The 2017 Minnesota College Athletic Conference baseball season began in February with 15 squads looking for success within their division and a berth to the post-season. With the regular season completed, that number has been cut by more than half, as seven MCAC teams earned an opportunity to compete in the Region XIII baseball tournament held at St. Cloud Technical and Community College on May 18-21.
The top two teams in each of the MCAC's divisions (North, Central and South), as well as the top third-place finisher, will join one independent team in pursuit of a trip to the 2017 NJCAA Division III Baseball national tournament, hosted by Greeneville, Tennessee. For more information on the NJCAA baseball championships, click here.
In MCAC play, the Southern Division saw two teams separate themselves early in divisional action in the quest for title. Minnesota West, led by TD Hostikka and Riverland Community College, coached by Scott Koenigs, found themselves atop the South, with Minnesota West taking the honors at 14-2 and Riverland, at 10-6, coming in second. For the regional, Minnesota West earned the #2 seed, while the RCC squad is slotted #5.
The Central Division was home to the MCAC's most successful regular season squad, as St. Cloud Technical and Community College has been a fixture in the national polls all season long. The 35-5 Cyclones, 15-1 in the MCAC Central, are currently 3rd nationally and earned the top seed for their hometown regional. Also in the Central, Ridgewater College quietly built a post-season-worthy resume by going 9-7 in MCAC play and reaching the .500 mark in their overall schedule, at 17-17 in 2017. The Warriors were 6-4 over the last two weeks of the season and Coach Dennis Boe's squad looks to be stepping up at the right time for RC, who are the #7 seed for the regional.
Finally, in the North, longtime Itasca skipper Justin Lamppa's squad turned in a consistent and steady MCAC performance, with a division-leading 15-1 record. Overall, ICC is 32-16 on the year and will head into Regional tournament play with a #4 seed. Rainy River Community College took second in the North and boast a fast and explosive offense that helped them to 24 wins in the regular season and a #7 seed for regional play. Rainy's 10-6 mark in the MCAC North and Mesabi Range College (9-7 MCAC, 16-23 overall) allow them to both join the regional tournament as North representatives, with MRC the #8 seed.
As Minnesota West, Riverland, Rainy River, Mesabi Range, Itasca, Ridgewater and SCTCC take to the field on Thursday, be sure to look for scores and more information on MCAC squads at: www.mcacsports.org
Story courtesy of MCAC sports