Matt Mulhearn got in two games, the opener and the regional clinching game on Sunday. Look for Concordia-Chicago to make the short trip to Iowa and a date in the finals.
Mideast super regional
No 20 Wooster at Heidelberg
It will be everything but peaceful in the Valley at Heidelberg. Wooster slipped in their opener and four straight wins later were packing their bags for Tiffin. The Student Princes had an easier time, sweeping all three games to win the Adrian regional. Wooster has a 57-28 all-time edge against Heidelberg all-time and winners of the last two. A game scheduled this spring was canceled so Wooster and Heidleberg are meeting for the first time in 2019. Long-time skipper Tim Pettorini is marking his last campaign and would like to end up in the same position that preseason poll voters tabbed for the Scots, number one. We would also see Pettorini get one more chance at the baseball trophy that has eluded him and is our pick to stay on the road to Cedar Rapids.
|The MAC Freedom Pitcher of the Year, Ian McCole set a new single-season mark for wins in the Newport News regional, improving to 11-1 on the season.
Misericordia athletics photo
Mid-Atlantic super regional
Shenandoah at No. 22 Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins holds all the cards here. They get to play at home, they have yet to lose in the month of May, and have had success with a top 20 schedule. Their opponent in the super regional, Shenandoah, will be a tough test for the Blue Jays. They are coming off four straight wins, defeating Kean twice on Sunday on Kean's home field. If our pick-to-click Johns Hopkins falters, the Hornets will take advantage and make it another upset weekend.
South super regional
Washington & Jefferson at Misericordia
Every bracket had this as the Rowan-Christopher Newport super regional. Well, both W&J and Misericordia busted these brackets as both teams swept three games. The Cougars are peaking at just the right time and will be taking their offense against the President's deep rotation. It will not be strength against strength that determines a winner but an above average pitching rotation for Misericordia that should control a below average offense for W&J. A week ago, it seemed that a return to the D-III World Series for Misericordia was a pipe dream, but they are our pick to be victorious.