KANSAS CITY, Mo. (LyonScots.com) – Despite dropping four spots and out of the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll in the final rankings of the season on the same day, the Lyon College Scots received the third and final postseason playoff berth from the American Midwest Conference Sunday when the Scots were granted at-large bid No. 11 (of 16) and a spot as one of the 45 qualifiers of the 2013 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round.
There are nine Opening Round sites across the United States, hosting five teams each. Squads will play double-elimination format as the sole survivor from each site will earn the right to advance to the 57th annual Avista-NAIA World Series on May 24-31 in Lewiston, Idaho, joining host-team Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).
The seeding and brackets for the NAIA Baseball National Opening Round, which will be played May 9-13, will be announced on Monday at 12 p.m. CDT via a free graphical presentation on www.NAIA.org.
Opening Round sites include: Jackson, Miss. (Belhaven University); Irvine, Calif. (Concordia University); Portland, Ore. (Concordia University); Cleveland, Tenn. (Lee University); Columbia, Ky. (Lindsey Wilson College); Lubbock, Tex. (Lubbock Christian University); Oklahoma City, Okla. (Oklahoma City University); St. Joseph, Mo. (Park University); Claremore, Okla. (Rogers State University); and Bluffton, S.C. (University of South Carolina Beaufort).
Twenty-nine teams earned automatic berths to the Opening Round field by placing first or second at their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournaments or by winning a regular-season championship. An additional 16 at-large selections – determined by the final NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll – round out the field. Despite being knocked out of the Top 25 poll, the Scots still received the 26th-high number of votes for the poll.
Since the new playoff format was created in 2009, Lyon College (41-14) is among 10 programs that will be making their debut in the 2013. The Scots will be making their fourth playoff trip overall, the previous regional berths were in 2002, 2005 and 2006. Other newcomers since the inception of the current postseason format include AMC squad Benedictine-Springfield (Ill.), Ave Maria (Fla.), Central Methodist (Mo.), Concordia (Ore.), Martin Methodist (Tenn.), Midland (Neb.), San Diego Christian (Calif.), Science & Arts (Okla.) and Trinity Christian (Ill.).
A third AMC squad, Missouri Baptist, which fell four spots to No. 20 in the final poll, also qualified for the tournament. The Spartans will be joining the postseason for the fourth time since 2009. The Spartans (31-11) received at-large bid No. 7 as they were knocked out of the conference tournament, along with Lyon. Benedictine-Springfield (23-23) earned the league's only automatic bid when the Bulldogs dropped their second game of the conference tourney to Missouri Baptist, 11-1, then defeated Lyon (3-2), MBU (9-3) and William Woods twice (6-5 in 11 inn. and 9-7) to claim the tournament title.
Seven squads within the field have participated in every Opening Round since the format began in 2009 – Embry-Riddle (Fla.), Indiana Tech, Lee (Tenn.), LSU Shreveport (La.), Lubbock Christian (Texas), Oklahoma City and Tennessee Wesleyan. Embry-Riddle, Lee and Oklahoma City highlight the group with four Opening Round championships, while Lubbock Christian and Tennessee Wesleyan own three each.
Seven qualifiers have previously won a World Series title, led by Lewis-Clark State's 16. The Warriors own an event record mark of 120-39 in 31 previous appearances. Lubbock Christian and Cumberland (Tenn.), who both enter the tournament with two banners, are the only other teams in the field with multiple national titles.