Westmont will host a four-team opening-round bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship, starting Monday, May 16.
Indiana Southeast will play Olivet Nazarene of Illinois in the opener at 11 a.m. on Monday. Host Westmont will take on Antelope Valley at 2:30 p.m.
The double-elimination tournament will continue with two games on Tuesday and Wednesday and, if needed, a single game on Thursday. The tourney winner advances to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, which begins on May 27.
Antelope Valley comes into the tournament with a record of 37-11 and as the California Pacific Conference regular season and tournament champions.
Eight of Antelope Valley’s hitters have posted batting averages over .300 this season led by Noah Blythe at .386. Blythe has driven in a team-high 55 RBIs and tallied 26 extra base hits, including five home runs. Dominic Enbody leads the team in slugging percentage at .615. He has a team-high seven home runs and 51 RBIs.
Antelope Valley likes to run the base paths. The Pioneers have stolen 119 bases this season out of 142 attempts. Keola Viloria leads the team with 33 stolen bases in 36 attempts.
Andrew Garcia and Calvin Turchin lead the Pioneers’ pitching staff. The two have started a combined 23 games with Garcia posting an ERA of 2.44 over 84 2/3 innings and with Turchin recording an ERA of 2.54 over 71. Garcia leads the team in strikeouts with a total of 84 (8.93 per nine innings pitched).
Neal White, in his third year as head coach of the Pioneers, holds a record of 71-29. This is Antelope Valley’s fifth appearance in an Opening Round tournament.
Olivet Nazarene enters the tournament with a record of 38-15. The Tigers are both the regular season and tournament champions out of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Jeff Mullikin is in his third year as the head coach at Olivet Nazarene where he has posted a record of 77-50. This is the Tigers’ fourth trip to an opening round tournament. Last year, Olivet Nazarene competed in the Marian (Ind.) Bracket.
The Grenadiers of Indiana Southeast, out of the River States Conference, enter the tournament with a record of 39-13. This is their eighth Opening Round appearance. Last year, Indiana Southeast won the Kingsport Bracket and advanced to the NAIA World Series where they went 2-2. The Grenadiers were both the regular season and tournament champions in the River States Conference.
Westmont is making its seventh Opening Round appearance, including fourth in the last six postseasons. The Warriors have a record of 9-12.
Robert Ruiz is in his 13th season as head coach for the Westmont baseball program. With a record of 394-261-1, he is the program’s winningest coach.
Westmont’s offense is powered by six hitters who have a batting average over .300. Simon Reid leads the group in both average (.388) and slugging percentage (.663). Reid has 32 extra base hits, including 10 home runs, and has posted 51 RBIs. Josh Rego ranks second in both categories with a .374 average and a .636 slugging percentage. Rego has nine home runs and a team-high 59 RBIs. Brady Renck leads the team in home runs with 13 while Thomas Rudinsky has hit 11.
Renck also leads the Warriors in stolen bases with 22 out of 23 attempts. As a team, the Warriors have swiped 76 bags in 91 attempts.
The Warriors have three starting pitchers with ERAs under 4.00. Eric Oseguera has pitched 57 2/3 innings with an ERA of 2.65. Bryan Peck has 73 1/3 innings under his belt and an ERA of 3.44. Bradley Heacock has pitched 69 2/3 innings with an ERA of 3.88. Chad Stoner, Jr. leads the team in strikeouts with 64 (9.60 per nine innings pitched).
Westmont comes into the tournament as the regular season co-champion of the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Warriors are looking to earn their first trip to the NAIA World Series.