To get to Omaha, you'd better host some games
By By Marty Stamper
June 8, 2001
With the NCAA College World Series set to open today in Omaha, Neb., let's talk a little baseball.
First of all, how important is it for a team to host in the first two rounds of qualifying for the CWS? Plenty.
In the regional stage there were 16 four-team double-elimination tournaments. Of those 16, the host team won 14 times. That's 87.5 percent. The only regionals not to fit the pattern were at Ohio State where Mississippi State came out on top and at Notre Dame where Florida International was the winner.
In last week's eight Super Regionals which were played under a best-of-three format, the host team advanced seven times or 87.5 percent again. The only non-conformist was Tennessee as the Volunteers swept East Carolina on the road.
So that leaves the SEC with Tennessee and Georgia in the CWS. By the way, did you notice that former Mississippi State coach Ron Polk carried enough clout to get Georgia host roles in both the regional and Super Regional?
This year's CWS also has Nebraska in it for the first time and tickets when the Cornhuskers play will be near impossible to come by.
Tulane is also making its first appearance at the CWS.
Meanwhile, traditional powers Southern Cal, Stanford, Cal State Fullerton, and Miami round out the field that just may be the most balanced ever.
North Central Texas wins JUCO title: Who says you have to have experience and tradition to win championships? While those two qualities are nice, being good is a whole lot more important.
North Central Texas College won the 44th NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., last week in its first appearance in the event.
North Central, which competes in the same district as 1999 and 2000 NJCAA champion Grayson County (Texas), defeated Dixie (Utah) 7-6 in the championship game. Dixie was making only its fifth appearance and its first in the championship game.
Region 22 champion Central Alabama, which swept Region 23 champion Mississippi Gulf Coast to get to Grand Junction, went 3-2 in the tournament after winning its first three games.
The Trojans from Alexander City, Ala., defeated North Central Texas 12-11 in the first round and Dixie 9-3 in the second round.
Central Alabama then beat Eastern Oklahoma 6-4 to reach the finals of the unbeaten bracket where the Trojans fell 9-8 to Cowley County (Kan.) Community College. A 14-0 loss to Dixie sent the Trojans packing.
A man's gotta do: The loss to Dixie also put the coaching career of Central Alabama head coach Ron Baynes on hold in a somewhat unusual manner.
Baynes has accepted a position to become the supervisor of football officials for the National Football League.
Baynes has been an NFL official for 14 years. He started his officiating career with high school basketball, baseball, and football.
There was a 13-year stint in the Southeastern Conference before joining the NFL.
He has officiated in two Super Bowls, four conference championships, and the Pro Bowl.
Baynes will have to move to New York for his new job.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.