MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – For the eighth time under coach Ken Campbell, the Walters State Senators baseball program will play in the NJCAA East Central District championship, with the prize being a trip to the Alpine Bank JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
The 13th ranked Senators have made four trips to the World Series under Campbell, but none since 2008, the longest stretch since Campbell’s arrival in 2000 as head coach that they have not been to the Rocky Mountains.
Walters State is set to host the East Central District Tournament this week, beginning on Thursday at Senator Field on the Morristown campus. This is the third year that the ECD has been decided as a four-team tournament, and the Senators have been a part of each of those, including hosting in 2011.
Joining the Senators for the third straight season will be Tennessee Community College Athletic Association rival Columbia State, who is coached by former Tennessee and Tusculum assistant Mike Corn.
The two teams from the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association are two-time ECD Tournament qualifiers. No. 17 Georgia Perimeter qualified and played in Morristown in 2011, while Middle Georgia State is in their second straight ECD after hosting last year and falling in the championship game to Gordon College.
The opening game Thursday will pit TCCAA and NJCAA Region VII Tournament champion, Columbia State (34-19) against GCAA and NJCAA Region XVII Tournament champion, Middle Georgia State (39-13) at 11 a.m.
The nightcap Thursday will match TCCAA and NJCAA Region VII regular season champion, Walters State (35-16) against GCAA and NJCAA Region XVII regular season champion, Georgia Perimeter (36-19) at 3 p.m.
No matter who wins, the tournament will send a team to the World Series that has not been in several years. Walters State’s last appearance was in 2008, their fourth in a six-year span and fifth visit all-time. Middle Georgia has gone four times under coach Craig Young, including trips in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2009. Georgia Perimeter has not been in the last 15 years, and Columbia State’s last appearance was more than 20 years ago.
The tournament is set to run through Saturday, with the if necessary championship game scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. The first three days will be doubleheaders, with start times at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Admission for adults is $5 for an all-day pass, and children under 12 get in free.
In case of weather, games may be moved to Smokies Park in Kodak to assure they are finished in a timely manner.
All games can be heard online at http://www.ws.edu/athletics/baseball/championship/broadcast.