Wait ’til next year. At this point in the year, all the Maroons (23–12) can do is channel their inner Brooklyn Dodgers and look to the future. Bids to the NCAA DIII tournament were announced Sunday night, and the South Siders were not awarded entrance to the playoffs. The bid would have been their first-ever to the tournament; instead, they will get some extra time to study for midterms and finals, hoping to achieve their first DIII postseason opportunity next year.
There are three types of bids to the championship: Pool A, Pool B, and Pool C. Pool A consists of teams that won their conferences, within conferences that have automatic bids to the tournament. Pool B consists of independent teams or ones without an automatic bid. And Pool C is the leftover teams from the first two categories that are still determined to be deserving of a bid. The breakdown of the bids given is weighted toward Pool A, and there are only two Pool B bids. This already put the South Siders at a disadvantage, since their conference has no automatic bid. The Wash U Bears (28–12) instead received the Pool B bid that could have presumably gone to Chicago, and then it was not selected for Pool C. No reasoning was offered.
In their two doubleheaders against Wash U this season, the Maroons dropped only one game. North Park, a team receiving a Pool A bid, lost to Chicago earlier in the season. The only other team to make the tournament that Chicago matched up against this season is Concordia Chicago, who beat the Maroons.
Chicago may have been hurt by a weak schedule. Wash U, while accumulating the same number of losses, was able to boast of wins over teams like Brandeis, Case, Rochester, and Emory.
“We had a great season; it’s disappointing it didn’t end up the way we would have liked, but now we have something to try and look forward to for next year,” second-year outfielder and first baseman Brett Huff said.
The season was by no means a waste. A win over DI Northwestern in its final game of the year should be a good motivating factor heading into next year, evidence of what the squad can achieve.
“It was a great experience playing with the seniors this year; we’re going to miss them a lot next year,” Huff said.
“There’s a lot to look forward to in the next few years with this team. There’s a lot of potential to do great with next year’s team,” first-year infielder Kyle Engel said.
For now, that’s all the Maroons can do: Look toward next year.