PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The West Chester University baseball team is in Jamestown, New York where they will open play on Thursday in the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship Tournament, taking on Winston-Salem State in the first game the double-elimination Atlantic Regional.
West Chester is the #2 seed in the region and they bring a 36-11 record into it.
“It’s been a good run so far,” West Chester head coach Jad Prachniak tells KYW Newsradio. “Obviously, the goal of every season is to get to the post-season and hopefully you can play your best baseball here on the back end and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Listen to the entire interview with West Chester’s Jad Prachniak:
West Chester is in the tournament for a third straight year. This will be the 14th appearance in program history, the most successful of which came back in 2012 when the Golden Rams won the national championship.
Prachniak talks about what has made this 2017 success possible.
“Overall, we have good balance offensively,” he says. “Certainly, (junior first baseman) Shane Dressler, he had a monster year for us offensively. A good chunk of the season he was hitting over .500. Now he’s in the neighborhood of about .400 (currently hitting .396), which is still a fantastic season. But he’s been super consistent all year. On the mound, the pitcher of the year was (senior right-hander) Josh McClain (7-2, 8 saves, 3.37 ERA) on our side of the (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference). And he did it out of the bullpen, which is really unique.”
Prachniak talks about what they need to do to make a run in the tournament.
“It certainly starts on the mound,” he says. “You need consistent effort from your starting pitchers. And then defending behind them, just so you don’t get any of those long innings. So if the pitcher does a good job of throwing strikes and attacking hitters, you certainly want to minimize errors and mistakes that extend innings. When you start stacking these nine inning games on top of each other, pitching depth can become an issue. Especially if you’re working out of the loser’s bracket. So I think getting early wins is critical and just try to stay on that winner side of the bracket the whole time.”
West Chester and Winston Salem State get underway at 3:00pm on Thursday.