HARWICH, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Boston highlights a list of eight universities—including four from New England—that will be fighting for a single spot at the NCAA Division III World Series. The New England Regional, hosted by Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, drew the tournament champions from seven different conferences, including three teams ranked in the Top 25 nationally.
UMass Boston is the highest ranked program descending on Whitehouse Field and was awarded the No. 1 seed. The Beacons return as the top team in the bracket for the second year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the DIII World Series from Harwich in 2017. The Beacons are 34-8 on the season, which tied for second-most wins in DIII. Regular season and tournament champions of the Little East Conference, UMB is the No. 5 team in the country according to D3Baseball.com.
The second seed will have the longest drive, as Oswego State University hails from the shores of Lake Ontario. The State Universities of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tournament champions, the Lakers are 26-12 and ranked No. 23 in DIII, including No. 2 in the New York Region.
Keystone College takes the No. 3 spot after winning their 10th straight Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) title, adding the regular season crown as well, with a record of 32-10. The Giants feature the CSAC Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Coach of the Year in Jamie Shevchik.
The fourth team of eight is Western New England University, the champions of the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament. The Golden Bears are 31-13 and ranked seventh in New England and will be seeking their second trip to the World Series, also appearing in 2011. Like Keystone, the club features the top pitcher, player, and coach (Dan Gomez) in their conference.
Ramapo College of New Jersey earned a wild card after suffering an upset in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament championship game. The Roadrunners enter with a 32-13 mark and are rated at No. 29 in the U.S. and No. 4 in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
A pair of New England colleges take the sixth and seventh seeds. Mitchell College was the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) regular season and tournament title-winners. The Mariners (30-8) are No. 36 in the country and No. 12 in New England. Meanwhile, Suffolk University topped the Great Northeast Athletic Conference season and tournament and are 25-17. The Rams are one place behind Mitchell in the New England rankings. Both nines bring with them a conference Player of the Year.
Rounding out the field is Pennsylvania State University-Berks, who set a program record for wins in a season and are 25-10. The Nittany Lions hail from southeast Pennsylvania and were regular season and tournament champions in the Northeast Athletic Conference and return to Harwich for the second year in-a-row.
The first day of action on May 17 will see Western New England start things off against Ramapo at 9:30 a.m. The Beacons will tangle with PSU-Berks at 1 p.m. and Keystone will face Mitchell at 4:30 p.m. Oswego State and Suffolk round out the first day's games with an 8 p.m. first pitch. The double-elimination tournament will continue with four games at the same times on Friday and Saturday, with a noon at 3:30 p.m. start on Sunday. The winner of the final game will qualify for the World Series.
"I'm really excited to witness some of the best baseball this region has to offer," remarked Mike Kelley, Massachusetts Maritime Academy Athletic Director.
Tournament Director Judy Walden Scarafile, who also serves on the Cape Cod Chamber's Sports Advisory Panel, had this to add, "This is a very exciting time for college baseball and we are absolutely thrilled that Cape Cod is hosting this tournament for the 12th time. With the eight teams being announced early Monday morning, it is a great field of talented teams. It will be a very competitive tournament."
These eight universities are part of a field of 58, spread over eight sites across the country, with four on the East Coast, three in the Midwest, and a final field in Spokane, Washington. Four other New England programs are in the mix as MASCAC Champions Westfield State University, the University of Southern Maine, Babson College, and Amherst College were sorted into other regionals.
Winners of the eight regional tournaments will qualify for the pool play double-elimination championship at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin, from May 25- 29/30, 2018.
Tickets for the New England Regional are $5 per day and can be purchased at Whitehouse Field.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate