Today we have a rare opportunity to hear from the true experts. I have gathered some of the brightest minds to ever play Division III baseball. This group has extensive collective D3 baseball experience – from 2008 through 2011. Accolades include conference players of the year, most inspirational player, a former active program career leader in grand slams, and multiple world series appearances.
Looking ahead to Cedar Rapids 2019 we are going to try and figure out who will take home the Walnut and Bronze trophy. Let’s take a look at each team before we make our picks:
The Panthers come into the tournament as the highest remaining ranked team, they were #6 in the latest NCBWA/D3baseball.com poll. They were the 2019 SCIAC Champions. Chapman has not been back to the World Series since 2011, when they were able to capitalize on a dominant Linfield Wildcats program that just did not show up to play for the regional in Abilene, Texas. That Linfield team won three out of five games against a Chapman program that finished 2nd in Appleton that year.
Anyways – Chapman was able to produce two First Team All Americans in SP Tyler Peck and RP Nick Garcia. Peck put up crazy numbers – with 150 Ks in just 104.2 IP. Garcia is an absolute monster as a relief pitcher, allowing just 3 earned runs over 48 IP. The Panthers also have another great arm in Jonathan Hernandez – who was 8-0 on the season with a 2.68 ERA.
The offense is what concerns me about Chapman. Only two of their everyday players are hitting above .300. They also do not show much extra base potential. Henry Zeisler leads the teams with 6 HRs, and the Panthers only have 18 HR on the year. To put this into perspective, the 2010 Linfield Wildcats – who placed 3rd in Appleton that year – had 60 HRs.
Babson was the #7 team in the country heading into regionals. The Beavers took down powerhouse Cortland in the Super-Regionals to advance to their first D3 World Series. As we all remember, Cortland was the team to knock Linfield out of the 2010 World Series – even though Linfield won their first matchup with Cortland 25-11.
Anyways – Babson has a Third Team All-American in SP Michael Genaro – who was 8-3 with a 1.65 ERA. Beyond Genero, starting pitching for the Beavers will be questionable.
At the plate they are led by Jake Oliger and Sean Harrington – both dudes have an on-base percentage above .450. Nicholas Browne has the most power on the squad with 11 HR.
#15 Birmingham Southern
Birmingham Southern is another team making their World Series debut. The Panthers stormed through the SAA tournament and had a battle with #14 LaGrange before taking out #17 Coe on their way to the World Series.
As a team the Panthers have a solid lineup. They have a team batting average of .304 and on-base percentage of .400. Senior Catcher Tyler Wise is the bat to look out for in this lineup with a .354/.421/.522 slash line.
If the Panthers are going to go far in this tournament, they will need to outscore everyone. Their pitching staff is fine – but they seem to be lacking a true ace that other teams have coming into the tournament. Of their three starters, John Michael Shirley has the lowest ERA at 3.03.
The Webster Gorloks are my team to watch heading into Cedar Rapids. They were the regular season SLIAC champions and also swept through that tournament with ease. They claimed their regional – stumbling in one game against North Central. In the super regional they took down the consensus #1 team in the country, Concordia-Chicago, in back to back games – claiming their spot in the World Series. They have won 9 of their last 10 games – with the lone loss coming in the regional.
They open against UMass Boston – who they previously beat in a March game in Florida 6-4. You know another team to play UMass Boston in their opening game of the World Series? The 2010 Linfield Wildcats – who demolished the Beacons.
Anyways – the Gorloks are hitting .304/.403/.427 as a team. Sophomore 3rd baseman Ben Swords is having a year at the plate, putting up a .361/.450/.600 slash line with 7 HR.
Matt Mulhearrn and Sean Beaver lead the staff. They have thrown the most innings for the Gorloks by far. Mulhearn has a 1.99 ERA while Beaver has a 2.51 ERA.
#22 Johns Hopkins
The Blue Jays return to the College World Series for the first time since 2010. They are led by Third Team All-American DH Nate Davis, who hit .331 with 16 HR and 44 RBI on the season. They are winners of their last 8 games, dating back to their conference tournament. They breezed through their regional and super regional untouched.
As a team, Johns Hopkins leads the nation with 80 HR. Mike Eberle leads the team with a .374 AVG. Chris DeGiacomo, Nate Davis, Chris Festa, and Tim Kutcher all have double digit homeruns.
Jack Bunting is the best pitcher for the Blue Jays – he has a 13-0 record with a 2.20 ERA. Sean McCraken and Preston Betz are their other starters – both with 4.50+ ERAs.
In 2008, The Blue Jays were one strike away from winning the World Series. They proceeded to walk in a run to tie then game, and then walk in a run to lose the game – gifting Trinity the victory and the World Series.
As a team, Johns Hopkins was the most obnoxious team of the 2010 World Series. They came in loud and cocky and walked away with 5th place. Way to go guys.
The uppity program also regularly goes on summer vacations to Europe together. They plan on traveling to the Czech Republic in 2019. I’m not even kidding.
#23 UMass Boston
This is Beaconville! The UMass Boston Beacons are back in the World Series. They are led by Second Team All-American OF Nick Herzog – who hit .357 with 11 HR and 55 RBI. Relief Pitcher Bobby Tramondozzi finds himself as a Fourth Team All-America with a 12 saves and a 1.47 ERA.
The Beacons have already played a couple teams in this World Series. In March, they lost to Webster 6-4 – and beat Washington & Jefferson the following day 10-1.
Their lineup is full of upperclassmen – seven of which have played in 40+ games this year. Five of those seven, led by Herzog, are hitting over .300 on the season. Those Beacon batters might be too aggressive, they have nine hitters that have appeared in 30+ games, with only one of those players striking out less often than they walk.
On the mound they have Senior Fernando Burgos – who has thrown the most innings – with a 3.08 ERA. Tylor Arruda and Ben Gottesman have also seen their fair share of innings, both having sub 2.00 ERAs.
The last time The Student Prince were in the World Series, the Linfield Wildcats sent them home with an epic Grand Slam.
After losing the OAC tournament championship, the ‘Berg has swept through the regional and super regional on their way to the World Series.
Fourth Team All-America OF Matt Psychas leads the offense with a .365 AVG, 8 HR, and 54 RBI. The Student Prince can hit the ball well, with a team slash of .329/.407/.459. Senior OF Kane Bateman led the team with 84 hits and a .400 AVG.
The pitching of Heidelberg is fine – but questionable for World Series standards. Senior Alex Sir Louis has a 9-2 record and a 3.67 ERA. Trevor Adkins has a 8-4 record with a 4.58 ERA.
Washington & Jefferson
The Presidents are hot coming into the World Series, winning 34 of their last 38 games.
Dante Dalesandro leads the offense with a .360/.459/.522 line. Mullen Socha leads the team with 8 HR and 49 RBI. Josh Crummer, James Artale, and Adam Moore are all hitting above .333 on the year.
On the mound – Washington & Jefferson is led by Ben Marsico. He has an 11-1 record with a 3.29 ERA. Garrett Harstine (2.75 ERA), Nick Drake (3.11 ERA), and Santino Platt (5.30 ERA) have all shown significant time on the mound.
|Buzz||Chapman – two All-American arms. They also come in as the highest ranked team in the tournament. The Presidents are hot and come in unranked. I think their run ends here, and Chapman dominates on the mound.|
|Bix||Chapman – always good and ended out senior year and college baseball careers.|
|Buzz||Webster – The Gorloks have solid pitching and a well rounded lineup.|
|Bix||UMass Boston – We stomped them into the ground at the World Series so I feel bad for them.|
|Buzz||Babson – They are ranked #7 for a reason. Michael Genaro will shut down the Blue Jays offense in this one.|
|Bix||Babson – I didn’t like Johns Hopkins when we were at the World Series.|
|Buzz||Birmingham Southern – I think Birmingham Southern out hits Heidelberg in this one.|
|Bix||Heidelberg – We ripped their hearts out on a Grand Slam by Dub T Fenton at the 2010 World Series, they are due. They have a very good hitting team.|
Picks to Win it All
Full Bracket Prediction
I am looking forward to first pitch tomorrow morning at 8am. This will be a highly entertaining World Series. Good luck to everyone, especially if you are trying to live up to the standards of the 2010 Linfield Wildcats.