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Miller: One year left for DIII baseball in Grand Chute

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Tom Miller
Thursday, June 1, 2017

If UW-Whitewater wants to play for an NCAA Division III World Series title before a large group of home fans, the Warhawks will have one last chance to do it next season.

After next season, the NCAA Division III World Series moves from Grand Chute, on the outskirts of Appleton, to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Fox Cities Stadium was host of the national event since 2000. It holds the fourth-longest reign of any NCAA championship event, but a change in the NCAA Tournament handcuffed Appleton-area organizers from holding the event after next season.

NCAA Division III will join Division I and Division II in holding Super Regionals starting in 2019. There will be a four-team regional, with the regional winner than advancing to a best-of-five Super Regional tournament.

The Super Regional winners then will advance to the World Series.

That pushes the World Series back from the end of May to the first week of June.

The schedule change is too close to the WIAA stateb baseball tournament that is held at Fox Cities Stadium, as well as the Jordy Nelson Softball Classic, where Packers players participate in a charity game.

In addition, it would put the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Brewers’ Midwest League affiliate, on the road for an extended period.

Cedar Rapids won the bid for the 2019-2022 cycle. The stadium was built in 2002 for the Midwest League’s Kernels and seats 5,300 fans, along with standing-room areas.

Meanwhile, the Janesville/Beloit area is financially unable to move into the new era with a stadium that could handle such an event.

Cal-Lutheran won this year’s NCAA Division III baseball title Monday at Fox Cities Stadium.

Also noteworthy

•  Orfordville Parkview High graduate Jameson Lavery completed his senior season for UW-La Crosse. The pitcher threw 65 innings with a 5-4 record and a 5.12 ERA in 12 starts.

•  Janesville Craig High graduate Wyatt Olson completed his junior season at NCAA Division I Niagara University in New York.

Olson missed a month in the middle of the season with a broken hamate bone in his hand after transfering to Niagara from Indian Hills Community College. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound right fielder/first baseman finished with a .219 average with 21 hits, including six doubles and two homers and 13 RBI.

He started 23 of the 27 games he played in for Niagara, which finished 24-24.

•  Two other Janesville products finished their sophomore and final seasons at Madison College.

Zach Bailey, a Parker graduate, hit .333 in 37 games. He had 28 hits, scored 26 runs and drove in 25 with an .829 fielding percentage.

Nick Blomgren hit .212 in 38 games with 24 hits, including four homers, and drove in 21 runs. He had a .991 fielding percentage behind the plate.

The WolfPack finished 37-17 and just missed advancing to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series, losing in the regional final.

 

Tom Miller is a sports writer/page designer for The Gazette. Email him with college column tips at tmiller@gazettextra.com.

 



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