July 29, 2014
WICHITA, Kan. – The top NJCAA baseball players from across the nation are headed to Wichita Thursday to represent the United States of America in the 80th annual National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series.
The NBC World Series – held at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium since 1935 – attracts amateur and national baseball teams from across the globe to compete in a two-week tournament. Receiving an automatic bid in the 16 team, double-elimination championship bracket, the national team will await Thursday's conclusion of the qualifying bracket to find out when their first game is and who they will be facing. Click here for live stats and scores or visit www.nbcbaseball.com. -- UPDATE: The NJCAA Baseball National Team will play the San Fransisco Seals at 4 p.m. (CT) Friday, August 1st.
Sporting the stars and stripes will be 26 NJCAA student-athletes from 22 member colleges. The roster features 11 players who received NJCAA All-America honors in 2014 – including four first team selections – two members of Iowa Western's national championship team and 18 NCAA Division I signees. Click here for the complete roster.
Putting a heavy emphasis on pitching, the NJCAA national team's 26-man roster features 13 pitchers – 10 of which have signed with NCAA DI programs.
Anchoring the staff are third team All-Americans Conor Harber from Western Nevada and Aaron Schnurbusch from Johnson County (Kan.). With an 8-1 record and a 2.06 ERA for the season, Harber befuddled hitters with 79 strikeouts in 65.2 innings of work. The left-handed Schnurbusch was a workhorse for the Cavaliers, pitching 107.2 innings – fourth most in the nation – while compiling a 2.42 ERA and 102 strikeouts. Both sophomores, Harber will be moving on to Oregon next season while Schnurbusch is set to play at Pitt.
An honorable mention All-America selection, Chattahoochee Valley (Ala.) right-hander Dalton Rentz should also play a key role after leading the Pirates with a 1.82 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 104 innings on the year. After earning a win in the national championship game, Iowa Western sophomore right-hander Drake Robison (right) brings that invaluable experience to the team.
Both pitchers will be playing in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) next season as Rentz goes
to Auburn and Robison migrates to Ole Miss.
Perhaps the strongest position for the NJCAA national team will be catcher where two of the
three players on the roster earned first team All-America accolades in 2014.
Seward County (Kan.) freshman Brent Williams (right) was named a first team All-American in Division I after leading the Saints with a .686 slugging percentage that was highlighted by 37 doubles – most in the nation – and seven home runs. Williams batted for a .415 average and totaled 69 RBIs on the year.
Earning first team honors in Division II, Mercer County (N.J.) freshman Dave Osnato should
make his presence felt in Wichita. With a .434 batting average, Osnato accumulated six home runs, 10 doubles and 32 RBIs for the season. Striking fear in the hearts of base runners, Osnato threw out 11 runners in 2014 – throwing out half the players who attempted to steal with him behind the plate.
The NJCAA national team should also receive an abundance of production from the five infielders and utility player on the roster. The players include two All-Americans and four student-athletes
that will play NCAA DI ball next year.
Second Team All-American John Holland joins Chattahoochee Valley teammate Rentz on the roster. Holland was dominant at the plate in 2014, batting for a .406 average with 38 RBIs and 26 stolen bases. The sophomore compiled a .604 slugging percentage behind 12 doubles, eight triples and four home runs. Holland will join Rentz in the SEC next season as he departs for Mississippi State.
Holland will be joined by honorable mention All-Americans Matt White from Spartanburg
Methodist (S.C.) and David Petrino from Central Arizona.With a .372 average, 48 RBIs and 22 stolen bases, White spearheaded the Pioneers' run to their third consecutive World Series appearance. Petrino hit for a .426 average on the season, tallying 19 doubles and 40 RBIs along the way. Both sophomore have signed with NCAA DI colleges as White moves on to Charleston Southern and Petrino goes to Oklahoma State.
Other NCAA DI signees in the national team's infield include Central Alabama's Alex Lee (right) who will play at Samford and Dallas Baptist's newly acquired Trooper Reynolds from Weatherford (Texas).
With three All-Americans and a national champion on the roster, the NJCAA national team's outfield could be the best in the tournament.
First team All-Americans Daniel Sweet from Polk State (Fla.) and Roman Collins (right) from Des
Moines Area (Iowa) bring a ton of talent to the roster. Sweet boasted a .411 average in 2014 with 45 RBIs and a team-high 30 stolen bases. Collins led the Division II ranks with 75 RBIs and ranked fifth with a .756 slugging percentage after hitting 25 doubles, three triples and 12 home runs. Sweet will join Reynolds at Dallas Baptist next season, while Collins heads South to Florida Atlantic.
Jefferson Davis (Ala.) sophomore Logan Hill brings his own All-America credentials after
receiving third team honors this season. Hill led the Warhawks with a .390 batting average, 10 doubles and eight home runs. He also accumulated 40 RBIs to boot. Staying in-state to continue his collegiate baseball career, Hill is set to join Troy in 2015.
After winning a national championship with Iowa Western in his first collegiate season, Dom Thompson-Williams closes out the distinguished group. The freshman hit for a .407 average in 2014 and finished the year with 44 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.
Managing the NJCAA national team are four highly respected coaches including three with national champion pedigrees. Leading the group is Iowa Western head coach Marc Rardin (right) who is fresh off winning his third DI national championship in the last five years.
With 12 seasons under his belt, Rardin has compiled a 559-168 record as the Reivers' skipper.
In 2010, he became the first NJCAA coach from the Northern District to win the DI World Series. Following that season, Rardin served as an assistant for the NJCAA national team that travelled
to Haarlem, Netherlands, to compete in the prestigious Honkbal Tournament.
Joining Rardin on the staff as assistants are South Florida State's Rick Hitt – president of the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association – former Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.) coach Mike Dickson and Zach Crabtree from Murray State (Okla.). Dickson – who was recently hired by NCAA DIII program Rowan – won two DIII national titles in nine seasons with the Roadrunners. Crabtree directed the Aggies to the DII national championship in 2013.
Acting in administrative roles are Joe Bauth from Erie (N.Y.) – vice president of the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association – and Florida State-Jacksonville athletic director George Sanders who will serve as the team's trainer.
Photos courtesy of Iowa Western Athletics, Seward County Athletics, Central Alabama Athletics and Des Moines Area Athletics.
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