SouthArk seeded seventh for World Series

South Arkansas College is hoping seven will be their lucky number.

The Stars were given the No. 7 seed for the NJCAA Division II World Series, which starts Saturday in Enid, Okla. The bracket was announced on Tuesday.

SouthArk (45-16), the Plains District Tournament champions, take on Frederick (Md.) Community College, the No. 10 seed, Saturday at 10 a.m. in the first game of the day.

The Cougars (37-13) won the NJCAA Region 20 crown by knocking off CCBC Catonsville 18-6 in a winner-take-all showdown on Sunday.

The winner plays No. 2 seed Lansing (Mich.) Community College Sunday at 1 p.m.

“I think it is what it is,” SouthArk coach Cannon Lester said of where his team was placed in the bracket. “We’ll take it. Just putting pen to paper, I think that’s what we expected. We don’t know a ton about them, so we’ll do a little more research on them.”

The Cougars are in the World Series for the third straight year and ninth time overall.

The Cougars, who are hitting .338 as a team, have been on a roll offensively, scoring 46 runs in their four postseason games.

Freshman Nick Keane leads the Cougars with a .451 average along with three home runs and 36 RBIs. He also leads the team with 19 stolen bases while being caught only once.

Aidan Greaney, a sophomore, leads the team with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs. He is hitting .335 this year.

Sophomores Aidan Masters and Josh Wilson have each hit nine home runs this year for the Cougars.

Masters is hitting .406 and has 58 RBIs, while Wilson is hitting .385 with 50 RBIs.

In winning the Region 20 crown, the Cougars’ offense unleashed a 21-hit barrage that included five home runs.

Wilson homered twice in the win, while Masters had four hits and Greaney drove in four runs.

On the mound, freshman Chris Durkin and sophomore Jordan Trunnell each sport 8-0 records.

Durkin has a sparkling 2.14 ERA and has two shutouts to his credit.

Trunnell ranks second on the team in strikeouts with 52 in 43 1/3 innings.

Freshman Dakota Smith has a 7-2 record with a 5.49 ERA. He leads the Cougars in innings pitched with 57 1/3 and strikeouts with 58.

Sophomore Bryce Greene anchors the bullpen with eight saves in 14 appearances.

Aidan Fernandez leads the Cougars with a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings of work.

Nate Farmer improved his record to 5-2 after allowing three runs with only two being earned over 5 1/3 innings in the Region 20 clincher for the Cougars.

Frederick enters the World Series having won eight of their last 10 games.

The Stars are in the World Series in just the second year in the history of the program.

Former Parkers Chapel standout Trace Shoup leads the Stars with a .389 average along with 15 home runs and 83 RBIs. He also has 25 stolen bases in 26 attempts.

Freshman Brett Foss and sophomore Hunter Royal each have seven wins on the mound for SouthArk to share the team lead.

Trey Miller has a 1.85 ERA and seven saves out of the bullpen.

The Stars enter the World Series having won eight of their last nine games.

“We’re excited about it,” Lester said. “We had a little watch party this morning. That was exciting to see. We knew we were going to make it, but it’s still cool to see it up there on the screen.” 

There will be a celebratory rally today at the SouthArk Gymnasium at 3 p.m. for the players and coaches.