Potomac State set to host Pitt for Eastern District Tournament

Cody Ellsworth

Cody Ellsworth and the Potomac State Catamounts will host this weekend’s Eastern District Tournament against
Pitt Community College starting on Friday at Golden Park. The winner of the best-of-three series will head to the
JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado. Photo Courtesy
www.raymondburner.com

Keyser, WV- Potomac State College will face a familiar opponent in this year's NJCAA DI Eastern District Baseball Tournament: Pitt Community College. They will also play in a very familiar place: Home.

On Friday, Potomac State College will face off with the Bulldogs at Golden Park in a best of three series with a trip to the JUCO World Series on the line. The two teams met in the same tournament last season.

Potomac State Baseball is no stranger to playing in the Eastern District Championship. This season will mark the tenth time in the last twelve years that the Catamounts will find themselves in a series that will determine who moves on to the JUCO World Series.

Pitt will be making their second straight trip to a District Tournament and the third in the last four years. In 2008, Pitt was defeated by Region XX Champion Hagerstown Community College, (MD) in a best-of three series and last year Pitt punched their first ever trip to the JUCO World Series when they swept the Catamounts at Minges-Overton Baseball Complex on Pitt’s Campus in Greenville, NC.

Potomac State made three straight trips to the World Series held in Grand Junction, Colorado in 2004, 2005 and 2006, but to return to the western slope this season PSC will have to overcome a rematch of last year's tournament and a very talented Pitt team.

"We had a chance to play them last year down in Greenville, (NC) with a trip to the World Series on the line and they beat us down there," said Potomac State Head Coach Doug Little. "They were the better team than we were."

This season the venues will swap as Potomac State will host the Eastern District Tournament. This will mark the third time that Golden Park will host the EDT. In 2002, the first year the Catamounts played at Golden Park, the Catamounts dropped a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to Louisburg College, (NC). Three years later the Catamounts turned the tables on Louisburg at Golden Park when the Catamounts won two straight games over the Hurricanes 5-0 and 6-3 to advance to the second of three straight World Series appearances for PSC.

Pitt entered this year's Region X tournament as the number three seed but survived when they received a game-winning hit over a drawn-in outfield in the bottom of the ninth inning over Guilford Tech to win back-to-back Region X Championships.

“You try to prepare the guys all year long for this tournament,” Pitt Head Coach Tommy Eason said. “This is what it's all about. ... I told the guys that if they're going to bring the intensity level up, they have to keep it there the entire time.”

Pitt, (36-11) rode a 10-game winning streak to the end of the regular season, but that was only its second-longest streak of the season. After losing their season opener, the Bulldogs ran off 18 consecutive victories.

Eason know his pitching will need to be solid if the Bulldogs hope to stop Potomac State again this year. “We need to be efficient on the mound and our pitchers need to establish the strike zone early in the game and early in the count.”

Potomac State, (33-9), is riding their own streak as they have won their last eleven games. Little hopes that the streak will help the Catamounts with the games ahead.

“Our biggest opponent this season was the weather; there were times when we would only play once a week,” Little said. “It was hard to get any momentum going, but it is a credit to our players that they were able to overcome those type of things to get this far.”

This will not actually be the first time that Potomac State and Pitt have faced off in an Eastern District Tournament. In 2000 PSC defeated Pitt 3-2 in the opening game of the tourney held in Briarcliff, NY. That Pitt team was led by future Major League player Freddie Bynum, who played for the A’s, Cubs and Orioles.

Then last season Pitt swept the EDT games from Potomac State by scores of 6-0 and 9-2. Ironically, both teams had the identical number of hits is each game; eight each in game one and 11 each in game two.

Since 2000 Potomac State and Pitt have faced off a total of six times with Pitt holding a 4-2 advantage.

Early in the 2000 season Pitt swept a doubleheader with the Catamounts by scores of 4-2 and 9-7 at Pitt. PSC then won that Eastern District game 3-2 behind a complete game effort from Brain Renner.

Prior to last year's EDT, the two teams last faced off in 2001 at Pitt, when Potomac State rallied from back after giving up six runs in the first inning for an 8-7 win.

Pitt comes into this year’s tourney as the #22 ranked team in the latest NJCAA poll and as the 10th team in batting average. Potomac State is unranked, but is 18th in the NJCAA in hitting.

 

The complete schedule is as follows:

2011 Division 1 Baseball Eastern District Championship

Game 1 -Friday, May 20, 2011 - Pitt Community College vs. Potomac State College of WVU- 1:00 p.m.

Game 2 -Saturday, May 21, 2011 - Pitt Community College vs. Potomac State College of WVU- 11:00 a.m.

Game 3 *-Saturday, May 21, 2011 – 30 minutes after completion of Game 2

* If necessary