This weekend, berths in the NCAA Division II and III Tournaments were handed out. Coupled with performances at the NAIA and junior college levels, PGCBL players at small schools around the country are coming up big entering the postseason.
Toby Welk, Penn State Berks (Amsterdam 2018)- Welk enters the NCAA Tournament as the top hitter in all of Division III baseball. On the season, the incoming Mohawk has posted a .504 batting avergae with 13 home runs and 57 runs batted in. In this past weekend's NEAC Tournament, Welk drive in five runs and went 5-for-7 with two home runs. He was also walked six times in three consecutive victories for the Nittany Lions. Penn State Berks is the number five seed in the New England Regional, and will open play against UMass Boston in Harwich, Massachusetts.
Brandon Reitz, Tallahassee Community College (Amsterdam 2017)- After a season at Florida State, Reitz pitched well as a sophomore for the Eagles of Tallahassee Community College. In 14 starts, the righthander earned four victories, and struck out 69 innings in 65 innings of work. His season was capped by a victory in the Florida junior college state tournament, where he tossed five innings in a 12-4 win over the College of Central Florida. Reitz's season came to an end on Monday in the NJCAA Gulf District/FCSAA State Tournament.
Chris Vallimont, Mercyhurst (Jamestown 2017)- During the 2018 season, the former Jammer has been the ace of staff for Mercyhurst, who qualified for the Division II Atlantic Regional for the fifth season in a row. In his lone start in the PSAC Tournament, Vallimont struck out 11 hitters over six innings in Mercyhurst's victory over Shippensburg. On the season, he has posted a 2.27 ERA with an 8-2 record and 119 strikeouts, which earned him PSAC West Pitcher of the Year honors. The No. 14 Lakers, who earned the No. 5 seed in the regional, will begin regional play on Thursday against fourth-seeded Bloomsburg.
Sean Aspinall, Azusa Pacific (Albany 2014-15)- Aspinall, a former PGCBL All-Star, helped the Azusa Pacific Cougars to a PacWest championship this past week, as well as a No. 2 seed in the Division II West Regional. In APU's two wins over Point Loma, which ensured a conference title for the Cougars, Aspinall went 5-for-7 with a pair of home runs, his 12th and 13th of the season. No. 12 Azusa Pacific is hosting the West Regional, and will face conference rival California Baptist on Thursday in the opening game of the tournament.
Brandon Nylin, IU Southeast (Albany 2015)- NAIA's No. 14 ranked team by Perfect Game has leaned on Nylin in his senior year, as the former Herkimer standout earned all-conference honors for the Grenadiers. In 89 innings on the mound this season, Nylin has recorded a 2.43 ERA with an 8-2 record. IU Southeast qualified for the Opening Round of the NAIA Tournament, slotting in as the No. 3 seed in the Hattiesburg Regional. The Grenadiers were scheduled to begin play on Monday against Westmont College from California.
Crandall Poore, Middle Georgia State (Mohawk Valley 2017)- In his senior season at Middle Georgia State, Poore racked up eight victories to help the Knights to a berth in the NAIA Tournament. Poore's spot as one of Middle Georgia State's top starters allowed the Knights to earn a No. 2 regional seed and a top ten national ranking. In the first game of the NAIA Tournament, Poore posted a quality outing, allowing three earned runs over six innings and departing the game with the lead, but took a no decision in an 8-6 loss to Antelope Valley.
Jacob Telli, Rhodes College (Watertown 2018)- An incoming member of the new Watertown Rapids, Telli has been the leading hitter for a Rhodes team who won the Southern Athletic Association Tournament Championship and qualified for their fourth NCAA Tournament in five seasons. Telli posted team bests with a .364 batting average and 43 runs scored, as well as 16 doubles. Rhodes, who is the number four seed in the Central Region, battles Franklin in the first round of regional play.
Andrew Taft, Le Moyne (Saugerties 2017)- Taft, who has helped Le Moyne to a top 25 national ranking and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, was named to the NE-10 All-Tournament team. Le Moyne is the number three seed in the East Regional, and plays NE-10 tournament champion Merrimack in the first round of postseason play.
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