Baseball: Vikings picked 3rd in conference

Feb 7th, 2014 @ 12:42 pm | Author: Mark Potts, Sports Information Director
North Star baseball coaches have picked Valley City State University to finish third, according to the conference's preseason coaches' poll released Friday.

Valley City State received 13 poll points, slightly edging Dakota State for third place. University of Jamestown is picked as the conference favorite followed by Mayville State.

Valley City State is currently 4-4 after some North Star teams played counting games this fall. The Vikings are coming off a 15-26 record in 2013. Under the direction of head coach Casey Olney, the Vikings went 2-2 last year at the A.I.I.-Unaffiliated Postseason Tournament – losing out in the semifinals against Mayville State.

Olney's squad returns three players who hit .300 or better last season: Thomas Houdek (.320), Brady Anderson (.301) and Dan Buehner (.300). The Vikings also return one of their top pitchers from last season in Bryce Venaas (3-3, 3.17 ERA).

The Jimmies had a slim one-point lead over second-place Mayville State in Friday's poll. UJ scored 23 points in the coaches' preseason poll with three first-place votes.

Mayville State, receiving votes in the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Poll, tallied 22 points and picked up the final two first-place votes.  The Comets are already undefeated this season with an overall record of 8-0. 

Both UJ and MSU qualified for the NAIA Baseball National Tournament Opening Round last season.  The Jimmies finished their 2013 season with an overall record of 30-11, while the Comets finished the 2013 season with a 34-9-1 overall record.

Valley City State, 4-4 overall record this season, is picked to finish third with 13 points in the preseason coaches' poll.  Dakota State (S.D.) had 12 points to finish fourth and Presentation (S.D.) fifth with 5 points.  The Saints are currently 0-8 overall record this season.

Dakota State is scheduled to play a three-game series to kick off their 2014 season on Feb. 16-17 in Goodwell, Okla.

Presentation heads to Topeka on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 for a pair of doubleheaders.
Mayville State returns back to action on Feb. 28 through March 1 with five games scheduled in Sabetha, Kan.

Jamestown's 2014 baseball season opener is slated for Feb. 27 to March 1 with four games in Topeka. 

Valley City State heads to Fremont, Neb. to play a four-game series with Midland (Neb.) on March 8-9.

The first-ever North Star baseball conference games get underway on March 29-30.  The four-game series match-ups include Jamestown visiting Presentation in Aberdeen, S.D. and Dakota State hosting Mayville State in Madison.
Valley City State plays their first NSAA conference doubleheader on April 5 at Jamestown.

The North Star-Frontier Conference Baseball Conference Tournament will be held in Valley City, N.D.  The six-team double-elimination unaffiliated conference tournament format will be played at the Charlie Brown Memorial Field.  All five NSAA schools along a member from the Frontier conference—Dickinson State (N.D.)—will compete in the conference tournament.

The winner of the NSAA-Frontier Baseball Conference Tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NAIA Baseball National Tournament Opening Round on May 12-15. 

2014 North Star Preseason Baseball Poll
Team (1st place votes) Poll Points
1. Jamestown (3) 23
2. Mayville St. (2) 22
3. Valley City State 13
4. Dakota State 12
5. Presentation Coll. 5