LCSC baseball team is the Series' No. 3 seed
The Lewis-Clark State College baseball team is the No. 3 seed for the 52nd annual Avista NAIA World Series and will open the 10-team double-elimination tournament in the featured game of the first round against No. 6 seed Embry-Riddle University at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at LCSC’s Harris Field.
LCSC’s seeding, which was announced Sunday by the NAIA, was expected. As the host team, LCSC cannot be seeded higher than third. The two-time defending champions ended the final NAIA poll ranked No. 2, but top-ranked Lubbock Christian was eliminated from regional play, leaving LCSC as the top-ranked team in the Series field.
The No. 1 seed goes to Lee, which was ranked No. 3 in the final poll. Lee, 59-8 overall, is making its third appearance in the Series and all have come within the last four years. The Flames join No. 2 seed Oklahoma City, 55-10, in the bleachers on Friday as the top two seeds receive first-round byes. Oklahoma City is making its first trip to the Series since winning its only title in 2005. During a four-year stretch starting in 2002, the Stars made it to the championship game each time, only to finish second the first three years.
Lee enters the tournament as the Atlantic South Super Regional champion, while Oklahoma City is the Mid-South champion
The Series kicks off Friday with No. 7 seed Spring Arbor facing No. 10 seed Jamestown at 8:30 a.m. Spring Arbor, 37-7, finished second a year ago. The Michigan team lost to Lee in the Atlantic South Super Regional and is the No. 2 at-large team in the field. Jamestown, which is from North Dakota, won the Plains Super Regional and is making just its second trip to the Series. The first came in 2004 when it went 0-2.
The noon game features No. 8 Bellevue, the No. 3 at-large team, and No. 9 Ohio Dominican, the East Coast Super Regional champ. Bellevue, which is making its 11th appearance in the last 12 years and its 12th appearance overall, was the last team to get into the tournament. Bellevue lost to Jamestown in its Super Regional, but at-large berths go to the highest ranked teams that lost at Super Regional play and Bellevue picked up the third and final berth after Oklahoma City eliminated Missouri Baptist. Ohio Dominican is making its first appearance in the last three years and its sixth overall. In its previous three Series, ODU won its opening-round game.
The 3 p.m. game features No. 4 Azusa Pacific, 45-10, and No. 5 Union College of Kentucky, 47-16. Like last year, Azusa Pacific lost to LCSC in the Far West Super Regional, but received the first at-large berth. However, last year, APU was the top seed in the tournament and proceeded to go 1-2. APU, which has remained in Lewiston since finishing Super Regional play, is looking to become the first at-large team to win the Series title since Grand Canyon did in 1980. Union is making its first Series appearance and is only the third school from the state of Kentucky to qualify for the Series (Georgetown and Spalding are the others). Union is looking to become the first team to win a Series title in its first tournament since 1998 when College of Idaho accomplished the feat.
LCSC, 53-5, enters the tournament on a roll, having won 11 of its final 12 games. The Warriors are in an unusual position because as most of the teams make their way to Lewiston, LCSC will actually head to Seattle to play the University of Washington in a regular season game on Tuesday. This is the 10th straight Series appearance for LCSC, which owns the NAIA record for most titles (15), wins (111) and appearances (26).
Embry-Riddle, 42-16 will be making its sixth Series appearance in the last seven years, but the first under second-year coach Randy Stegall. ERU is 2-2 all-time against LCSC and has scored at least 10 runs in 10 of its 23 Series games.
The winners of the 3 and 7:30 p.m. contests on Friday will receive byes on Saturday. Oklahoma City’s first game is at 3 p.m. on Saturday against the Spring Arbor-Jamestown winner from Friday. Lee will face the Bellevue-Ohio Dominican winner on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The tournament will take Sunday off before resuming with four games on Memorial Day. The championship game is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 29, and the if necessary game will be Friday, May 30, also at 7 p.m.
Tickets are still available for the tournament. For ticket information, visit http://www.naiaworldseries.com/2008/tickets/index.htm or call 792-2471 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday.