Wooster (35-8) cruised through the bracket at the 2017 NCAC Baseball Championship Tournament and captured its league-leading 17th conference championship with a 25-6 victory over DePauw (31-11) in the championship game on Saturday afternoon at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio. As league champions, the Fighting Scots have earned the NCAC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament for the second year in a row and the 29th time in history.
The Scots opened the tournament on Thursday afternoon with a 10-2 win over Denison (29-12) and advanced to the championship game with an 18-3 win over DePauw on Friday afternoon. In the three tournament games combined, the Scots tallied 62 hits and 53 total runs. In the championship game alone, the Scots knocked out 30 base hits, which was the most since they also hit the 30-mark against Mount Union on April 27, 2009.
The Tigers got a 5-4 walk-off win over Oberlin (23-20) on Thursday evening, before entering the losers bracket with the 18-3 loss against Wooster on Friday; however, the Tigers got back into the championship round with a 13-5 win over Oberlin on Friday evening.
After going 6-for-6 in the championship game with two homers, one double and seven RBI, Wooster junior centerfielder Jake Fling (Norton, OH/Norton) was named the Tournament MVP. In the three tournament games combined, Fling hit .563 (9-for-16) with three homers, two doubles, nine RBI and eight runs scored. He was also a force defensively for the Scots in the three tournament games with eight putouts and no errors for a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
In addition, it was announced early Monday morning that the NCAC will be represented by two teams in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, as DePauw (31-11) earned one of the as Ohio Wesleyan (27-14) earned one of the 13 available “Pool-C” at-large invitations into the national tournament.
The Fighting Scots and Tigers will both be traveling to the 2017 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional, which will be hosted by Washington & Jefferson College at Ross Memorial Park in Washington, Pennsylvania, this weekend, May 18-22.
The eight-team, double elimination tournament opens on Thursday morning with host W&J (34-10) taking on Misericordia (30-12) at 10:00 a.m., while Wooster is set to square off against Earlham (29-12) at 1:15 p.m., and DePauw will open the tournament at 7:45 p.m. against SUNY-Cortland (33-7). The other opening round game on Thursday features La Roche (34-8) taking on Keystone (31-13) at 4:30 p.m.
The winner of the WOO/ERL game will square off against the winner of the W&J/Misericordia contest at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, while the losers of the same two opening-round matchups will meet in the first elimination game of the tournament on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. In the other side of the bracket, the winner of the DPU/COR contest will meet the winner of the LAR/KEY winner at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, while the losers will meet in the second elimination game of the tournament on Friday afternoon at 1:15 p.m.
The Tournament continues on Saturday with elimination games at 10:00 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., while the two 2-0 teams will meet at 4:30 on Saturday afternoon with a spot in the regional championship round on the line. The winners from the two elimination games on Saturday will meet that same evening at 7:45 p.m., with the winner set to take on the loser of Saturday’s 4:30 contest at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday with a spot in the championship round on the line. The first championship game will be played at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, while the “if-necessary” game will take place on Monday.
Winners of the eight regional tournaments will qualify for the double-elimination championship at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin, Friday-Tuesday/Wednesday, May 26- 30/31, 2017.