Swarthmore baseball heading to D3 College World Series

Matt Leon
May 21, 2018 - 1:11 pm
Swarthmore College is headed to the Division III College World Series for the first time in program history.

Swarthmore College Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — One of the best sports stories of the year in the Philadelphia area continues to unfold.

The Swarthmore College baseball team is heading to the Division III College World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Garnet captured the Auburn, New York regional crown Sunday night with a 9-3 win over Southern Maine.

"It's been fantastic," said Matt Midkiff, Swarthmore head coach. "The guys played really hard. It was a regional with a lot of really good teams and we just seem to play our best when our backs are against the wall, and came out on top. So it was awesome."

Swarthmore did not taste defeat in the regional, going 4-0. That improved their record to 37-9 on the season. 

The Garnet are making this run in just their second ever appearance in the NCAAs — the first was way back in 1985 — and on the heels of a 2017 season that saw them go just 16-22. Midkiff discussed what this means for his program and the school.

"I don't know that I can grasp it yet except to say that it's something that has never been done before [at Swarthmore] and that this group is really special," he said. "I've been getting a lot of contacts from former players, from the '60s, '70s, '80s, all the way up to guys that just recently graduated. It's a small school, but there is a lot of pride in being a Swarthmore alum, and I've seen that with our success and people following us. 

"Athletes and non-athletes alike have been really rooting for us. It's a really cool story that a school like ours can make a run on the national level and ultimately get to the World Series."

The entire field for the College World Series is still being filled out, so the Garnet don't know their first opponent as of yet. But Midkiff knows what the message to his team is as they head to Appleton.

"Enjoy what you've accomplished," he said. "They definitely deserve to look back a little bit and see how far we've already come. Then, the second thing is don't change anything. Just keep playing in the moment and playing pitch-by-pitch. We do that, we'll be in really good shape no matter who we play. 

"We're playing with house money at this point — we just go out and compete and see what happens."

The double-elimination Division III College World Series will get underway Friday.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.