Griz ready to host, compete in regional tournament
MISSOULA, Mont. - Hosting the Northern Pacific regional tournament this year is an exciting event for the Montana club baseball program, but over the past few weeks the Grizzlies were unsure if they'd be able to snag a spot to actually play in the tournament.
Sunday the team found out the good news that they will be competing in the postseason. Montana was awarded the sole wild card spot for the regional tournament and they will be the #4 seed competing this week.
"It's definitely a good feeling," said senior pitcher Michael Albert. "It's never fun not winning your conference and having to wait for someone else to say if you can play or not. Would have liked to hands down won it instead of waiting for the at-large big but we'll take it any way we can."
"We knew we were good enough to make the tournament, we knew we should be in it," explained Griz head coach Ryan Sharkey. "We just didn't like the fact that it came down to a conversation in Pittsburgh and we didn't win it on the field. But it was nice, a good relief for our guys so like I've said you've just got to get into the tournament and once you're here you've got a shot."
The top three seeds in order are: #1 Utah State, #2 the University of Oregon and #3 Eastern Washington. The Griz might be the lowest seed but they have to be one of the hottest teams; Montana won eight of the last nine conference games they played to end the season and the Grizzlies finished with an overall record of 16-6 this spring.
"We're definitely a little bit of an underdog this year," said senior player Brad Bell. "I think it's something we've embraced and are really looking forward to. That's how I'm looking at it and the rest of the guys are looking at it. We're just ready to prove ourselves like 'Hey we're here, let's make some noise.'"
The tournament is double-elimination. The winner will advance to the NCBA World Series in Tampa, Florida.
Tournament Schedule Friday, May 9th GAME #1 #4 Montana vs. #1 Utah State 12:00 PM GAME #2 #3 Eastern Washington vs. #2 University of Oregon 3:30 PM Saturday, May 10th GAME #3 Winner of Game #1 vs. Winner of Game #2 11:00 AM GAME #4 Loser of Game #1 vs. Loser of Game #2 2:30 PM GAME #5 Loser of Game #3 vs. Winner of Game #4 6:00 PM Sunday, May 11th Title Game Winner Game #3 vs. Winner of Game #5 11:00 AM 2nd Championship Game (if necessary) - 2:30 PM
All games are scheduled to be played at Ogren Park. Schedule times and field locations are subject to change depending on weather conditions.