COMING UP: at NAIA Desert Classic – vs. Wayland Baptist, Thursday, 10:30 a.m. (PT); vs. Point Loma Nazarene, Friday, 10:30 a.m. (PT); vs. No. 17 Fresno Pacific, Friday, 2 p.m. (PT); vs. No. 11 Lewis-Clark State, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. (PT)
OFF TO ARIZONA: The Coyotes will leave Caldwell on Tuesday evening via charter bus, heading to the Phoenix metro area for the three-day NAIA Desert Classic. The tournament will be played on a pair of fields at Boulder Creek High School, featuring five quality NAIA teams – all who have advanced to the NAIA National Tournament in the past three seasons. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 70s throughout the weekend.
ABOUT WAYLAND BAPTIST: The Yotes open Thursday against Wayland Baptist, of the Sooner Athletic Conference. The Pioneers (27-30 in 2011) return just four players from last season’s team – and have already recorded a 4-0 record this season, sweeping a series from the University of the Southwest. WBU is led by shortstop Bernie Rosario (.455 2 RBI) and outfielder Johnny Hendrixson (.357 1 HR 4 RBI), along with pitchers Ryan Downs (1-0 2.57 ERA) and Jace Chancellor (1-0 0.00 ERA). It is the first meeting between the teams and just the Yotes second against a Texas school (Texas Tech in 1988).
ABOUT POINT LOMA NAZARENE: A doubleheader Friday starts with Point Loma Nazarene, of the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Sea Lions (28-22), the 2010 NAIA National Runner-Up, are in their final year in the NAIA – set for a move to the NCAA Division II. Point Loma, 1-1 this season after splitting games vs. Simpson, was led in the series by designated hitter Tyler Nordgren (.625 5 RBI), while pitchers Jack Archie (7-1 4.22 ERA) and Garrett Levsen (4-6 5.01) are experienced arms. It is the first meeting between the teams since 2002, with PLNU holding a 6-3 series edge.
ABOUT FRESNO PACIFIC: Game two on Friday pits the Yotes and Fresno Pacific, also of the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Sunbirds (32-21), ranked No. 17 in the NAIA Preseason Poll, had considerable roster turnover from last season – as top returners include infielder Alec Mehrten (.320 23 RBI) and pitchers Ryan Castadio (6-3 4.26 ERA) and Greg Kilgore (1-4 1.69 ERA). It is the first meeting between the clubs.
ABOUT LEWIS-CLARK STATE: Tournament host Lewis-Clark State meets the Coyotes on Saturday – the lone non-conference game between the two Idaho rivals. The Warriors (38-17) feature a boatload of transfers on their 2012 roster, but have experienced returners in infielder Trent Bridges (.392 4 HR 44 RBI), catcher Braxton Miller (.336 8 HR 38 RBI), and outfielder Connor Moore (.324 16 RBI). Pitching wise, L-C returns reliever Austin Pentecost (2-0 1.61 ERA), with Seth Haehl (3-0 2.01 ERA) returning from injury. It is the 187th meeting, with L-C holding a 143-42-1 series edge.
NAIA WEST / NATIONAL POLL: The NAIA conducted its conference and preseason national polls during November, with the Coyotes picked to finish second in the NAIA West. British Columbia earned top billing, followed by the Coyotes and Menlo, while Lewis-Clark State (which competes in the NAIA West schedule, but does not factor in the postseason), earned the top spot in their unaffiliated poll. In the Top-25 poll, Oklahoma City earned the top spot – though five different teams earned first-place votes. Defending champ, Concordia (Calif.) was second, followed by Lee (Tenn.), Lubbock Christian (Texas), and Embry-Riddle (Fla.). Lewis-Clark State was No. 11 and British Columbia was No. 20, while the Yotes received one voter point. Two other Coyote opponents’ were in the tabulation – No. 17 Fresno Pacific (Calif.) and Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), which received votes.
ABOUT THE COACH: The 2012 season marks the 25th year in The C of I baseball program for head coach Shawn Humberger, his 12th year as Coyote skipper. Last season, he led the squad to a 33-21 mark and advanced to the title game of the NAIA West Qualifying Tournament. During his tenure, Humberger has compiled a 365-240-1 record, including a third-place finish at the 2002 NAIA World Series and a trip to the 2010 NAIA National Tournament. He has been named Cascade Conference Coach of the Year on six different occasions (2002, 2005, 2006. 2007, 2008, and 2009), along with earning NAIA Region I Coach-of-the-Year and CCC Men's Coach-of-the-Year for all sports in 2002. A native of Twin Falls, Idaho, Humberger graduated from Twin Falls High, played for the College of Southern Idaho for two seasons, and played at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for one year. In 1984, Humberger was part of the CSI national championship junior-college team. In addition, he was named to the 1985 Junior College All-America team. Humberger, a 1989 C of I graduate, also served as the facilities coordinator for the J.A. Albertson Activities Center for ten years, is a physical education instructor at the College, and coached Nampa's American Legion baseball program for eight seasons.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information on The C of I baseball program, head to the official homepage of the Coyotes, http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/baseball.