Archive for December, 2009

Southwest Minnesota State – 2010 Preview

SW MN State

Today I continue with my series looking at the top teams in the Northern Sun Conference by previewing Southwest Minnesota State.  I chose them because they were the first school to post their roster and schedule for the year so it’s in deference to the fine job they’re doing at publishing information about the team.  I look back at their results in 2009, key roster transitions and what 2010 might hold for the team.

Southwest Minnesota State 2009 Results

Once again, I pull out the 2009 coaches poll to show how wrong they were about the success that the Mustangs would have in 2009.  Northern Sun coaches predicted a 7th place finish for the team –

Instead, the team finished with a 16-10 record in the NSIC (28-15 overall) and a solid 4th place finish in the the regular season to propel them into the Northern Sun Conference Postseason Tournament. 

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What To Ask Coaches?

In January & February I hope to interview a number of Northern Sun Conference coaches to ask them about the upcoming 2010 college baseball season along with topics regarding the state of NCAA Division 2 baseball.

The comments section at this blog have never been more active.  I’ve already started a list of questions that I want to ask but I’m giving readers a chance to chime in as well.  So, with that in mind, what questions do you have that you think would be interesting and informative to ask the coaches?

Concordia Baseball – 2010 Preview

Concordia

Today I continue with my series looking at the top teams in the Northern Sun Conference by previewing Concordia.  I look back at their results in 2009, key roster transitions and what 2010 might hold for the team.

Concordia 2009

The Golden Bears entered the 2009 season on a high.  The 2008 season had seen them finish 3rd in the Northern Sun Conference.  They then went on to win the NSIC Tournament and qualify for the NCAA Regional for the first time in school history.  Going into the season they returned a high number of their key contributors from that 2008 team including 2009 NSIC Pre-season Pitcher of the Year, Jake Schmidt and 2009 Pre-season Player of the Year, Brenden Furrow.  The feelings about them were so strong that coaches picked them to finish 3rd in the Conference where they were closer to the top place than the 4th place.

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The team started out well enough with a 15-3 non-conference record (against a relatively weak schedule) but things started to go south in their first NSIC weekend when they lost 3 of 4 to upstart Augustana.   So what went so terribly wrong for the team that left them with an 8th place Conference finish?

NCBWA 2010 Division II Preseason All-American Baseball Teams Announced

NCBWA Logo

The National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) released their NCAA Division II Preseason All-American Baseball Teams on Tuesday this week.  They named a First Team, Second Team, Third Team and Honorable Mention Team for the upcoming 2010 baseball season.  In all, 12 players from the Northern Sun Conference were named to the teams.  Those players were:

First Team:

  • Third Baseman – Matt Bauer, Sr, Southwest Minnesota State

Second Team:

  • Second Baseman – Seth Fox, Sr, Upper Iowa
  • Outfielder – Nate Baumann, Jr, Augustana
  • Starting Pitcher – Logan Birr, So, St. Cloud State

Third Team:

  • First Baseman – Andrew Kinney, Sr, Southwest Minnesota State
  • Utility Player – Brenden Furrow, Sr, Concordia St. Paul
  • Starting Pitcher – David Deminsky, Sr, St. Cloud State
  • Relief Pitcher – Bret Severtson, Sr, Augustana

Honorable Mention:

  • Outfielder – Tom Longoni, Sr, Upper Iowa
  • Utility Player – Lucas Wilsing, Sr, Upper Iowa
  • Pitchers – Patrick Lenton, Sr, Minnesota State  &  Adam Scrader, Sr, Southwest Minnesota State

As is typical, when a team is announced one of the first things to do is look and see if the Writers got it right.  Right away the Northern Sun Baseball Blog readers started commenting about the immediate injustice of leaving Wayne State’s Joe Wendte off of the team.  Wendte was recognized as the Northern Sun Conference Player of the Year in 2009 and was on the NCBWA Third Team All-American Team for 2009 (higher than any other Northern Sun player).  In reading the fine print for the award I did notice that players needed to be nominated by their school’s Sports Information Director.  Earlier today I verified that Wayne State’s SID mistakenly missed the deadline and therefore, Wendte’s name was never submitted.  Kind of a shame for a player that would most certainly have been 1st or 2nd team as he had a better year than Nate Baumann did who made the Second Team squad.

The one player that jumps out at me as maybe not belonging on this list would be Lucas Wilsing of Upper Iowa who was nominated as a Utility Player.  Wilsing didn’t make the NSIC 1st or 2nd team All-Conference Teams in 2009 and there are a number of players that jump out at me that would have been better choices (although I’m not sure they were nominated).  Anders Engberg (Minnesota Duluth) had stats as both a pitcher and batter that exceeded Wilsing and he was 2nd team All-Conference.  Tony Mueller of Winona State is another player that might have been a better batter/pitcher option as he was a much better hitter than Wilsing, although not as good on the mound.  It’s fun to debate anyway.

On another note, I did confirm that Eric Bond, Wayne State’s 2009 Newcomer of the Year and a key offensive contributor, will not be back with the team in 2010.

NCBWA 2010 Preseason Division II All-American Announcement

Three Mustangs Named Preseason All-American

Birr & Deminsky Named Preseason All-Americans

Baumann & Severtson Garner All-American Honors

Lenton Named All-American Honorable Mention

Furrow Selected Third Team All-American

Augustana Baseball – 2010 Preview

augustana

As promised, I begin this week with a preview of the top contenders in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference for the 2010 baseball title and, more importantly for some, a Top 6 finish which gets teams into the NSIC post-season tournament.  My goal with these is to look back at the 2009 season for each of the teams I preview, give a recap of the key players who are no longer with each team and highlight any statistical factors that are interesting.  I’m starting with 2009’s surprise team of the Conference – Augustana.

Augustana 2009

The Vikings came into the 2009 season with a brand new coach (Tim Huber), a new conference (moving into the Northern Sun) and low expectations.   The team was coming off of 2 losing seasons (2008 record: 13-30, 2007 record: 14-24) which led to the pre-season NSIC coach’s predicting an 11th place finish for the Vikings –

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NCAA Division 2 College Baseball Season Just 2 Months Away

NCAA Baseball Logo

The weather is starting to get much more winter like in the upper Midwest but in reality that signals the onset of another season of NCAA Division 2 College Baseball.  For teams in the Northern Sun Conference the first games start February 4th when Concordia, Minnesota Duluth and Southwest Minnesota State all play at the Metrodome.  The official start date of NCAA Division 2 College Baseball this year is once again February 2nd.

In fact, while there’s a lull in activity around the Christmas break, teams will be starting up their practice sessions in just a little over a month as most of the players will be cutting their holiday break short to head back to campus for the official start of the practice season on January 10th:

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Upcoming Features:

Between now and the start of the season the Northern Sun Baseball Blog will be gearing up in the following ways –

  • Team Previews – Throughout December and January you will see me go into some depth on each of the contending teams in the Northern Sun Conference (not sure I’ll do them all).  My plan is to especially focus on interesting statistical factors from the 2009 season and discuss which key players are no longer on each team and how that might impact their success going into 2010.  Look for the kickoff article on Augustana in the coming week.
  • Coach Interviews – In January & February I’m hoping to hold live phone interviews with Northern Sun’s head coaches to discuss the upcoming 2010 season and broader questions about the state of Division 2 college baseball.  This will hopefully provide a better set of responses than our first set of e-mail interviews produced last February.  We’ll see how many coaches can make time for this but I know a number of them are following the blog so hopefully they can spare 15 minutes for this new segment.
  • Predictions – Right around the first anniversary of this blog (February 1st) I will issue my prognostications for the upcoming season.  Of course, that said, I did predict that Minnesota State would win the Conference last year and while they did well, I’m 0-1 in picking the top team.
  • NCAA D2 College Baseball Happenings – While my focus remains on the Northern Sun Conference I will certainly report on topics of interest all around Division 2 College Baseball.
  • New Design? – One thing I’m also considering is a new look and feel for the blog using a different WordPress template with a wider format.  Same great content – new bold look?

As is usual, I’m certainly open to feedback and suggestions from readers on content or questions they’d like to see on this blog.


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