May 27 marks the 55th Annual Avista-NAIA World Series.
Many are more enthralled with the Road to Omaha and the enduring history that surrounds it, but there is tremendous history and excitement in the NAIA brand of baseball.
How rich is their history?
The World Series has been held every year since 1955, and this year’s host, Lewiston, has the honour of hosting for the 20th time. Crowds of over 700,000 have witnessed games in Lewiston.
With the latest ratings just released, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fla.) tops the list with 43 wins and 17 first-place votes. Oklahoma City University, California Baptist University, Lee University (Tenn.) and Cumberland University (Tenn.) round out the top five.
Those names should sound very familiar, as all but California Baptist have been mainstays in the World Series finals since 2002.
Will that streak continue this year? More than likely, as history usually repeats itself.
Cumberland University might possibly hold the key to this championship. Aaron Wilkerson is having one of the most dominant college seasons I have ever seen.
A little background first. In 2010 Wilkerson went 14-1 in over 100 innings. He struck out 125 batters and held the opposition to a .210 average, good enough for second-team All-American (his counterpart on the staff, Aaron Schaefer, received first team after going 14-0). Wilkerson also pitched a complete game in the championship, giving Cumberland its first title since 2004.
If that wasn’t good enough, how’s this for an encore?
This season Wilkerson has gone 10-0, has an ERA of 0.73 and has limited the opposition to six earned runs and a .148 batting average. WOW.
With a 39-12 record heading into the final weeks of the regular season, Cumberland is a little behind last year's 58-9 record. Embry-Riddle, now sitting atop of the mountain, has really improved and has nearly surpassed its 47-win total from last year.
May 27 will mark the date of some great baseball, and those are unfamiliar with it should definitely take it in if they have the opportunity.
Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective.