Jimmies earn trip to nationals
Beating the No. 2 team in the NAIA twice down the stretch paid big dividends for the Jimmies.
The University of Jamestown baseball team earned an at-large bid into the NAIA national tournament on Thursday. The Jimmies are the No. 4 seed in the Hutchinson (Kan.) Bracket and face fifth-seeded Concordia, Neb., on Monday at 11 a.m. The NAIA national tournament features nine, five-team regional brackets. The winners advance to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
The Jimmies were on the bubble, but two wins over No. 2-ranked Bellevue (Neb.) earlier this week tipped the scale in their favor.
"We were very optimistic about our chances of getting in, but you just never know when you're in the situation of being an at-large team," UJ head coach Tom Hager said. "It was great news. I'm very happy for our players and I'm really looking forward to coaching them for another week."
The other teams in the Hutchinson Bracket are No. 6-ranked Clarke (Iowa), ninth-ranked Missouri Baptist and No. 13 Tabor, the host team. Jamestown played in the Hutchinson Bracket in 2014, going 1-2 that season. The Jimmies are familiar with Concordia, their first-round opponent. The two teams have split four games this season.
"I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff and their team," Hager said of Concordia. "There's no question this bracket is a very difficult one, but when you've faced the challenges we have this season ... of not getting to play at home; of facing the No. 2 team in the country seven times; of battling through a long conference season ... I think when you go through those things it bodes well when we go down to Hutchinson."
The Jimmies' pitching depth prevailed in the six-game North Star Athletic Association tournament, but they also swung the bats well averaging eight runs per game.
"This is a special group and they've proven that with the way they've played down the stretch," Hager said. "We just wanted to keep playing. We're really looking forward to seeing how things shape up in Hutchinson."
Monday, May 15
Game 1: No. 4 Jamestown (40-19) vs. No. 5 Concordia (33-20), 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 2 Missouri Baptist (41-14) vs. No. 3 Tabor, Kan. (41-15), 2:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 1 Clarke, Iowa (45-12) vs. Winner Game 1, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 16
Game 4: 11 a.m.
Game 5: 2:30 p.m.
Game 6: 6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 17
Game 7: 3 p.m.
Game 8: 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 18
Game 9: 1 p.m.