Historically Black College and University (HBCU) small school baseball has officially concluded its regular season. Now the postseason is here. The good news is that HBCU baseball small school action is plentiful and interest is up.
Eight ranked Historically Black College and University (HBCU) “small school” division baseball programs have punched tickets to 2017 postseason tournaments which start this week.
HBCUs will impact the tournaments they are playing in, making 2017 another outstanding season for Historically Black College and University baseball. Winston Salem State University, Talladega College, Harris-Stowe State University, Edward Waters college, Benedict College, Jarvis Christian College, Miles College and Paine College aim to extend their seasons and it looks like HBCU “small schools” have a real shot to advance to national tournaments.
Some HBCUs in the NAIA are in a unique position to advance without necessarily winning their respective conference championship game. Edward Waters and Talladega, both conference rivals from the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference can secure the automatic bid as they compete in the Association of Independent Institution (A.I.I.) Baseball Tournament held in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The conference champion and the runner up receive an automatic berths to the national championship. If they can get a couple big wins in the tournament, it will be interesting to watch to see if they can advance that far.
Let’s take a look at Black College Nines Top 10 postseason overview.
Winston Salem State University
(31-16 .660) Regular Season Completed Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Regular Season Champions
Next Game: Postseason tournament, #1 seed Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) NCAA Division II. Open play against the #4 Saint Augustine’s University (North Carolina) May 4th at 3 P.M. on opening day at the campus of Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia.
National Ranking: HBCU Baseball Small School No. 1, NCAA DII Atlantic Region No. 6
Postseason Overview: The Rams, CIAA regular season division champion, enters the 2017 CIAA Baseball Championship at the No. 1 seed for the sixth consecutive season. No. 1 rank in Black College Nines Small School Top 10 poll for the third week as they attempt to reclaim the CIAA championship that began in 2011 and lasted five consecutive years before last year lost to Cowan University in the championship game.
Head Coach Comments: Kevin Ritsche, “we will make a few adjustments on how teams will pitch to us. We have been solid defensively all season long and it will carry over into the conference tournament. Our pitching is good from our number one starter to two, three and four. We feel good about our chance to win in the tournament.”
(34-21 .618) Regular Season Completed Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) Regular Season Champions
Next Game: Postseason tournament, #2 Seed A.I.I./GCAC Association of Independent Institutions/Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (NAIA). Open play against #3 Edward Waters College (Florida) May 6 at the Grizzly Baseball Complex in Lawrenceville, GA.
National Ranking: HBCU Baseball Small School No. 2
Postseason Overview: The Tornados are upset minded. This season, the No. 2 ranked team in Black College Nines Small School Top 10 Poll, they have defeated seven teams ranked in the NAIA Top 25, including No. 1 Faulkner University. Talladega badly wants a rematch with tournament host No. 14 Georgia Gwinnett College to avenge a 13-12 defeat this past March 28 which kept them from getting ranked in the NAIA Top 25. They’ll need to win their opening round game with GCAC conference rival Edward Waters then a good chance they will meet Georgia Gwinnett.
Head Coach Comment: Marcos Dominguez, “We are in a good position, we will be tough. The pitching, fielding and hitting is really good especially in the last 10 games. We are healthy and can win the A.I.I. conference. We will do good in the tournament like we did in the regular season.”
Harris-Stowe State University
(30-18 .625) Regular Season Completed
Next Game: Postseason tournament, American Midwest Conference (AMC) Championship. Opens tournament against #5 seed William Woods University (Missouri) 25-28 overall May 3rd, at 4:00 PM Central Daylight Time. The tournament will take place at Freed-Hardeman University’s Carnes Field in Henderson, Tennessee.
National Ranking: HBCU Baseball Small School No. 3
Postseason Overview: Offensively, the Hornets rank 10th nationally with a .337 batting average, 17th in hits per game, 10.53, 10th in stolen bases with 114 and a team overall .476 slugging percentage. Look for the HSSU to go station-to-station in a heartbeat. The Hornets won their three-game series, defeating the Owls 2-1 during the regular season in conference play this past April 8-9th.
Head Coach Comments: CJ Bilbrey, “We feel like we are ready to go. Our guys have worked hard and are wanting to show why they worked so hard to get to this point. This run this spring is great for all of our guys who have been through the process. Our university and our alumni have been very supportive and have backed us all season.”
All of the Hornets Conference Championship games can be viewed via live video throughout the tournament. Live Video.
Edward Waters College
(33-22 .600) Regular Season Completed
Next Game: Postseason tournament, #3 Seed A.I.I/GCAC Association of Independent Institutions/Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (NAIA). Open play against #2 seed Talladega College (Alabama) May 7 at the Grizzly Baseball Complex in Lawrenceville, GA.
National Ranking: HBCU Baseball Small School No. 4
Postseason Overview: The Tigers will need two wins to make it to the championship game at the A.I.I. tournament to receive a automatic bid for the NAIA national tournament. They will have to go through GCAC rival Talladega in the opening round which the Tornados swept the Tigers in the last three games of the season and took two-out-of three from EWC this past March to win that series 5-1.
Head Coach Comments: Reginald Johnson, “we are having a pretty good year with a tougher schedule. Our starters have stepped up, OF Miguel Beltre, SS Jordan Pontious and IF Carlos Cabrera have been solid all season. Our number one pitcher, Richard Edwards has produced on the mound. The biggest, Brian Rodriguez came in and made an difference. The freshmen really stepped up as well. Happy to be in the tournament for a second year. Looking to play some good ball.”
(26-14 .641) Regular Season Completed
Next Game: Postseason tournament, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Baseball Postseason Tournament. Starts tournament against #3West Division seed Tuskegee University (Alabama) 22-26 May 4th 9 A.M. Game will be played at Lake Olmstead Stadium 78 Milledge Road Augusta, GA.
National Ranking: HBCU Baseball Small School No. 5
Postseason Overview: The Tigers completed the regular season with a three-game sweep as the bats were live, pounded Tuskegee, beating the Golden Tigers by a combined score of 48-6. Expect huge offensive numbers from the Tigers big three. Andrew McCoy, Armando Valentin and David White, Jr. All have driven in over 145 runs this season. They will be up to their usual base thievery “those base stealing bandits” lead by team leader McCoy’s 29.
Coaches Comments: Selwyn Young, “grateful that the kids get the opportunity to go to the conference tournament and put forth an effort to compete at the level they play in. Conference championships are HBCU baseball World Series.”
View Game: Live Stats
Jarvis Christian College
(30-25 .545) Regular Season Completed
Next Game: Postseason tournament, #4 seed Red River Athletic Conference (NAIA). Open play against #5 seed University of The Southwest (New Mexico) (26-22) 11 A.M. May 5 at Pilots Field in Shreveport, Louisiana.
National Ranking: HBCU Baseball Small School No. 6
Postseason Overview: The Bulldogs make their fifth conference tournament appearance. Earlier this regular season, Jarvis Christian swept Southwest three-game series this past April 20-21. If Jarvis Christian wins against Southwest the Bulldogs are looking to avenge last year’s tournament lost that kept them one game away from the title game. Will either face top-seeded Louisiana State University-Shreveport in the night cap or face elimination on Saturday. The winner of the RRAC Tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament.
Head Coach Comment: Michael Holochuck, “Jarvis Christian is lead by seniors Carlos Andrade (1B) and DeAndre McGuire (CF). Andrade has supplied big bat ability all season and is in the top of the conference in just about all offensive categories. McGuire has been as good as anyone in the country in center and in the leadoff spot. He has gone 50 for 50 in stolen bases this year. The Bulldogs staff has been anchored all season by Joseph Lyall who leads the RRAC in wins, innings pitched and second in strikeouts.”
(27-19 .587) Regular Season Completed
Next Game: Postseason tournament, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Baseball Postseason Tournament. Begins tournament against #4East Claflin University (South Carolina) May 4 12 P.M. Game will be played at Lake Olmstead Stadium 78 Milledge Road Augusta, GA.
National Ranking: HBCU Baseball Small School No. 7
Postseason Overview: The Golden Bears finish the 2017 regular season winning 10 of their last 12 ball-games to earned the Western Division No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. They are starting to play their best baseball. They have the depth, leadership and drive to keep winning. Two starters can make a difference. Austin Pate 3.19 earned run average, 8-1, 62.0 innings pitched and 45 strikeouts. Right behind Pate, William Donahoo, 7-3, 60.1 innings pitched with a team leading 48 strikeouts.
Head Coach Comments: N/A
(21-19 .525) Regular Season Completed
Next Game: Postseason tournament, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Baseball Postseason Tournament. Opens tournament against #2West seed Kentucky State University 27-19 overall, 12-9. 571 in conference play. First SIAC tournament games starts May 4 3 P.M. Game will be played at Lake Olmstead Stadium 78 Milledge Road Augusta, GA.
National Ranking: HBCU Baseball Small School No. 8
Postseason Overview: Individually, there were several Lions players that shined this season. Evan Krenz posted a 10-4 record during the season, ranked third nationally in wins, struck out 73 batters, and recorded an 4.69 earned run average. Ricky Caruajal .318 batting average, 7 home runs and 35 runs batted in. Jazhiel Moral 7 home runs and 36 runs driven in. The Lions ranked eighth in the Black College Nine HBCU Small School Division Baseball Poll.
Head Coach Comments: Melvin Marshall, “Keys to Paine Baseball success in the 2017 SIAC conference tournament. We will need to play clean defense making the routine plays and not giving teams 2nd and 3rd opportunities. At this point in the season, opponents will make you pay for the mistakes that you make. Defensively, We have been pretty solid with our pitching staff this season, led by Evan Krenz. Offensively, Gabriel Guzman has had a great season with a .428 batting average in conference. We will focus on paying attention to details on the small things and playing clean baseball defensively. Offensively we have to be aggressive and take advantage of every opportunity given to us.”