By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Three local teams have received berths to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship Tournament.
Rowan University out of Glassboro, NJ, Neumann University in Aston, PA, and Haverford College will ride tremendous regular seasons into the 56-team tourney.
Rowan is 30-13 and the #4 seed in the South regional being held in Newport News, VA. Head coach Juan Ranero was thrilled when he heard his Profs got in.
“Anytime it’s at-large you don’t know what’s going to happen. But we did feel that our body of work over the course of the season was good. We did win 30 games in the regular season, so we felt pretty good about the chances of getting in. And now we look forward to basically the second part of our season.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Juan Ranero:[audio http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/nyc.podcast.play.it/media/d0/d0/d1/d0/dH/dS/dJ/10HSJ_3.MP3]
Rowan will open play in the double-elimination regional on Wednesday afternoon when they take on Shenandoah. This is the third straight season that the Profs have qualified for the tourney and Ranero says that experience is key.
“We have a situation where we have a bunch of guys that are four years guys, they’ve been through here, they’ve seen this, they’ve been there before. Hopefully that experience, they know what to expect, they know how to act when we get there and what we’re going to be seeing. And they know we’re in a good situation. It’s a whole new season and now you can’t afford to have a lapse and have some letdowns and not have a good game. Every game you have to be at the top of your game and have great games.
30-13 Neumann is the #5 seed in the Mid-Atlantic regional being held in Lakewood, NJ, after receiving an at-large berth. This will be the first ever appearance for the Knights in the NCAA Tournament and that makes it extra special for head coach John Fleming.
“Four years ago when we took over the program, never could we have imagined this quick a turnaround. Not even so much winning the conference championship, but being respected enough by your peers to be given an at-large bid is pretty special.”
Fleming says a big reason they are still standing is a great pitching staff.
“For two years in a row, our pitching staff has struck out over 300 batters at the college level, which is a pretty good milestone. We have a #1 which is one of the best in the region in Russ Gilliam and we have a closer who led the country in saves which is Erik Klimoff. From a pitching standpoint, we’re going to be in every game, we know that.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with John Fleming:[audio http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/nyc.podcast.play.it/media/d0/d0/d1/d0/dH/dS/dL/10HSL_3.MP3]
Neumann opens play Wednesday morning against Ramapo.
The Knights will be joined in Lakewood by Haverford. The Fords won the Centennial Conference and they are the #6 seed in the Mid-Atlantic. They will open play on Wednesday afternoon against Alvernia.
“We’re obviously super-excited to be a part of this regional,” Haverford head coach Dave Beccaria says. “Couldn’t be prouder of the guys on our team right now. We have a really young group of guys and we’ve had to deal with a lot of injuries along the way. So really proud of our guys being able to get through some tough spots and continue to get better as the season’s gone along. We’re playing our best baseball right now, so we are pretty excited.”
Haverford brings a 24-17 record into the tournament. Beccaria breaks down the Alvernia team they will open play against.
“We actually played them at their place earlier in the year, so we have a little bit of knowledge on them. Very good team. Always one of the better teams in the Mid-Atlantic region. Their pitching is very strong, very deep and they are usually pretty efficient, offensively.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Dave Beccaria:[audio http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/nyc.podcast.play.it/media/d0/d0/d1/d0/dI/dC/dA/10ICA_3.MP3]
In that meeting earlier in the year, Haverford beat Alvernia 10-2 back on April 24th.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.