The NCAA Division III baseball bracket is out and it’s hard not to project what could be.

If both the University of Southern Maine and St. Joseph’s College win their regional tournaments, the two teams from Maine would meet for a berth in the Division III World Series.

“I’d take that any day,” said St. Joseph’s Coach Will Sanborn. “I’m sure Coach (Ed) Flaherty would, too. But there are a few steps before that.”

This is the first year the Division III tournament has gone from eight to 16 regional sites, with most being four-team, double-elimination formats. The regionals run Friday through Sunday.

Second-ranked USM (34-7), making its 25th NCAA appearance, will host a regional in Gorham. St. Joseph’s (32-10), which is unranked, will be at UMass-Boston.

The Huskies open against New England Collegiate Conference champion New England College (25-15) of Henniker, New Hampshire, at noon Friday. The other teams in USM’s regional are SUNY-Oswego (29-12) and MIT (22-17-1). Three games will be scheduled for Saturday with the two remaining teams playing Sunday.


“I think we’re in a good spot,” said Flaherty. “You know, we were 34-7, played a great schedule, played a tough conference tournament.”

St. Joseph’s will be at the other New England regional site, hosted by Little East Conference tournament champ UMass-Boston (30-11). The Monks face Wheaton College of Massachusetts (27-10) at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Wheaton, the national runner-up in 2006 and 2012, will make its 15th NCAA appearance. UMass-Boston opens against Baruch (17-18) of New York City, which beat Husson to earn the North Atlantic Conference’s automatic bid.

Regional winners will meet in eight best-of-three super regional series on May 24-25. The super regional winners advance to the World Series from May 31-June 5 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

USM and St. Joseph’s have met once in the NCAA tournament, with USM winning in a 2006 regional. This season, in their annual meeting, the Huskies won 4-0 in Standish.

Southern Maine went 2-2 last week in the Little East Conference tournament. While the Huskies’ pitchers continued to excel, an offense that averaged 7.5 runs per game totaled only nine runs.

“We’ve got to get our bats going again, but the weather has been a really big factor,” Flaherty said. “The batting average for all the teams (in the Little East tournament) was .230. Ours happened to be .220. I don’t like to get overly concerned but we’ll try to do some things to get their confidence back up.”


Southern Maine won NCAA titles in 1991 and 1997 under Flaherty, and was the national runner-up in 2013. This is USM’s third straight NCAA appearance and seventh in the past eight seasons.

St. Joseph’s has been idle since May 5, when it rallied to beat Johnson & Wales, 8-7 in 11 innings for the Great Northeast Athletic Conference title.

“It helps from the standpoint of getting things finished up with final exams and senior week and (graduation) are behind us, and we can just focus on getting ready,” Sanborn said.

This will be the Monks’ ninth NCAA appearance and first since 2014.

St. Joseph’s didn’t play Wheaton this season. UMass-Boston was the first team to beat the Monks this year, coming back from a 7-0 deficit to win 9-8 on March 30.

UMass-Boston’s Monan Park has artificial turf and its dimensions are modeled after Fenway Park, including a 27-foot tall left-field fence.

“I don’t think from my point of view the turf or the setting is anything we worry about,” Sanborn said. “The bigger factor is UMass-Boston has a heck of a baseball team.”

SOUTHERN MAINE Community College is also in a national tournament. SMCC (29-7), the Yankee Small College Conference champion, was selected for the United States College Athletic Association’s 10-team Small College World Series. Sixth-seeded SMCC opened Monday against No. 3 and tournament host Penn State Dubois (28-12), the defending USCAA champion.

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