Raiders Baseball Plays First Postseason Game This Friday

The NWFSC Raiders just earned their Panhandle Conference title. Now they need to win two of three to vie for a Region 8 championship and a a guaranteed spot in the national tournament.

The Northwest Florida State College Raider Baseball Team 31-13 (16-8) started slow this year – but came roaring back as they began their conference schedule in March. 

 

Now, they have a chance to go all the way on the long road to a NJCAA National Championship starting on Friday at home in the first round of the Region 8 Playoffs. The Raiders will host the Polk State College Eagles 33-23 (18-15) in the three-game series that will determine which team gets to go to the next round in Lakeland. 

 

The Raiders will host the Eagles, thanks to a Panhandle Conference Championship they wrested away from their perennial rivals in Chipola by one conference game win. 

 

Two other Panhandle Conference teams managed their way into the postseason as well – Chipola and Pensacola State also earned postseason slots. 

 

Northwest Florida State College’s Baseball Coach, Doug Martin, sat down with Mid Bay News to discuss the season, the upcoming game, and what will make the difference in this first series. 

 

RELATED: NWFSC Head Baseball Coach Secures 500th Win

 

This Weekend’s Playoff Series

The Raiders must win two of their three-game series to advance to the next round of the playoffs. This will be the second time in a row that the Raiders will need to beat Polk State in Niceville in the postseason. 

 

Last year, the Eagles almost got the better of them. The Raiders needed a walk-off home run in game three to advance. 

 

Coach Martin expects that The Raiders will need the same level of skill and effort this year to beat the Eagles. “We better be ready when the ump says ‘play ball,'” Martin said. 

 

Coach Martin says that the Raiders’ exciting brand of aggressive baseball should make the difference on the field and in the stands. “They are playing fun and they’re playing hard,” The Raiders’ 2015 National Championship Head Coach said. He also acknowledged the threat from Polk State. “They are a playoff team. They’ve got good pitching, and they’re gonna win some battles,” Martin added, “you need to be able to overcome any kind of adversity and move on to the next play. If you can’t do that – it’s no fun.”

 

The Regular Season 

The month of February had no love lost for the Raiders – who needed to find their sea legs with a whole new pitching staff, a couple of transfers and plenty of Freshmen. Despite having a couple of rough outings – the month wasn’t horrible for them – they started 11-3 and worked out the details that needed to be ready to go before they leaned into the woodchipper that is the Panhandle Conference. 

 

“We started off pretty slow, sort of first few weeks,” Coach Martin remembered, “just kind of feeling our way and trying to figure out the lineupand who was the best fit. That always takes a while.”

 

Coach Martin also credits his team’s ability to cast off the Travel Ball mentality and begin to work together as a team, to succeed as a group rather than as individuals. Despite the short runway for the team to mesh, some guys are on the team for only a semester before moving on, the culture is strong for the team this year. “We try to [build our culture and mentality at NWFSC] by telling them if we have success as a team, then your individual opportunities will certainly be enhanced because recruiters and scouts will come and gravitate more towards successful teams than unsuccessful ones,” Martin said, “This team has done a pretty good job with that so far,” Martin added. 

 

Details

⚾️ NJCAA Region 8 Playoffs – First Round

📍Northwest Florida State College – Niceville

📆 May 3 (5 PM) May 4 (1 PM) May 5 (1 PM)

*Game three only if necessary

🎟️ At the stadium

💵 $5 (Kids 5 and under are free)

🔗 More info

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