College Preview

NAIA 2006 Preview




TOP 5: HOW THEY'LL FINISH



W L
1. Oklahoma City 67 12
2. Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 47 9
3. Lee (Tenn.) 49 12
4. Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 53 10
5. Biola (Calif.) 45 12
Boldface indicates participated in 2005 World Series

NAIA World Series: Ten teams, May 26-June 3 at Lewiston, Idaho (Lewis-Clark State).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ALL-AMERICA TEAM

C—Stephen Vogt, Jr., Azusa Pacific, Calif. (.465-5-41). 1B—Mike Jensen, Sr., Oklahoma City (.256-3-9 at North Carolina State). 2B—Justin Fuller, Sr., Lewis-Clark State, Idaho (.337-1-32). 3B—Jerry Hodges, Sr., Harris-Stowe, Mo. (.492-13-60). SS—Brian Dinkelman, Sr., McKendree, Ill. (.395-20-49, 25 SB). OF—Sam Cooke, Sr., Lyon, Ark. (.433-6-63); Andrew LeFave, Sr., Missouri Valley (.460-13-46); Ben Martin, Sr., St. Ambrose, Iowa (.406-7-48). DH—Matt Imwalle, Sr., Oklahoma City (.306-25-63). P—B.J. Church, Sr., Lee, Tenn. (13-2, 1.33, 102 IP/117 SO); Garet Hill, Sr., Biola (10-2, 2.10, 99 IP/105 SO); Jon Kirby, Sr., Lee, Tenn. (14-1, 3.16, 91 IP/135 SO); Lance Marcum, Sr., McKendree, Ill. (12-2, 2.03, 115 IP/125 SO); David Timm, Sr., Embry-Riddle, Fla. (13-3, 3.01).

Player of the Year: B.J. Church, rhp, Lee (Tenn.).

TOP PROSPECTS, 2006 DRAFT

1. Garet Hill, rhp, Biola (Calif.)
2. Jon Forest, rhp, British Columbia.
3. Justin Fuller, ss, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).
4. Jeff Tobin, lhp, British Columbia.
5. Brian Dinkelman, ss, McKendree (Ill.)

SHORT HOPS

• After losing in the championship game of the NAIA World Series for three straight years, Oklahoma City finally won its first championship in 2005 by beating Embry-Riddle (Fla.). The Stars are favored to repeat even though they must replace NAIA player of the year Nick Klusaw (.429-27-99) and tournament MVP Mike Mlotkowski (14-1, 2.68). Former North Carolina State 1B Mike Jensen (.256-3-9) will step in for Klusaw, while holdover senior RHP Jeff McLaughlin (13-1, 4.20) becomes the team ace. The Stars received all 24 first-place votes in the NAIA official coaches preseason poll.

Ed Cheff, in his 30th year as head coach at Idaho’s Lewis-Clark State, was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the 2006 convention in Chicago. Cheff has posted a 1,456-390 record as coach of the Warriors and guided his team to 13 national titles, including four in five years from 1999-2003. His 2005 team finished third. The NAIA World Series will be played again in Lewiston, Idaho, at Lewis-Clark State’s home field.

• Lee (Tenn.) went two-and-out in its first trip to the NAIA World Series last year, but has the pitching to not only make a return trip but go much deeper into the tournament. The Flames return twin All-America seniors RHPs B.J. Church (13-2, 1.33) and Jon Kirby (14-1, 3.16). Church led NAIA pitchers in ERA, while Kirby led in wins and strikeouts. The team even picked up two transfers from Lewis-Clark State, C Paul Keck and OF Brandon Ramsey.