College Baseball: Indians will host regional at Thomasville’s Finch Field

Published 11:45 pm Sunday, May 10, 2015

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Catawba’s baseball team is in the Southeast  Regional for the seventh time in the last eight seasons, and for the first time, the Indians will be the host team.

However, there’s a catch.

The Indians (40-13) won’t be hosting the event at storied Newman Park. Instead the double-elimination, six-team regional will be played at Thomasville’s Finch Field, about 33 miles from the Catawba campus.

The four-day tournament starts this Thursday and a regional champion will be crowned Sunday, May 17. The regional champion moves on to the Division II World Series in Cary on May 20-23. Catawba won the Southeast Regional and reached the World Series in 2012.

Catawba has traveled to play in recent regionals at Tampa, Fla., Aiken, S.C., Florence, S.C., Mount Olive, N.C., and Greenwood, S.C., and didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to  finally host, but it would have been difficult to park or play at Newman Park on the Catawba campus. Catawba’s graduation ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday.

There also are two major NASCAR events scheduled in Charlotte — the Sprint Showdown on Friday night and the All-Star Race on Saturday night. Many hotel rooms between Salisbury and Charlotte will be filled by NASCAR fans, paying high prices for the accommodations. But baseball fans traveling from out of state should be able to find lodging in the High Point/Archdale area.

First-round pairings for the regional are (1) Catawba vs. (6) North Greenville, (2) Mount Olive vs. (5) Wingate, and (3) North Georgia vs. (4) Georgia College.

The field includes three teams — Wingate (32-24), North Greenville (27-23) and Georgia College (33-17) — that were upset winners in their respective conference tournaments and earned automatic regional bids. Catawba, Mount Olive (37-14) and North Georgia (35-15) received the three available at-large bids.

Game times will be 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, although Catawba’s  starting time won’t be announced until today.