PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg Club Baseball will return to the National Club Baseball Association Division II World Series to Jaycee Ballpark today, looking to avenge last year’s runner-up finish.
The Pittsburg State Club Baseball team clinched their ticket back to the NCBA DII Club Baseball World Series earlier this month after they knocked off Dayton 6-2 in the Great American Regional Championships.
The Gorillas open the World Series versus number-one seeded New York at Binghamton University at 7 p.m.
For the fifth year in a row, the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is bringing the National Club Baseball Association Division II World Series to Jaycee Ballpark.
“Pittsburg offers many attributes that make it a great place to host the World Series.” said Eric Curitore, Director of DII Baseball Operations, National Club Baseball Association. “Pittsburg is right in the middle of the United States, which is great because we have teams traveling coast-to-coast. The CVB does a great job of supplying any resources we need in putting on the event, and Jaycee Ballpark is a beautiful field in itself, which culminates into a great experience for everyone.”
Pitt State outlasted a rocky start to the season to make it’s return.
Following last season's national championship loss to San Diego State, Pittsburg State started this season as the #1 team in the preseason poll.
However the Gorillas stumbled out-the-gate, holding a 4-7 record after eleven games.
An eight game winning streak to end the regular season earned them the at-large-bid for Regionals. Following a second round loss in the double-elimination Regional tournament, Pitt State's back was against the wall.
That's when St. Mary's-Colgan graduate Simon Higginbotham took control. Over two days, Higginbotham threw every pitch in three consecutive wins - 297 pitches total. One of the games went into extra innings, so Higginbotham actually threw three complete games over 24 innings, allowing only three earned runs and four walks during that time.
"This group had to replace ten seniors as well as deal with having eight guys quit from the start of the fall," said Drew Roy, the Pitt State Club President and player, and a Webb City graduate, in a press release from CVB. "We’re battle tested and that’s a huge testament to the guys that are still around and want to be a part of something special."
"The biggest difference (from being an NCAA team) is the time commitment," Roy said. "A typical NCAA team puts in more hours than a full-time job on a weekly basis, while at the club level we ask our guys to make two out of three practices a week. What a lot of people out there don’t realize, is that this is still collegiate baseball and it’s played at a very high level."