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Third-Seed Owls Compete in NCAA Baseball Tournament

KEENE, N.H., 5/12/08 - The Keene State College baseball team is headed to the Cape. The Owls won’t be taking a vacation after winning their first-ever Little East Conference tournament championship, but playing in the NCAA New England Regional tournament that gets under way Wednesday in Harwich, Mass.

The Owls (33-9) - the number three seed in the eight-team, double-elimination regional - will take on number six St. Joseph’s College of Maine (28-16). The game tentatively is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The two teams met in Standish, Maine, on May 1, with the Monks winning 5-4 in 10 innings.

Both Keene State Coach Ken Howe and his players know they will have to bring their A game to the field everyday to come out on top.

“The tournament is loaded with strong teams,” said Howe. “No matter whom you face in the first -round, you’re in for a tough battle. It’s going to come down to who does the little things in the game.”

“We feel we are the best team in the region and hopefully can take the momentum from winning the Little East Championship with us to the Cape,” said junior second baseman Jaime Chevalier.

The Owls, who have already set a program record for wins in a season, will be making their second trip to the regional tournament. Earning its initial berth last spring with an at-large bid, KSC knocked off top-seed Wheaton College twice before falling to LEC rival Eastern Connecticut in the championship round.

“I think the fact that we played in the tournament with help us,” said senior right fielder Greg Ford, who was named Most Outstanding Player of the LEC tournament. “I know I had butterflies in my first game last year. It’s up to the seniors and returning players to let the younger guys know what to expect.”

One of those seniors, Jamie Morin, will get the ball for the opening game against St. Joseph’s College. “I’m happy that the coaching staff has confidence in me to pitch the opener,” said Morin, who tossed a three-hit gem against Eastern Connecticut in a pivotal game in the LEC tournament. I’m feeling good at this point of the season. Even if you’re a little tired, the adrenaline will be running high.”

Trinity College from Connecticut is the top seed in the regional, and, at 37-0, is the only undefeated team in the 54-team Division III field. The Bantams play number eight Castleton State (20-10) on Wednesday at 1:15 p.m.

Other first-day games include fourth-seed Southern Maine (32-12) against number five Western New England (31-11) at 10 a.m. and second-seed Wheaton (32-8) against Worcester State (23-16) at 7:45 p.m.

“We’ve accomplished several of our goals already by winning the LEC regular season championship and hosting and winning the tournament. The next goal is to win the regional championship. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435