Story contribution by Mike Marzolf, Great Bend Tribune
The bracket is now set for the 2018 NJCAA World Series starting Saturday.
The Barton Community College baseball team found out their opponent last Saturday night as Jefferson (Mo) won the South Central District. The two will square off in the third game of the JUCO World Series with first pitch set for 4:00 p.m. Central time Saturday at Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colo.
Among those in the field is 5-time champion San Jacinto (Texas) traditional power Iowa Western, defending champion Chipola (Fla) and No. 1 ranked Walters State (Tenn).
Barton, along with Monroe (NY) are making their first appearances at the event.
Five of the top 10 teams in the NJCAA will be there. No. 1 Walters State is 56-6. No. 2 Iowa Western, a 3-time champion, is making its 18th trip with a 53-5 record. No. 3 Chattahoochee Valley is 48-10.
Also from the most recent Top 10 is No. 6 and 5-time champion San Jacinto, 48-13. It will be the 23rd trip for the Gators, 48-13. Barton's foe is also in the Top 10 as Jefferson is ranked No. 8 with a 52-9 record. The Vikings are making their first appearance since 2012.
Defending champion Chipola, 43-16, is ranked No. 14 and Southern Idaho, 50-10, is ranked No. 18. First-time schools Barton (47-13) and Monroe (36-14) are both ranked No. 20.
The lone unranked team making the trip to Grand Junction is Temple. The Texas school is 35-23.
The field is not seeded, rather placed by a predetermined slot by the district each team won.
The 10-team double elimination tournament will run from Saturday thru June 2.
The first game will feature Temple against Southern Idaho at 10 am. That is followed by a pair of top three schools when No. 2 Iowa Western takes on No. 3 Chattahoochee Valley.
Following the Barton-Jefferson game, the final contest of the opening day will pit the defending champs, Chipola, against the No. 1 ranked team in the country, Walters State.
The final first round game will be played Sunday at 10am with No. 6 San Jacinto taking on No. 20 Monroe.
If Barton would win it first game, the Cougars will not play again until 11 am Monday against the winner of the Chipola-Walters State game. If Barton would lose, the Cougars would battle the loser of the Chipola-Walters game at 8:30 pm Sunday in an elimination game.
Fans unable to make the trip can follow the Cougars with Doug Bender play-by-play on local radio 107.9FM or streaming online courtesy of Rocking M Media. The JUCO World Series and NJCAA TV will be providing live stats and video broadcasting of all tournament games. For complete coverage links of Barton's run in the tournament, visit BartonSports.com or visit the official Alpine Bank JUCO World Series web site. Additionally, behind the scenes photos and videos can be found following the Cougars through social media, search "BartonSports" on Facebook and/or Twitter.
NJCAA World Series
At Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colo.
Saturday May 26 (Times are CDT)
G1 – Temple (35-23) v 18 Southern Idaho (50-10), 10 am
G2 – 2 Iowa Western (53-5) v 3 Chattahoochee Valley (48-10), 1 pm
G3 – 20 Barton (47-13) v 8 Jefferson (52-9), 4 pm
G4 – 14 Chipola (43-16) v 1 Walters State (56-6), 8:30 pm
Sunday, May 27
G5 – 20 Monroe (36-14) v 6 San Jacinto (48-13), 11 am
G6 – Loser G1 v Loser G2, 3 pm
G7 – Loser G3 v Loser G4, 8:30 pm
Monday, May 28
G8 – Winner G3 v Winner G4, 11 am
G9* – Winner G6 v Winner G7, 3 pm
G10 – Winner G1 v Winner G2, 8:30 pm
Tuesday, May 29
G11* – Loser G5 v Loser G8, Noon
G12* -- Loser 10 v Winner G9, 4 pm
G13 – Winner G8 v Winner G5, 8:30 pm
Wednesday, May 30
G14* - Winner G11 v Loser G13, 4 pm
G15 – Winner G10 v Winner G13, 8:30 pm
Thursday, May 31
G16* - Winner G14 v Loser G15, 4 pm
G17*-Winner G14 v Winner G12, 8:30 pm
NOTE – If 3 teams remain at Game 18, the team with the most games played received a bye to Game 19. In the case of a tie, a coin toss will determine the bye.
Friday, June 1
G18 – TBD v TBD, 8 pm
Saturday, June 2
G19 – TBD v TDB, 8 pm