NAIA World Series Field Set As Faulkner (Ala.) Leads The Way
With No. 1 Oklahoma City shutting out No. 4 Jamestown (N.D.) in the final game of the Oklahoma City Bracket, the last regional champion was crowned and the 2018 NAIA Baseball World Series bracket was set.
The 10-team event, hosted by Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State, will begin on May 25 at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho and will run until June 1, when one team hoists the trophy in triumph.
Lewis-Clark will be looking to win its fourth consecutive national title. The Warriors have extra incentive as coach Jeremiah Robbins has announced that this is his last year with the team. He is leaving after the season to move closer to his extended family to start back up the baseball program at Roseburg, Ore.'s Umpqua Junior College.
Faulkner (Ala.), the No. 1 team in the championship bracket, capped a 53-win season by cruising past its opposition in the Montgomery Bracket. A 20-0 rout in its opening game set the tone as Faulkner swept its way to World Series.
As the top-ranked team in the championship round, Faulkner has a bye in the first day of competition and will await the winner of No. 8 Antelope Valley (Calif.) and No. 9 Reinhardt (Ga.). The two teams face off at 8:30 a.m. PDT on May 25 in the first game of the double-elimination bracket.
Unlike Faulkner, both Antelope Valley and Reinhardt faced some adversity in making it this far, each dropping a game in their respective regions. After cruising to two straight wins, Antelope Valley was derailed by William Jessup (Calif.), the top-ranked team in its region, 6-1. But the team came roaring back in the final elimination contest, getting revenge on William Jessup, 16-15, in a thriller that produced 38 hits and 31 runs.
Reinhardt also won its first two games before falling in ten innings to Campbellsville (Ky.), 10-7. But Reinhardt took the final game, 5-1, to eliminate Campbellsville and advance, thanks to seven strong innings from Jesus Palacios.
Game Two features No. 4 Oklahoma City taking on No. 5 Southeastern (Fla.) at 11:30 a.m.
Southeastern was one of six teams that went undefeated in regional play, sweeping the Kingsport Bracket in three games. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, won its first two games before falling to Jamestown, 7-4, in the first of two elimination games in the Oklahoma City Bracket. In the second do-or-die contest, Oklahoma City rode starting pitcher Tanner Andrews to a 4-0 shutout victory as Andrews struck out 10.
The third game of the day pits No. 7 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) against No. 10 University of Northwestern Ohio at 6:30 p.m., with the winner taking on No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett on day two.
Freed-Hardeman went 3-0 in pool play, including a 5-0 shutout victory to win the Upland Bracket and clinch a spot in the championship round.
The University of Northwestern Ohio did something no other champion accomplished — winning four games in regional play. The school from Ohio won in large part to some clutch hitting, scoring at least seven runs in all four games and posting 40 runs over the four-game stretch.
Georgia Gwinnett gets to relax on the opening day of championship play after winning all three of its games in the Lawrenceville Bracket in dominant fashion. Georgia Gwinnett posted two shutout victories and hammered its opponents for 33 runs to claim the Lawrenceville Bracket.
The final game of the first day features No. 3 St. Thomas (Fla.) and No. 6 Lewis-Clark State, with first pitch set for 7 p.m. St. Thomas boasts perhaps the most impressive resume, winning 56 games and sweeping all three of its opponents in the Hattiesburg Bracket. The school from Florida won thanks to strong pitching, allowing just six runs in regional play to get to Idaho.
Tournament games will be live streamed by NAIAnetwork.com.
2017: Lewis Clark State (Idaho)
2016: Lewis Clark State (Idaho)
2015: Lewis Clark State (Idaho)
2014: Cumberland (Tenn.)
2013: Faulkner (Ala.)
2012: Tennessee Wesleyan
2011: Concordia (Calif.)
2010: Cumberland (Tenn.)