Drury finishes #1 in my final regular season rankings

Drury finishes #1 in my final regular season rankings

Image result for drury baseball

The back and forth action has come to an end, with Drury University standing at the top of my rankings. A team that at one point stood as low as #5 in my rankings and as high as #1 back on April 11th. A team that now represents the top seed in the GLVC West division is set to take on the start of the postseason.

The baseball season has a consistent roller coaster vibe every year. If you asked Drury they certainly had some ups and downs this year, but finishing at the top in the end has to be a bit of a surreal type feeling for the panthers.

Despite the high finished ranking the Panthers will need a complete team effort if Shane Benes isn’t able to go in the GLVC tournament. Benes hasn’t seen action since the middle of April.  The Panthers with Benes in the lineup for their first 32 games went 23-9, but since Benes’s absence they slowed to a 10-8 finish on the year.

Injuries are hardly ever able to be seen coming down the road, but when a key contributor to a ball club leaves it will take an entire squad to step in and fill that roll. I do think Coach Scott Nasby can get the troops ready for the conference tournament with or without Benes in the lineup.

My final rankings play out as:

                                                               Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 Drury 33-17 3-2 2
2 Missouri Western 29-18 1-0 5
3 Central Missouri 32-16 2-1 1
4 Lindenwood 31-17 3-0 4
5 Southwest Baptist 30-19 0-3 3
6 NW Missouri St. 31-18 4-0 6
7 Missouri S & T 26-21 1-3 7
8 Missouri Southern 26-24 1-2 8
9 William Jewell 21-25 3-1 11
10 Maryville 25-25 3-1 9
11 Rockhurst 23-25 2-2 10
12 Truman 18-30 2-2 13
13 UMSL 16-30 1-3 12

 

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Missouri Western is making a run for it late.

Missouri Western is making a run for it late.

Image result for missouri western baseball

The Griffins have been the true definition of a hot streak this year. Missouri Western started out the season 3 and 7 in their first 10 games only to go on to win their next 8 of 10 to put them back above 500.

Follow that up with losing 6 of their next 10 and then just now finishing off winning 9 of their last 10. The roller coaster ride for the Griffins has been an event most haven’t ever ridden before.

After mentioning all of that, now the situation rises that their final MIAA matchup of the year falls this weekend, giving them an entire weekend off before the MIAA playoffs start. Will they be able to turn it on again once the playoffs begin remains the question to be answered.

Missouri Western on the season has done their best to win games on the mound. Currently the 3rd best staff in the MIAA will need to be their calling card if they plan to go further than the first round of the playoffs. A week off before playoffs begin could be a great thing for their young arms.

My rankings for the 2nd to last week of the regular season:

                                                               Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 Central Missouri 29-12 4-0 1
2 Drury 26-15 2-3 2
3 Southwest Baptist 28-14 1-3 3
4 Lindenwood 26-16 1-2 4
5 Missouri Western 25-17 4-0 6
6 NW Missouri St. 26-16 2-2 5
7 Missouri S & T 21-18 4-1 7
8 Missouri Southern 24-22 3-1 8
9 Maryville 22-20 2-2 9
10 Rockhurst 20-21 2-2 10
11 William Jewell 18-21 1-4 11
12 UMSL 15-23 2-3 12
13 Truman 14-28 2-3 13

Central Missouri regains top spot in Missouri DII

Central Missouri regains top spot in Missouri DII

Image result for central missouri baseball

I wrote about the Mules consistently early in the season as I believe was well deserved praise coming into the 2017 season ranked #2 in the preseason rankings. However, a few weekends this spring have been true battle tests for Central Missouri that haven’t always gone their way.

The Mules, after falling out of the one seed in my rankings reclaimed there title they had for almost 10 straight weeks  after going 3-1 this week and winning on the road at Southwest Baptist, something very few teams can speak for this year. (SBU is 18-5 at home this year).

Doing it in more ways than one is quickly becoming the recipe for Central Missouri’s success. The former MIAA champion has slowly risen up the leader board in the hitting categories for the MIAA as they sit at a team average of .320 (3rd in the MIAA) and lead in SB with 75 (Ranks 16th nationally).

Pitching has always been the Mules bread and butter this year which I believe should continue.  Supporting a MIAA leading team ERA of 3.74 and allowing opposes teams to only bat .246 off of them. Coach Kyle Crookes will have the Mules prepared as the final weeks of the season finish.

My rankings for this week:

                                                                Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 Central Missouri 25-12 3-1 2
2 Drury 24-12 1-3 1
3 Southwest Baptist 27-11 3-1 4
4 Lindenwood 25-14 3-0 5
5 NW Missouri St. 24-14 0-4 3
6 Missouri Western 21-17 4-0 9
7 Missouri S & T 17-17 2-2 6
8 Missouri Southern 21-21 1-3 7
9 Maryville 20-18 2-2 10
10 Rockhurst 18-19 1-3 8
11 William Jewell 16-17 2-2 11
12 UMSL 13-20 2-3 13
13 Truman 12-25 2-2 12

 

Drury takes over Missouri’s #1 ranking

Drury takes over Missouri’s #1 ranking

Image result for drury Shane Benes

This year division II baseball has been a complete mess in a rather fun way. Each week a new team steps up with a big series win to keep their name in the hat for a playoff ticket. As we approach under four weeks til the playoffs there are a few teams that seem to be separating themselves from the pack.

Drury being my top selection of teams pulling away from the others with an 8-2 record in their past 10 games which is tied with Northwest Missouri State and Southwest Baptist for the best record over the past 10 games. Drury truly separates themselves from the rest of the herd with an unmatched 16-4 record in their past 20 games. There isn’t another Division II program in Missouri who can claim such a run of wins as the panthers can.

Through 31 games the Panthers rank #1 in the GLVC for overall hitting, the are 6th best in the conference for pitching and third best in overall defense. Sitting near the top in all three major categories is the recipe for success.

At the plate the Panthers have been led my Division 1 transfer Shane Benes who recently set the all time school record with 12 homeruns on the season. Ryan Colombo, also, is need of some series recognition as he bats a dazzling .431 and pitches off the mound with an era of 2.14.

As the playoffs get closer and closer day by day, I anticipate each weekend series with such excitement as the pitches get more precious for each club. My Division II baseball rankings are below.

                                                             Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 #25 Drury 23-9 4-1 2
2 Central Missouri 22-11 2-3 1
3 NW Missouri St. 24-10 4-0 3
4 Southwest Baptist 24-10 3-1 4
5 Lindenwood 22-14 4-0 5
6 Missouri S & T 15-15 3-1 8
7 Missouri Southern 20-18 1-3 7
8 Rockhurst 17-16 1-4 6
9 Missouri Western 17-17 2-2 9
10 Maryville 18-16 2-3 10
11 William Jewell 14-15 1-3 11
12 Truman 10-23 2-2 12
13 UMSL 10-18 1-3 13

GLVC sends 4 in Midwest Regional Predictions.

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We are a little over a month away from the releasing of the regional playoff matchups for Division II. Division II baseball will assign six to eight teams to fall into eight regional playoff groups. Each regional site will participate in a double-elimination tournament.

The central region is one of the eight regional groups that will pull teams from the GAC, MIAA and NSIC conference. Last year the central region saw the two seed Central Missouri Mules move onto the world series and come only a few games away from winning the National Championship.

The GLVC conference appears on paper to be a much stronger conference this year. Often, years in the past it has been said to be the weaker conference in the midwest. However, the GLVC over the past few years has been a strong conference in getting a team into the World Series. Last year the GLVC saw Southern Indiana and Missouri S&T battle it out for a trip to the world series.

All that being mentioned I think it is a stronger conference this year than it has been even in past years. Teams can flat hit this year as Drury and Maryville lead the way in average and Illinois Springfield and Quincy lead in homeruns.

I think this conference gets four teams into the regional round. Here are my predictions:

School Overall Record Winning %
#1 #23 INDIANAPOLIS 20-9 0.690
#8 Trevecca Nazarene 12-15 0.444
#4 SAINT JOSEPH’S 17-9 0.654
#5 Findlay 16-7 0.696
#3 Drury 19-8 0.704
#6 Grand Valley State  15-11 0.577
#2 Northwood 19-7 0.731
#7 Quincy 17-10 0.630

Indianapolis is currently ranked #23 in Division 2 Baseball News’ Poll.

Emporia State holds top seed for my Central Region Predictions.

Image result for Emporia State baseball

We are a little over a month away from the releasing of the regional playoff matchups for Division II. Everything is still completely up in the air, but to the best ability that I can supply I am releasing my central regional predictions here.

Division II baseball will assign six to eight teams to fall into eight regional playoff groups. Each regional site will participate in a double-elimination tournament.

The central region is one of the eight regional groups that will pull teams from the GAC, MIAA and NSIC conference. Last year the central region saw the two seed Central Missouri Mules move onto the world series and come only a few games away from winning the National Championship.

This year I think Emporia State will be the top seed to be named in the Central Region. Emporia plays in the MIAA conference and currently ranks #4 in the nation for the Division II level. Emporia last year snuck in the playoffs as the eigth seed.

Emporia has changed the scene a bit this year getting off to a 24-7 record and batting .334 as a team while supporting a team era of 4.16 which may sound high, but currently sits third best era in the MIAA conference.

The break down for my central region playoff bracket fall with three teams representing the NSIC and MIAA, along with two schools to represent the GAC.

School Overall Record Winning %
#1 #15 Emporia State (MIAA) 24-7 0.774
#8 Arkansas Tech (GAC) 21-13 0.618
#4 #22 Central Missouri (MIAA) 20-8 0.714
#5 Augustana (NSIC) 18-11 0.621
#3 #17 Minnesota State Mankato (NSIC) 19-4 0.826
#6 #28 St. Cloud State (NSIC) 19-7 0.731
#2  #21 Southern Arkansas (GAC) 26-6 0.813
#7 Northeastern State (MIAA) 17-11 0.607

Emporia  Southern Arkansas, Central Missouri, Minnesota State Mankato, and St. Cloud State have rankings that denote where they fall in the national poll for Division II baseball, according to D2 Baseball News.

Southwest Baptist moves into the top 5!

Southwest Baptist moves into the top 5!

Image result for southwest baptist baseball

The Bobcats from Southwest Baptist were one of my selections to finish near the bottom of the barrel this year in my Missouri Division II rankings. March has come and gone along with my thoughts of Southwest Baptist not having the potential to be a top tier team.

The bobcats on the season sit at a 21-9 record with a 11-7 record in the MIAA. Southwest Baptist hasn’t won more than 21 games in a season in the past 7 years other than 2014 when they won 29 and finished 5th in the conference and then last year the bobcats won 22 games finishing 11th in the conference.

This year there has been a turn around for the better and each week Southwest Baptist continues to prove to me they are a team to keep an eye on. The bobcats are starting to build an impressive resume of wins on the season with a sweep of Lindenwood and Missouri Southern in back to back weeks.

The one kicker that stands out to me as a reason to hold off on making them a top 3 team and a team that could make a playoff push would be their home/road splits. Southwest Baptist on the season sits at an average at best road record of 6-6. The bobcats do, however, get it done at home with a 15-3 record on the season.

The road record should get more opportunities in the next few weeks, but one saving grace for the bobcats is their remaining schedule is extremely friendly. They will travel to Washburn and Pittsburg State, but they will host #18 Central Missouri and #4 Emporia State, who happen to be the top 2 teams in the MIAA.

I do think the bobcats of Southwest Baptist aren’t a fun matchup by any stretch of the imagination, but I would like to see more road wins before putting them up there with Drury and Central Missouri.

My rankings for Division II baseball in Missouri:

                                                              Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 #20 Central Missouri 20-8 1-2 1
2 Drury 19-8 4-1 3
3 NW Missouri St. 20-10 4-1 9
4 Southwest Baptist 21-9 3-1 10
5 Lindenwood 18-14 3-1 4
6 Rockhurst 16-12 3-1 7
7 Missouri Southern 19-15 0-4 5
8 Missouri S & T 12-14 2-2 2
9 Missouri Western 15-15 1-3 6
10 Maryville 16-13 1-3 8
11 William Jewell 12-12 3-1 11
12 Truman 8-21 1-3 12
13 UMSL 9-15 1-4 13