May 6th, 2012
Spalding Begins World Series As Favorite
Golden Eagles seeking USCAA baseball title this week
Spalding University is the overall No. 1 seed and overwhelming favorite as the 2012 United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Baseball Small College World Series kicks off Monday morning at Robin Roberts Stadium in Springfield, Illinois.
This year’s tournament consists of ten teams in a double-elimination tournament. Southern Virginia and Spalding, which finished 2nd and 4th respectfully in last year’s championship, are both back and looking to improve on their 2011 finishes.
Also gaining bids to the USCAA national baseball championships are Apprentice School, Rochester College, Clark State Community College, Selma University, and host Robert Morris University-Springfield.
Penn College, Penn State-Beaver, and conference champion Penn State-Mont Alto, all from the Penn State University Athletic Conference, round out the field.
Spalding (26-9-1) finished 4th in last year’s tournament and has stayed atop the USCAA Coaches Poll for most of 2012. The Golden Eagles head into the World Series with two of the top pitchers in the nation - Tyler Brown and Taylor Reilly - and appear to be the team to beat.
Brown, who is just a sophomore, was 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 11 appearances this season. He also threw the USCAA's first-ever World Series perfect game during last year's tournament as a freshman.
Reilly (7-2) struck out a team-high 70 batters during 70 innings pitched during the season.
At the plate, Spalding was led by a pair of Louisville St. Xavier High School products. Sophomore Derek Ferch is batting .415 as his team begins play in Springfield. Ferch also hit a team-high 5 home runs, including his first-ever walk-off bomb in April. He also had team highs in total bases (85), RBI (26), slugging percentage (.691), runs scored (35) and triples (5).
Spalding senior Kyle Just, also a St. X grad, hit .297 after starting all 35 games this year.
Brown, Reilly and Ferch were named USCAA 1st Team All-America during an awards banquet on Sunday. Spalding junior and Murray State University transfer Cameron Norris was named an Academic All-American.
Other Louisville Catholic school alums playing on the 2012 Spalding squad are freshman Zach Clooney (St. X), junior Zane Wheatley (DeSales), senior Taylor Reilly (DeSales) and junior Keith Gorence (Trinity).
This week's World Series is being played at Robin Roberts Stadium, which is located in the south part of Lanphier Park on the north side of Springfield, Illinois. The 5,200-seat baseball stadium is served by a 100-vehicle parking lot, an office and mainte-nance building, as well as players' clubhouse.
This irrigated ball field is home of two collegiate level baseball programs and several well-known annual baseball tournaments. The stadium is named after Robin Roberts, a pitcher that grew up in Springfield and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 after an 18-year career in the major leagues.
Spalding received a first-round bye and was scheduled to play the Selma-Penn College winner at 1:30pm on Monday. That game has been rescheduled for 10pm on Monday due to rain in the Springfield area.
Follow LouisvilleCatholicSports.com on Twitter (@LouCathSports) this week for updates on Spalding's results during their run through the 2012 USCAA World Series.