May 22, 2013
CEDAR HILL, Texas – Fresh from a sweep at its regional tournament in Hattiesburg, MS, Northwood’s baseball team is riding that momentum into its first ever appearance at the 2013 AVISTA-NAIA World Series. The event kicks off Friday (5/24) in Lewiston, ID. All games in the week-long series will be played at Harris Field, on the campus of Lewis-Clark State College.
Northwood (43-11) will begin play against Masters College of California (43-15) Friday, with the first pitch scheduled for noon (PST). Masters is a member of the Golden State Athletic Conference. (This is Northwood’s last year in the Red River Athletic Conference. Beginning later this summer, Northwood will become a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference.)
“We know Masters will be a challenge,” Northwood coach Jeremy Kennedy said. “They are seeded number five, just one position behind us. So we should be pretty evenly matched.”
Masters coach Monte Brooks expressed respect for Northwood, noting that the Knights “are in the NAIA top twenty in hitting and pitching, and are tenth in strength of schedule.”
Ten teams qualified for the event. Host Lewis-Clark receives an automatic bid. The other nine teams fought their way to Idaho by winning their conference and/or both conference and regional tournaments.
Through Regionals play, Northwood had a team batting average of .323, while Knights pitchers held opponents to a .244 average. That hot hitting allowed Northwood to score 380 runs on the season. Leading the Knights offensive attack are DH Bryan Kinard (.408), shortstop Elvin Rodriguez (.370), right fielder Joee Reyna (.348), and second baseman Isaac Maturino (.345). Other Knights hitting above .300 include left fielder Herb Romero and catcher Adam Humes. On the mound, the Knights lost eight-game winner Cody Gray to a season-ending injury suffered in an early April game against Bacone College.
Other Knight twirlers have stepped up, “Roman Gomez, Cody Faulkner, Clayton Woodruff – several guys have been pitching well since Gray went down,” said Kennedy. “We’ve also been able to stay relatively healthy as a team. We’ve got some kids who are dinged up, but by this time of the season that’s typical for almost every team.”
The ten 2013 World Series teams are, in order of seed, Faulkner (AL), Lee (TN), Embry-Riddle (FL), Northwood, Masters, York (NE), Lewis-Clark, Sterling (KS), Missouri Baptist, and Rogers State (OK).
The double-elimination series will wind up with a championship game scheduled for Thursday (5/30) at 6:30 PM. If two teams each have only one loss after that game, the championship will be played Friday (5/31) at 6:30.
More information is available at www.naiaworldseries.com.