LAKELAND, Fla. (May 8, 2015) - The annual NJCAA Gulf District/FCSAA State Baseball Tournament gets underway today at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.
Ten teams enter the double-elimination tournament with a chance of advancing to the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., led by St. Johns River State College, the No. 1 team in the state and No. 2 team in the country. The Vikings, champions of the Mid-Florida Conference, enter postseason play at 44-8, and will open the tournament at 10 a.m. Friday against seventh-ranked State College of Florida, runners-up from the Suncoast Conference.
Friday's 1 p.m. game will feature No. 8 Broward College against Hillsborough Community College, one of two Wild Card entries into the tournament. The Hawks defeated Daytona State College on April 29 in one of two Wild Card games featuring the third-place teams from each of the four conferences.
One day earlier, No. 9 Gulf Coast State College scored a dramatic victory over Eastern Florida State College in the FCSAA's first Wild Card game. The win earned the Commodores a 4 p.m. date with No. 5 Santa Fe College.
The final game of day one, scheduled for 7 p.m., will pit No. 6 Northwest Florida State College vs. No. 4 Polk State College.
All tournament games will be carried by Panhandle Sports Broadcasting.
Based on the rotating bracket, the champions from the Panhandle Conference (Chipola College) and Southern Conference (Palm Beach State College) will earn the opening-day bye.
Chipola opens the second day of play at 10 a.m. Saturday against the Broward-Hillsborough winner. At 1 p.m., Palm Beach State plays its tournament opener against the winner of Gulf Coast State-Santa Fe.
Saturday's 4 p.m. will be the first elimination game of the tournament.
Play continues through Wednesday, May 13 when the two surviving teams will play for the championship at 10 a.m. with the "if" game scheduled for later that day.
Region 8 also has postseason play on the docket in Kinston, N.C., where the Pasco-Hernando State College Conquistadors are defending their NJCAA Division II Southeast District Championship.
The eight-team, double-elimination tournament begins at 10 a.m. Friday and cotninues through May 12.
Pasco-Hernando's first game is at 7 p.m. Friday vs. Lenior Community College.