This is the sixth trip to the NJCAA Division II baseball World Series for the Bengals but the excitement never wears off for LSUE Eunice head coach Jeff Willis.
“We are looking forward to playing in that venue,” the coach said. “The guys worked hard all season to get to the World Series.
“Our guys are ready to go to work,” Willis said. “We are looking forward to competing at the highest level.”
The Bengals won national titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010 with third place finishes in 2004 and 2009.
The only person on the team that made the last trip to the Series with Willis is student assistant coach Evan Tageant.
“It is going to be key for us to keep things in perspective as it is no different than any other games we have been playing,” Willis said. “We are going to show up and play hard. We want our guys to enjoy the moment and have fun.”
The top-ranked Bengals (52-4) will open the tournament at noon on Sunday against Iowa’s Des Moines Area Community College (50-13) at David Allen Ballpark in Enid, Okla.
The Bengals rolled through the Region 23 tournament, outscoring their opponents 44-2 including a 17-0 win over Hinds Community College for the championship.
“Our hitters had a tremendous weekend,” Willis said. “A lot of that goes to the hard week that Coach (Roberto) Vaz and the hitters have put in throughout the year.
“Hopefully we still have some runs left after that weekend and we continue to swing the bats like we did,” he said. “If we do, we have a very good shot (at the title)”.
Brady Wilson will open the Series on the mound with Cody Boutte set to start the second round game on Tuesday.
“All the teams are good and it will come down to who can get two-out base hits,” Willis said of the tournament. “We need to take advantage of any mistakes the other teams may make.
“It is going to come down to putting pressure on the other team and scoring when you are supposed to score,” the coach said.
“The guys play extremely hard,” Willis said. “They are always getting after it and competing pitch after pitch. It is fun to watch them play.”
Four teams from last year’s field are making a return to Enid, including defending national champion Western Oklahoma State College.
Joining the Pioneers on back-to-back trips to the tournament are Des Moines Area Community College (Iowa), Madison College (Wis.) and Heartland Community College (Ill.). Lackawanna College (Pa.) and Catawba Valley Community College (N.C.) are each making their first trip to the DII World Series, while Grand Rapids Community College (Mich.) will make their DII-record 10th appearance – their first in Enid.
The field also includes Scottsdale Community College (Ariz.), LSU-Eunice and Community College of Rhode Island.
Enid will not be short of perennial powerhouses with the ten participants combining for 29 DII World Series appearances and 12 national championships. The greatest run of recent success belongs to the Bengals of LSU-Eunice – claiming three of the last six championships in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
With five titles, Grand Rapids leads all DII programs in national championships with their most recent coming in 2005.
At the Division III level, Madison earned three-straight championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Adding to the prestige of the tournament are four members of Perfect Game USA’s Top 100 Junior College Prospects. LSU-Eunice boasts two players on the list in No. 69-ranked sophomore outfielder Dalton Herrington and sophomore catcher Stuart Turner, ranked No. 94.
Lackawanna’s roster features No. 84-ranked sophomore pitcher Chris Kirsch, while Des Moines Area sophomore pitcher Nick Dolsky ranks No. 99.
Game 1: Catawba Valley vs. Heartland - 9 a.m.
Game 2: CC of Rhode Island vs. Madison - 12 p.m.
Game 3: Scottsdale vs. Lackawanna - 4 p.m.
Game 4: Western Oklahoma vs. Grand Rapids - 7 p.m.
Game 5: LSU Eunice vs. Des Moines Area - 12 p.m.
Game 6: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser - 3:30 p.m.
Game 7: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser - 7 p.m.
Game 8: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner - 12 p.m.
Game 9: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner - 3:30 p.m.
Game 10: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner - 7 p.m.
Game 11: Game 5 Loser vs. Game 8 Loser - 12 p.m.
Game 12: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Loser - 3:30 p.m.
Game 13: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner - 7 p.m.
Game 14: Game 11 Winner vs. Game 13 Loser - 3:30 p.m.
Game 15: Game 10 Winner vs. Game 13 Winner - 7 p.m.
Game 16: Game 14 Winner vs. Game 15 Loser - 3:30 p.m.
Game 17: Game 12 Winner vs. Game 15 Winner - 7 p.m.
Game 18: NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME* - 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 2nd
Game 19: IF NECESSARY* - 7 p.m.
*NOTE: If there are three teams remaining at Game 18, the team with the most games played shall receive a bye to Game 19. If there is a tie for the most games played, a coin toss will be used to determine the bye. All games except Championship Games (possibly Game 18 if just two teams remain and Game 19) will have the run rule. 10 runs after 5 complete innings, 8 runs after 7 complete innings. All games are scheduled for 9 innings