The Lewis-Clark State College baseball team will be the No. 1 seed when the 54th annual Avista NAIA World Series kicks off next Friday at Harris Field.
The Warriors, 47-3 overall, will receive a first-round bye in the 10-team double-elimination tournament and won’t play their first game until Saturday at 7 p.m. against the winner of Friday’s noon game between No .8 seed Belhaven (43-15) of Mississippi and No. 9 seed Point Loma Nazarene of California (38-18)
It’s the first time since the Series has been held in Lewiston that the Warriors are the No. 1 seed. Of course, until last year, the best the Warriors could be seeded in the tournament was third. The rules were changed prior to last season’s tournament to allow LCSC to be seeded No. 1 or No. 2.
It also marks the first time the tournament has been held in Lewiston that the Warriors won’t play on the first night following opening ceremonies.
This is the 19th time the tournament has been held in Lewiston, including the 11th straight.
The NAIA announced the bracket Friday and action kicks off next Friday when No. 7 seed Embry-Riddle (44-17) of Florida taking on No. 10 Tennessee Wesleyan (46-16) at 8:30 a.m. Tennessee Wesleyan joins Belhaven in qualifying for the Series for the first time and also is one of three teams from Tennessee to qualify for the tournament.
Following the Belhaven-Point Loma game, Lubbock Christian (46-14), the defending champion and No. 5 seed, faces No. 4 seed Lee (49-11) of Tennessee at 4 p.m. After opening ceremonies at 7 p.m., the final game of the day has No. 3 seed California Baptist (48-13) and No. 6 seed Oklahoma City (49-14) at 7:30 p.m.
Cumberland (53-9), also from Tennessee, received the No. 2 seed and also gets a bye next Friday. It will open the tournament on Saturday at 3 p.m. against the winner of the Embry-Riddle and Tennessee Wesleyan contest.
Seven conferences are represented in the 10-team field with the Golden State Athletic Conference (Cal Baptist and Point Loma Nazarene) and the Sooner Conference (Lubbock Christian and Oklahoma City) sporting two apiece.
Lewis-Clark State owns the most wins all-time in the history of the event with a 117-33 record (.780) in 28 previous all-time appearances. Oklahoma City is making its 12th trip and third straight while Cumberland is competing in its 11th overall World Series and first since 2007.
Seven of the top eight-ranked teams in the final NAIA poll, which came out May 12 prior to the nine opening round tournaments, which determined who would join LCSC for the 10-team Series. Cumberland was ranked No. 2 in the final poll, followed by California Baptist, Lee, Lubbock Christian, and Oklahoma City. Embry-Riddle was ranked No. 9, while Belhaven was No. 14, Point Loma was No. 17, and Tennessee Wesleyan was No. 24.
Tickets and parking passes for the tournament are still available. Call (208) 792-2471 for more information.