College Preview

NCAA Division III Preview

SUNY Cortland looks tough again




DIVISION III
TOP 5—HOW THEY'LL FINISH
Rank Team 2008 Record
1. SUNY Cortland 42-5
2. Chapman (Calif.) 40-5
3. Trinity (Conn.) 45-1
4. Southern Maine 36-14
5. Wisconsin-Whitewater 42-10
ALL-AMERICANS
C—Sean Killeen, Sr., Trinity, Conn. (.378-7-43). 1B—Sean Claugherty, Jr., St. Scholastica, Minn. (.447-10-40, .830 SLG). 2B—Dan Kaczrowski, Sr., Hamline, Minn. (.477-5-40, 21 SB). 3B—Kevin Walnis, Sr., Wisconsin-Whitewater (.375-19-57). SS—Brian Kolb, Jr., Wheaton, Ill. (.527-6-52, 25-25 SB. OF—Mike Guadango, Jr., William Paterson (.435-8-59); James Wood, Jr., Trinity, Conn. (.356-12-50); Brian Youchak, Sr., Johns Hopkins (.467-9-59, 22 SB). DH—Shawn Gilblair, Sr., Eastern Connecticut State (.403-12-43).
SP—Jeremiah Bayer, Trinity, Conn. (9-0, 1.33); Blake Booher, Sr., Texas-Tyler (11-1, 2.06); Wayde Kitchens, Sr., Chapman, Calif. (9-0, 1.11); Adam Gingras, Sr., Wheaton, Mass. (8-0, 1.70).
Player of the Year: Dan Kaczrowski, 2b/ss, Hamline, Minn.
Pitcher of the Year: Matt Tone, lhp, SUNY Cortland.
TOP PROSPECTS, 2009 DRAFT
1. Chase Tigert, rhp, Cal Lutheran
2. Dan Kaczrowski, 2b, Hamline, Minn.
3. Blake Booher, rhp, Texas-Tyler
NOTING DIVISION III
• Division III's postseason format has changed, with the 54-team event seeing a restoration of the D-III World Series format used from 1993-2004. The eight regional sites for the Division III baseball tournament already have been determined, with Kean (N.J.) joining Eastern Connecticut State, Augustana (Ill.), Adrian (Mich.), Linfield (Ore.), Salisbury (Md.), SUNY Old Westbury and also Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
• Trinity (Conn.) missed a perfect season last year by one loss, in its second-to-last game, but rallied to win the national championship in the next contest. The Bantams will be hard-pressed to repeat last year's record 44-game winning streak, having lost pitchers Chandler Barnard and Tim Kiely—both 11-game winners—to graduation. Kiely (27th round, Angels) and SS Tom DiBenedetto (37th, Red Sox) were both drafted, but the Bantams return their leading hitter, junior 1B Kent Graham (.411-9-59) and senior C Sean Killeen (.378-7-43). Senior RHP Jeremiah Bayer (9-0, 1.33) is the team's top returning pitcher.
• SUNY Cortland had its own crazy win streak, winning 38 straight games at one point while making its ninth CWS trip since 1995. LHP Matt Tone (8-0, 2.39) returns to lead a rotation that returns all but one of its top six contributors from a year ago.
• Albion (Mich.) struggled to a 12-28 record last season, and hopes senior RHP Ryan Gunderson can help lead it to a better season. He's 14-7, 3.00 in his career on the mound, earning all-conference honors in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. He's also on the Albion swim team and set school records this past winter in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events.
• Linfield (Ore.) thrived in its first season with alumnus and ex-big leaguer Scott Brosius in charge, with a school-record 35 wins and its first regional title since 1971. The Wildcats emulated Brosius and fielded at a .972 clip, third-best in the nation, with a 2.15 ERA. Four key pitchers return in closer Robert Vaughn and starters Garrett Dorn (9-3, 2.09), Cameron Larson (5-5, 2.29) and Reese McCulley (7-1, 2.30). Brosius' second edition will have to replace seven senior starters, however.