While the NCAA and the Road to Omaha get all the collegiate baseball press, the NAIA is top notch baseball with a tournament of their own that begins Thursday May 9. Lewiston, who is hosting the event for the 22nd time, has seen 777,904 people come through the turnstile for an average of 1,984 per game.
The tournament begins Thursday and the 2013 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round seeds and pairings were announced live via graphical presentation on Monday according to the NAIA.
The final coaches poll was released May 5 and the usual suspects were again named to the upper echelon of the rankings; Oklahoma City, Lee, Lubbock-Christian and Embry-Riddle to name a few.
While going through the list, I saw something that has been long overdue.
I attended York College from 1997-2001 and during those years we went from a struggling squad, to a team to be reckoned with, not only in our conference, but nationally when we received votes in the coaches Poll.
Twelve years later, my former teammates turned coaches-Nick Harlan and Brian Walth-have led York to a No.9 national rank and a No.1 seed in the Joliet bracket that features; Cumberland, Judsen, Mayville State, and Trinity Christian.
It really is an awe inspiring job that coach Harlan and coach Walth have done in their nine years with the York program. To give a brief over view of what they have accomplished, please read this excerpt from Harlan’s bio;
“In his time at York College Harlan has produced 22 all-conference players, one Region IV Player of the Year, six first team Region IV selections, two NAIA All-Americans, and 11 gold glove winners including the Rawlings Gold Glove awarded to the top shortstop in the nation. Academically the Panthers have maintained a 3.0 team GPA and have produced six MCAC Scholar-Athletes.”
Last year 44 players were selected in the MLB Draft. And even though the baseball world is more familiar with the Florida’s and North Carolina’s of the world, the teams assembled in York by Harlan and Walth, the legacy built by coach Mike Evans at Bellevue and the other programs at the top of the rankings, proves that talent is ripe across the baseball landscape.
Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM’s Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow The GM’s Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.