This isn’t new to the institution, Rowan’s baseball team getting to the NCAA Division III World Series. Back in its days as Glassboro State, the Profs even won the national title back-to-back in 1978 and 1979. The last trip to the World Series for the Profs was in 2005.
Such a trip had included a bridge too far in recent years, when Rowan got to the verge but couldn’t get to the final eight of the national series.
That’s a big reason the school’s seniors came back for 2021, after their 2020 season was cut out by the pandemic. The Profs next play Friday at 5:30 p.m. against Wheaton (Ma.) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“The backstory of our team is working and navigating through the pandemic and coming out on the other side,” said Rowan coach Mike Dickson. “Winning a regional is tough in a normal year. Throw in the fact we had barely any fall or nontraditional season. Gyms and hitting facilities were closed during winter break when they would normally lift and hit to get ready to come back.”
Tough for players, tough for coaches.
“For me, homeschooling my kids three days a week during the season and getting them to daycare by 12:45 and rush to campus to get to practice by 1:30,” Dickson said.
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But hitting the diamond, it’s still baseball. Senior second baseman Alex Kokos became the school’s all-time hits leader. Sophomore pitcher Eli Atiya earned first-team all-region, posting a 9-1 record in 10 appearances, all starts. Senior Ryan McIsaac led the team in hits, runs, doubles, and total bases, also earning first-team all-region. McIsaac also hit in 29 straight games, a school record. The third first-team all-region player, junior Ryan Murphy, led in batting average, home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage.
You don’t get to 29-4 overall without such players performing such feats. It still took a 10-inning 9-8 win over host Marietta in the NCAA regional to move on.
It’s double elimination from here, for a team on a 10-game run, no losses since the Profs’ first game of the NJAC tournament, out-scoring opponents by 75-27 over those 10 games. A run for the record books leading, as feel-good baseball tales have been known to do, to a ballfield in Iowa.
The NCAA Division III baseball World Series schedule. Follow live on NCAA.com
Friday, June 4, 11 a.m.
Saturday, June 5, 11 a.m.
Sunday, June 6, 11 a.m.
Monday, June 7, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, June 8, noon
Wednesday, June 9, noon