Final 2015 Small School Rankings

NCAA Division II

The Tampa Spartans were an easy pick for preseason No. 1 team. They were coming off a crazy insane 54-4 season and had almost their entire starting lineup coming back to campus for another run to Cary. However for a good part of the spring, the team didn’t look like they would come anywhere close to meeting their lofty preseason prognostications.

Out of the gate UT performed up to usual standards. They won 14 of their first 15 games with their only loss being to the reigning D-II champs, Southern Indiana. Also wedged in among their wins was an exhibition victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

However something weird started happening, Tampa started losing, and quite often. During a midseason stretch the club went a very un-Spartanlike 11-10. In one week’s time Tampa lost as many games as they did in all of 2014. UT never left the Perfect Game top 10 as it was believed to be a glitch in the matrix, but the Spartans were exiled completely from the NCBWA Top 25 for a two week period; that’s a rare occurrence for the perennial power.

Nevertheless the Spartans got their groove back in a big, big way. They finished the regular season plating double-digit runs in seven of 11 games and kept right on truckin’ into regional play. They went undefeated in the South Regional to earn their 17th regional championship and earned an invite to North Carolina and the D-II National Championships for the third consecutive year.

While in Cary Tampa performed like true champions. In the opening game they faced potential first-round draft choice Cody Ponce and scored seven runs against the top-shelf Cal Poly Pomona staff for an extra innings win. After that the UT pitching staff completely dominated in Cary.

Despite having a down year (at least on paper) on the mound with a season staff ERA well north of 4.00, Tampa pitchers tossed complete game four-hitters in two of their final four games and held opposition to a total of eight runs scored in four games.The wins gave Tampa its seventh baseball national championship and Coach Joe Urso earned his fourth title while at the helm of the Tampa ship.

Rk. Prev. School State Record Pre.
1 6 Tampa Spartans FL 43-13 1
2 22 Catawba Indians NC 47-15 25
3 5 Cal Poly Pomona Broncos CA 46-17 NR
4 15 Mercyhurst Lakers PA 40-11 23
5 2 Colorado Mesa Mavericks CO 47-9 14
6 4 St. Cloud St. Huskies MN 54-5 22
7 7 West Alabama Tigers AL 42-11 NR
8 1 Nova Southeastern Sharks FL 39-13 NR
9 3 Franklin Pierce Ravens NH 48-4 12
10 24 Angelo State Rams TX 42-18 NR
11 8 Millersville Marauders PA 45-11 NR
12 10 Minnesota State Mavericks MN 43-9 11
13 12 Seton Hill Griffins PA 43-13 2
14 13 Columbus St. Cougars GA 35-14 3
15 11 UNC Pembroke Braves NC 38-13 NR
16 14 St. Mary’s Rattlers TX 41-16 17
17 17 Mount Olive Trojans NC 39-16 4
18 9 St. Edward’s Hilltoppers TX 40-13 20
19 23 Florida Tech Panthers FL 38-13 NR
20 21 North Georgia Nighthawks GA 38-17 NR
21 NR Henderson State Reddies AR 33-21 NR
22 NR Wilmington Wildcats DE 35-17 NR
23 16 Emporia St. Hornets KS 39-16 8
24 NR Truman State Bulldogs MO 35-22 NR
25* 18 Lynn Fighting Knights FL 35-15-1 NR
25* 19 Alabama Huntsville Chargers AL 36-11-1 10

Dropped out:
Southern Arkansas (20), UC San Diego (25)


Just as in D-II, a traditional power came home (or stayed home as it would be) with the title. For the 17th time in school history Lewis-Clark State earned the NAIA championship.

The Warriors played really, really good, but not great, all season long. They started the season ranked 12th and spent the entire spring floating between the Nos. 7 and 12 positions in the rankings. They’d lose a game here and there which would make one wonder if they had the muster for another title run, but just when you’d doubt their moxie they’d churn out a lopsided 22-1 or 20-3 win to eliminate all doubt that the LC Warriors were a team worthy of the title.

LCSC had an amazing roller coaster ride in the NAIA World Series. After winning their first two games over Davenport and Concordia, the Warriors were sent to the loser’s bracket by Faulkner by virtue of a defeat in a 12-10 barnburner. The Warriors would have to win their next three games against a trio of some of the best teams in the nation to earn their first title since 2008.

LCSC’s Ty Jackson had the kind of game you tell your grandkids about when he helped shutout Embry-Riddle for the first time all season. He threw almost eight innings of goose eggs and hit a home run as the designated hitter to earn the game winning RBI. The loss not only ended ERAU’s time in Lewiston, but was the last game for the Eagles as an NAIA team as they will transition to D-II next season.

The semifinal game was a rematch against Faulkner and the Eagles jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead against the host Warriors. Despite a strong comeback by LCSC, Faulkner was winning headed into the bottom of the seventh inning. Hometown hero Beau Kerns, who went to high school in Lewiston, was able to keep the lid on the Eagle’s offense and allow his team to earn the comeback win as he earned his 12th win of the season and advance the Warriors to the championship game for the 24th time in program history.

In the championship game it appeared that LCSC would finish up as bridesmaids for the third consecutive year. St. Thomas, who was playing for their first title in school history, was up 7-1 after five innings, but Bobcat starter Ben Ancheff had to leave the game with tightness in his shoulder. The Warriors were then able earn the largest comeback in championship history, finishing with a 10-7 win and a dogpile on the mound to celebrate the win.

Rk. Prev. School State Record Pre.
1 8 Lewis-Clark State Warriors ID 46-12 12
2 6 Faulkner Eagles AL 51-15 5
3 16 St. Thomas Bobcats FL 48-18 NR
4 17 Concordia Warriors CA 49-18 22
5 1 Oklahoma City Stars OK 46-13 NR
6 3 Oklahoma Baptist Bison OK 53-8 2
7 25 Embry-Riddle Eagles FL 41-19 11
8 4 Tabor Bluejays KS 54-12 19
9 2 LSU Shreveport Pilots LA 46-14 3
10 14 Davenport Panthers MI 51-12 13
11 5 Oklahoma Wesleyan Eagles OK 49-14 4
12 7 Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies GA 50-14 17
13 13 Bellevue Bruins NE 46-15 24
14 12 Northwestern Ohio Racers OH 45-15 21
15 10 Tennessee Wesleyan TN 45-12 NR
16 9 The Master’s Mustangs CA 42-14 20
17 15 Northwood Seahawks FL 40-14 NR
18 11 Missouri Baptist Spartans MO 43-13 1
19 18 Freed-Hardemann Lions TN 37-17 NR
20 NR Vanguard Lions CA 39-22 NR
21 NR Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders KY 41-19 NR
22 20 Point Park Pioneers PA 37-13 16
23 22 Campbellsville Tigers KY 30-13 NR
23 25 Bryan Lions TN 44-18 NR
24 23 Lyon Scots AR 35-13 NR
25 21 LSU Alexandria Generals LA 40-16 NR

Dropped out: Mount Vernon (19), Auburn Montgomery (24)

NCAA Division III

Cortland won its first national title in such a convincing fashion that not even the fit-crazed dentist who doesn’t recommend sugarless gum can refute their awesomeness.

After starting positioned 10th in the preseason rankings, the Red Dragons took over the top spot mid-spring as they throughly steamrolled opposition all year. Cortland finished the season with a 45-4 record and in almost half of their wins they scored double-digit runs. Among their wins were six shutouts and nine times they outscored their opponent by at least 10.

At the D-III World Series Cortland twice faced Frostburg State, a team that tore though teams themselves and ultimately finished the season second in the rankings with a 43-9 final record. In those two games the Dragons dominated the Bobcats, winning the contests by a combined score of 21-5.

In the championship game against UW-La Crosse, Cortland was trailing 2-1 in the ninth inning but rallied for five runs to take the lead, win the game and earn the title. The decisive runs were plated against Eagles’ bullpen ace Jameson Sadowske who had only given up three earned runs all season for a sub 1.00 ERA and perfect 5-0 record, that is until the Dragons blemished it.

The Dragons had been a frequent visitor to the D-III version of the CWS and were making their 13th appearance in the last 20 years. Each time Cortland went home without the championship trophy, with their best finishes being in 2005 and 2010 when they were the runnerups.

It was a bittersweet victory for the Dragons who were playing in their first championship series since the passing of their former coach Bob Wallace. Wallace had been a longtime supporter of Cortland baseball and the Dragons had displayed the letters “BW” on the backs of their hats this spring in his honor.

Rk. Prev. School State Record Pre.
1 1 Cortland State Red Dragons NY 45-4 10
2 3 Frostburg State Bobcats MD 43-9 NR
3 2 Salisbury Seagulls MD 33-6-1 4
4 11 Emory Eagles GA 31-15 1
5 23 Trinity Tigers TX 40-14 19
6 15 Webster Gorloks MO 34-15 16
7 9 UW-Whitewater Warhawks WI 35-11 2
8 NR UW LaCrosse WI 36-16 NR
9 4 Rhodes Lynx TN 33-13 25
10 5 UW-Stevens Point Pointers WI 33-14 5
11 7 Kean Cougars NJ 35-12 18
12 8 Birmingham-Southern Panthers AL 37-12-1 3
13 6 Shenandoah Hornets VA 28-10-1 14
14 10 Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets OH 31-12 8
15 14 Tyler Texas Patriots TX 34-12 NR
16 16 Linfield Wildcats OR 33-15 17
17 NR Ramapo Roadrunners NJ 33-16 NR
18 NR Alvernia Crusaders PA 35-14 NR
19 21 Pacific Lutheran Lutes WA 32-14 NR
20 17 Concordia Tornados TX 31-12 23
21 12 Southern Maine Huskies MA 32-15 12
22 13 Washington Bears MO 34-16 NR
23 18 Cal Lutheran Kingsmen CA 32-12 15
24 20 Heidelberg Princes OH 33-14 NR
25* 22 Methodist Monarchs NC 32-10 NR
25* 24 La Roche Redhawks PA 33-13 NR
25* 25 Wesleyan Cardinals CT 30-11 21
25* 25 Wooster Fighting Scots OH 36-9 NR

Dropped out: Rowan (19)

Originally appeared on Perfect Game website:

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