Patriots Virginia-bound for USCAA tourney

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By The Staff

SCC Sports Information

They don’t yet know who they will play. They aren’t sure at what time they play, although they know it will be on Tuesday. But what Luther Bramblett’s Patriots do know for sure is that they will be playing for a national championship next week.

The quest for a national title begins Tuesday in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) eight-team, double-elimination tournament. St. Catharine now owns a 32-14 record, which could change this week if weather allows two games recently scheduled to be played.

The Patriots were to play Spalding University yesterday and Campbellsville today as warm-ups to the USCAA action.

“Our guys are excited about the opportunity to compete for a national title,” said Bramblett, whose teams have averaged 36 wins a season in his eight years at St. Catharine. “There are four or five solid teams in the tournament, but I think we have a legitimate shot to compete.”

The USCAA polls would indicate the Patriots have a very legitimate shot. After a run of three weeks in which they were first in the USCAA poll, the Patriots fell to second in the latest, and final regular season, poll. Apprentice School, which will host the tournament in Hampton, Va., is now the top-ranked team. Apprentice is 26-13 going into this week.

The Patriots faced a tough challenge in their latest game when they traveled to Nashville to take on Trevecca Nazarene, ranked 26th in the latest NAIA poll. But Bramblett’s bunch was equal to the task last Tuesday when they came away with an 11-6 win over the Trojans (32-19). The Patriots scored in each of the first five innings and in seven of their nine at-bats.

Justin Witt, Brian Jones and Philip Dean each had three hits in the Patriots’ 14-hit onslaught. Brian Jones homered as did Patrick Jones and Josh Landers. Travis Evans (2-0) who pitched one inning of scoreless relief, was credited with the victory.

“That is a good win on the road against a good team,” concluded Bramblett.