Opening round champions will join host Lewis-Clark State at the 57th annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho, May 24–31.
Coach Mark Brew and his top-seeded Lee Flames will begin their drive toward a seventh straight appearance in the World Series when they host the winner of the Avila and Grand View on Thursday at 7 p.m. No. 2-seeded Madonna and No. 3-seeded LSU-Shreveport will tangle in other action on Thursday.
National Tournament opening round play will continue Friday and Saturday at Olympic Field. A winner could be declared Saturday evening, but if another game is needed to decide the winner, it will be played on Monday at 1 p.m.
“We are really excited about the grouping of teams we have coming to Cleveland,” said Brew. “We have familiarity with three of the four opponents in that we played Madonna earlier in the year, we were in Lewiston with LSU-S last year, and we played and hosted Avila in the Opening Round in 2012. On paper, all appears to be very solid in a lot of areas and are well coached. We have a lot of good opponents that have experience in the Opening Round and also at the NAIA World Series. It should make for a great tournament over the next three days.”
Twenty-nine teams earned automatic berths to the Opening Round field by placing first or second at their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournaments or by winning a regular-season championship. An additional 16 at-large selections — determined by the final NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released May 5 — round out the field.
Ten programs within the field are making their first-ever appearance in the Opening Round, while seven squads have appeared in every event since the format began in 2009. Embry-Riddle, Lee and Oklahoma City highlight the group with four opening round championships, while Lubbock Christian and Tennessee Wesleyan own three each.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of 12 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting the first 17 games of the 2013 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.
Single-day packages may be purchased for $9.95 while an all-World Series pass is available for $29.95. The championship final May 30 and “if necessary” game May 31 will be streamed live on www.ESPN3.com.