Archive for February 20th, 2009

Northern Sun Weekend Preview – Feb 20-22

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The baseball teams of the Northern Sun Conference are scheduled for their busiest weekend yet of this young season and as I wrote yesterday (Winter Games), weather is playing a large factor in many of the scheduled games.  Already we are seeing schools jockey around playing games on Saturday which is scheduled to be cold and crappy across Kansas and Missouri where a lot of games are scheduled this weekend.  For example, Bemidji State has moved a Saturday game in Topeka, KS to Friday to make the double header today when it’s supposed to be warmer.  Wayne State has gone the other way and moved their Saturday/Sunday double header in Pittsburg, KS to a Sunday/Monday double header.

In all, Northern Sun teams are scheduled to play 30 games this Friday-Monday and interestingly, none of them are scheduled against each other.  Four teams will see their first action of the year, including:

  • Winona State kicks off their season playing 5 teams that are currently nationally ranked.  They begin their season today against #26 Nebraska Omaha and continue tomorrow against #18 Central Missouri.  There’s a good preview in the Winona Daily News – Warriors Open With Multiple Tests
  • Upper Iowa is also kicking off their season and is playing in the same set of games with Winona State down in Warrensburg, MO.  They will start with #18 Central Missouri today and then play #26 Nebraska Omaha tomorrow.  A preview of the Peacocks can be found here – Upper Iowa Preview
  • Minnesota State kicks off their season against Southwest Baptist in Bolivar, MO.  The Bearcats were only 11-33 last year and off to a 1-4 start in 2009 so the Mustangs should be the heavy favorites in their 4 game series.
  • As mentioned above, #19 ranked Wayne State kicks off their season against Pittsburg State in Pittsburg, KS.  The Gorillas are much better known as a Division 2 football power than a baseball school and it shows at they were picked to finish 9th out of the 11 teams in the Mid-America Conference – MIAA Baseball Coaches Poll.  Wayne State was picked to finish 1st in the Northern Sun Conference for the 6th straight season so they should hopefully do well this weekend – Wayne State Picked to Win NSIC

The other game we’ll be watching most closely is University of Mary against Colorado State – Pueblo as this game pits a Northern Sun team against a Rocky Mountain Conference team.  These 2 Conferences will face each other in the NCAA Regional Tournament.  By the end of this weekend, only Southwest Minnesota State will have yet to have played a game.

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Division 1 College Baseball Season Starts Today

Fresno State 2008

While this blog focuses on Division 2 college baseball, it’s hard to ignore the big boys kicking off their season.  There is still plenty of buzz surrounding last year’s champion, Fresno State, and their improbable run from a team that barely made the Tournament to winning it all.

The following resources should get you prepared for what promises to be another great season –

  • This Sports Illustrated article gives a bit of a recap on Fresno State’s run to the championship last year and a preview of 2009 – Road to Omaha Begins Friday
  • College Baseball Insider has spent the last couple weeks compiling reports from coaches and their own analysis to preview all of the conferences in Division 1 with an emphasis on the best players to watch – College Baseball Insider – Conference Previews
  • ESPN has a good human interest story about Louisville’s Chris Dominguez who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 5th round of the MLB draft but turned them down to return to the Cardinal’s for his Junior season – Dominguez Looks to Repeat Success
  • Rivals is definitely one of the best sites for college baseball news but the one article that caught my eye the most was their attempt to project all 64 teams that they expect to make the NCAA Tournament – Rivals 64 – Preseason Regional Projections 
  • Finally, while Rivals has a good weekend preview too, I’d point you to a really great weekend preview from Baseball America.  They point out where all of the Top 25 are playing as well as other in-depth information.  Their spotlight match-up this weekend is between TCU and Cal-State Fullerton – Baseball America – Weekend Preview

While I try not to show my biases too much, any of you that like to follow the Minnesota Gophers may want to check out their season preview – Gopher Preview or about them kicking off their season today against Seton Hall as a part of the Big Ten/Big East Challenge – Minnesota Kicks off Season

A Story of Sportsmanship

softball-sportsmanship

Well this story is a little off topic to the world of college baseball but it’s my blog and I saw a story I liked.

In the world of sports there’s a lot of debate over what makes for good sportsmanship.  Are we are becoming a world that is too politically correct or should show mercy for our opponents?  There was a great example just last month when 2 girls high school basketball programs in Dallas met and Covenant School beat Dallas Academy 100-0.  The firestorm that grew from that game eventually got the Covenant coach fired but also led to a lot of acrimony on both sides of the argument over what is “running up the score” and what’s right or wrong.  The Dallas Morning News carried lots of details on this story and the comments section is quite interesting to gauge people’s reaction and opinion – Dallas Coach Fired – Chronology of Events

Therefore, while there may be debate about what is and isn’t right it may be easier to find stories where we can see that sportsmanship was displayed and that it can make a difference.  Many of you may remember the story last year from the state of Washington.  In that college softball game 2 opposing players carried their opponent around the bases for the winning run when she tore her ACL rounding first (picture above).  That earned the girls lots of notoriety and eventually they won an ESPY.

Finally, I will get to the point of writing this piece.  Yesterday, a story was posted on Yahoo that really drew my attention.  It’s about 2 high school boys teams and how they did the right thing to honor their opponent whose mother had just died.  It was interesting that it went beyond what they did in the game and that these teams actually shared meals after the game together.  I think the most telling thing for me was this quote from one of the coaches –

“This is something our kids will hold for a lifetime,” Rohlman said. “They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they’ll remember what happened in that gym that night.”

It’s a moving story.  I hope you might enjoy it as much as I did – Amid the Grieving – A Rare Act of Sportsmanship


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