Playing the toughest schedule in the NAIA can undermine any team’s goals. Add in the nomadic situation the Concordia baseball team has endured the past several years and the task becomes nearly impossible.
The Cavaliers may own the most deceptive 8-20 record in sports. Competing in the rigid NAIA West Region, CU has played 20 of its 28 games against teams ranked No. 21 or higher in the NAIA Poll. In those games, Concordia has suffered six losses by three or fewer runs. Even further, of the eight games the Cavs have played against teams not listed in the NAIA rankings, five of those contests have been against Pacific Lutheran and George Fox, two of the top programs in the NCAA Division III’s Northwest Conference.
Concordia visits the University of British Columbia this weekend, a school with more than 40,000 students competing against universities a fraction of its size. The No. 9-ranked T-Birds swept CU in a four-game “home” series March 19-20 at West Linn High School, 20 miles south of the Concordia campus. Two of those games came down to the final out, as the Cavs lost by a single run.
Last weekend, Concordia hosted Lewis-Clark State in a four-game series at University of Portland’s Joe Etzel Field. The series marked only the second time this season the Cavaliers have been able to play at their “home” field, due to poor weather and field conditions. Lewis-Clark State has won 16 of the last 27 NAIA National Championships and has seen 117 players selected in the Major League Baseball draft. The Cavaliers already split a four-game road series against the Warriors in Lewiston, Idaho, losing a potential series-clincher 6-5 in 12 innings.
On April 2, CU won the first game of a doubleheader, 5-4, and had a chance to hand the Warriors their first doubleheader sweep in over 20 years with the second game entering the ninth inning tied at four apiece. Lewis-Clark State scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to win the game and continue its streak of not losing both ends of a doubleheader.
Concordia has played “home” games at University of Portland (five miles from campus), West Linn High School (20 miles) and Wilsonville High School (24 miles) this season. In the past three seasons, the Cavs have also hosted teams at Lewis & Clark College (11 miles), Mount Hood Community College (15 miles), George Fox University (28 miles) and Linfield College (44 miles), all while traveling to Clark College (13 miles) for the majority of the team’s training and practices.
While bringing the team home will not soften the blow of the schedule, it will remove hundreds of miles of unnecessary travel while giving the players a true home field and the certainty that game and practice times and locations will not be shifted at any time. The Cavaliers belong in northeast Portland, where they can focus their efforts on turning close losses into victories and climbing to the top of the NAIA West standings. Be a part of this historic opportunity and Bring the Teams Home!