JC picked to host tournamentLast year, the postseason tournament could not have been much further away for the Jamestown College baseball team. Come May, it could not be any closer.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Last year, the postseason tournament could not have been much further away for the Jamestown College baseball team. Come May, it could not be any closer.
Jamestown College was chosen as host of an NAIA unaffiliated tournament, the key point being the winning team advances to the national tournament opening round.
Last year, Tom Hager’s team flew to California for the Association of Independent Institution tournament. The tournament that will be played at Jack Brown Stadium May 1-3 does not fall under the A.I.I. umbrella. In fact, the tournament — which will also feature Valley City State, Mayville State, Dickinson State and Dakota State — had to be green-lighted by the NAIA and the A.I.I.
All five schools except Dickinson State are currently NAIA independents. DSU is a member of the Frontier Conference, but that league does not have baseball, which allows Dickinson State the chance to find a qualifying tournament.
“We’re grateful that the A.I.I. and the NAIA allowed us to do this,” JC athletic director Lawrie Paulson said. “Financially and competitively it’s a positive for our programs and student-athletes.”
Along the same lines, Valley City State was chosen to hold the softball tournament, which will feature the same five schools, plus Great Falls (Mont.). Like baseball, the winner of the softball tournament will advance to the opening round of the national tournament. That’s one less team that qualified in the A.I.I. tournament last season where both teams that advanced to the championship game advanced. The A.I.I. softball tournament was held in Columbus, Ga., last season.
Hosting the baseball tournament won’t be a financial windfall for the college by any means, but the savings alone from having the tournament in your hometown opposed to flying halfway across the country are quite significant.
“With the situation we’re in, any opportunity we have to minimize travel and cost is a big help to our athletic department,” Paulson said.
Baseball-wise, it will provide a nice home field advantage for the Jimmies, who will again field a strong team. The Jimmies went 32-16-1 last season, but came up one win short of qualifying for nationals.
“It’s exciting in that there will be a lot on the line: a trip to the national tournament and there’s no better place to play a tournament like that than at Jack Brown Stadium,” Hager said. “When you have a tournament with North Dakota and South Dakota teams it belongs in the area, and we know with the kind of baseball town Jamestown is, this is a very good place for this tournament.”
The Jimmies just finished up fall ball and Hager said there is plenty of promise heading into the 2013 campaign.
“We expect to have a very good team this year and we’re excited about having another week to play in front of our home community,” he said.
Much like the A.I.I. basketball tournaments, which will be held at the Civic Center in February, the bidding and awarding of host sites are on a year-to-year basis. That’s even more true in the baseball and softball scenario where essentially they’re getting their own qualifying tournament.
A year from now it’s possible this opportunity will not exist, which would force both teams to travel to wherever the A.I.I. tournament is. But that’s down the road, and at least for this year, they’ll be in their own backyard, so to speak.
“We know we’ll do a good job hosting the tournament and we know the community will support it,” Paulson said. “So clearly there are a lot of positives.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org