Indiana Tech and Huntington University begin play in the NAIA Baseball Opening Round on Monday. The Opening Round has nine brackets with five teams in each bracket. The nine bracket winners will join Lewis-Clark State in the Avista NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho later this month.
Indiana Tech got an at-large bid after posting a 41-12 record. The Warriors have a team batting average of .357 led by redshirt junior Matt Bandor, a Northrop graduate, with a .450 average. Bandor is second on the team with nine home runs.
Also batting over .300 this year among regular starters were Glen McClain (.437), Keith Tatum (.384), Charlie Sipe (.378), Peyton Newsom (.368), Dante Biagini (.343), and Tighe Koehring (.332). Sipe, a senior outfielder out of Northrop, led the team with 13 home runs. Koehring paced Indiana Tech with 61 RBI's followed by McClain with 60.
Senior Cody Kellar led the team in wins this season with 10 in 14 decisions. The righthander posted a 2.02 ERA while striking out 55 in 93.1 innings. Johnny Crawford was second in wins with eight while not losing a game. Jared Harvey, a senior righthander out of Snider, posted the teams best ERA at 1.99 while splitting time between starting and relieving.
Indiana Tech is seeded second in the Bartlesville, Oklahoma Bracket and will play Bryan at 2:30 p.m. Monday. The Tennessee school is 37-18.
Huntington, 33-11, was the Crossroads League regular season and tournament champion. The Foresters hit .328 as a team with senior Dalton Combs, an Adams Central graduate, leading the way with a .409 average. Combs also hit eight home runs while batting leadoff most of the season.
Besides Combs, six other regular starters hit over the .300 mark. They were Andy Roser (.385), Michael Crowley (.346), Adam Roser (.342), Dylan Hendricks (.325), South Side graduate Will Coursen-Carr (.323) and Shea Beauchamp (.310). Beachamp led the team in home runs with 14 and RBI with 58.
Sophomore D.J. Moore was the ace on the mound for the Foresters with an 8-1 record. The Homestead graduate had a 3.03 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. Tanner Wyse was 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. Bellmont graduate Mason Shinaberry, a freshman, was 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA.
Huntington is the third-seed in the Montgomery (Alabama) Bracket and will play St. Thomas (Florida) at 3:30 p.m. Monday.
Other area players, Jeff Cardenas and Matt Volz, will be involved in the NAIA Opening Round as well.
Cardenas, a senior from Bishop Luers, batted .410 this season helping Northwestern Ohio to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles. The Racers, 43-10, have a 26-game winning streak and are the top-seed and host of the Lima Bracket.
Volz, a senior outfielder from Homestead, batted .273 this season for IU-Southeast. The Grenadiers, 45-13, received an at-large bid and is the third-seed in the Kingsport (Tennessee) Bracket. IUSE plays Tennessee Wesleyan at 2:30 p.m. Monday.