posted May 14, 2007

Dutchmen Headed to Ohio for NCAA Baseball Regional

HOLLAND --The MIAA champion Flying Dutchmen will compete in a six-team regional NCAA Division III tournament beginning Wednesday, May 16 at Mills Field in Strongsville, Ohio which is 15 miles southwest of downtown Cleveland.

The remaining teams in the double elimination regional are all from Ohio.

Hope (28-11) is seeded third. Wooster (40-6), the host school, is seeded first. Other competing teams are #2 Otterbein (31-11), #4 Marietta (28-14), #5 Ohio Wesleyan (24-13) and #6 Mount St. Joseph (33-9).

Hope will play the defending national champion Marietta Pioneers in Wednesday's third game at 7 p.m.  The game will be broadcast by WHTC-AM (1450).

Wednesday's other games will be Wooster vs. Mount St. Joseph (noon) and Otterbein vs. Ohio Wesleyan (3:30 p.m.). Games continue Thursday through Saturday. The NCAA championships will be played May 23-27 in Appleton, Wisc.

Mills Field is home to the Northern Ohio Baseball Club, a Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League team.

There were several upsets in conference tournaments that affected the regional field.  Throughout the season the Flying Dutchmen were never rated higher than seventh in the regional poll.

The upsets advanced two teams from both the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) and North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) to the regional.  Ohio Wesleyan gained the NCAC automatic berth while Wooster advances as an at-large team.  Otterbein is the OAC's automatic qualifier while Marietta is an at-large entry.  Mount St. Joseph is an automatic qualifier from the Hartland Conference.

Wooster has been the nation's top-ranked Division III team in the American Baseball Coaches Association poll.  The Scots lost two-of-three games to Ohio Wesleyan in the NCAC championship series this past weekend.

Back in March during their annual trip to Florida, Hope played games against Ohio Wesleyan and Otterbein, bowing to both Ohio teams in extra innings.  Each game lasted 10 innings, Ohio Wesleyan winning 6-4 and Otterbein by 8-7.

The Flying Dutchmen are appearing in the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in school history.  The last was in 2003 when the Flying Dutchmen went 0-2 in a regional also played in Ohio.  In 2001 Hope went 1-2 in a regional in Illinois.  Hope's first NCAA appearance in 1998 was a 4-1 loss to Marietta.  Hope's alltime record in NCAA tournament games is 1-6.

Marietta has won four national championships, most recently a year ago.  The Pioneers haave also been national runnersup six times.