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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Locals lead GLIAC teams into NCAA softball, baseball postseason

Turns out the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals will get a postseason rematch with the team from Indianapolis University that cost them a shot at the Division II World Series last year.

It looked like the Cards, who lost to the Greyhounds in the 2009 super regional, weren't going to make the postseason this year, after a midseason swoon — brought on by an injury to their top pitcher — dropped them out of the rankings. Their chances were further limited when bad weather canceled the GLIAC tournament, which they'd won the previous two seasons.

On Monday, the Cardinals — led by local players Angela Kaiser (Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes), Kailah Happ (Waterford Kettering), Kalie Burdick (Milford), Katie Smith (Clarkston), Dana Velzy (Farmington) and 2008 Miss Softball Lauren Memmer of Lakeland (read her full story here) — found out they earned an at-large bid to the 2010 postseason.

The No. 4 seed in the Midwest Regional, hosted by GLIAC regular-season champ Wayne State, SVSU (27-14) will face Indianapolis in the first round Friday at 12:30 p.m.

As the regular-season champ, Wayne State (47-10) was given the league's automatic bid upon the cancellation of the GLIAC tourney. Led by GLIAC Player of the Year Allison Allen (Farmington Hills Mercy), the Warriors will play Quincy at 3 p.m. Friday. The other two GLIAC teams to make the NCAA tournament were Tiffin and Ashland, which will host the other side of the Midwest Regional bracket.

On the baseball side, three GLIAC teams — Grand Valley, Wayne State and Ashland — earned berths in the NCAA postseason, and all will be traveling to Southern Indiana for the Midwest Regional, which starts Thursday.

Wayne State (32-18) needed a come-from-behind win over Ashland in the tournament title game to gain the automatic bid. The Warriors are the No. 4 seed, and will face Northern Kentucky.

Led by the GLIAC's Pitcher of the Year, Justin Mazur (Warren De La Salle) and the player voted the Warriors' top defender two straight years, catcher Michael Wiseman (Lakeland), the squad also includes brothers J.J. and Andrew Ciennik (Waterford Mott), Chris Gebara (Troy), Justin DeFrancis (Stoney Creek), Eric Ramaekers (Lake Orion) and Sean Falvo (Novi Detroit Catholic Central).

Grand Valley is making its ninth straight postseason appearance, one of just three Division II teams in the nation to make the postseason every year since 2002. The Lakers (34-14) are the No. 2 seed, and will face Ashland.

Led by longtime coach Steve Lyon — once the coach at both Pontiac Catholic Central and Oakland University — the Lakers' roster includes Torre Aguirre (Troy), Brian Robinson (Troy), Max Elkins (West Bloomfield) and Brad Zambron (Birmingham Brother Rice).

In Division III, Adrian will be making its second straight postseason appearance after capturing the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title for the second straight year. The senior class for the Bulldogs (22-4), which includes Steve Vanderheyden (Clarkston), Andrew Anderson (Farmington) and Nick Sarkissian (South Lyon), was the most successful in school history, helping Adrian capture its fourth MIAA title in six years. The Bulldogs' roster also includes Garrett Green (Novi), James Englehart (Royal Oak), Jamey Sackett (Birmingham Groves) and Dan Welch (Lakeland).

The MIAA's regular-season softball champ, Alma College, and tourney champion, Trine University, both earned berths to the NCAA postseason, as well.

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