In a highly competitive and spirited 2017 Minnesota College Athletic Conference baseball season, Riverland Community College was able to work through a range of challenges to emerge as the MCAC State Tournament Champion.
The MCAC State Baseball tournament and Region XIII competition, jointly held at the MAC in St. Cloud, recently concluded with 7 MCAC squads and one independent team competing for the right to represent the Region at the 2017 NJCAA Division III baseball national championships. In conjunction with the competition, the NJCAA has announced the the All-Region team for Region XIII baseball programs, as voted upon by the head coach of each team.
Coach Scott Koenig's Riverland squad earned a trip to the MCAC and Regional post-season by virtue of their 31-10 overall record, and more importantly, their 10-6 regular season mark in the MCAC South, good for second place behind Minnesota West and a berth to the MCAC State/NJCAA Regional tournament.
Once in St. Cloud, the Blue Devils turned it up a notch from their regular season, going 3-2, and earning a trip to the tournament championship round. There, they battled back from a 2-0 deficit to Century College to draw level at 2-2 in the 8th inning of the championship game. However, a walk-off home run by Century College in the bottom of the final stanza kept Riverland from hosting the regional championship hardware. RCC was not selected for an at-large bid to the NJCAA Division III National Championship, and thereby concluded their season.
However, in finishing as the top MCAC squad in the Regional, Riverland earns the honor of being the 2017 MCAC State Tournament Champion.
Mason Ruhlman of Riverland was named to the All-Region team, along with 13 other Minnesota College Athletic Conference compatriots. The complete 2017 All-Region team is as follows:
2017 D3 BASEBALL ALL-REGION TEAM
ANDREW BLACK RAINY RIVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE – MVP
RYAN HENNEN CENTURY COLLEGE
RICKY GARCIA ST. CLOUD TECHNICAL & COMMUNITY COLLEGE
JAKE HANSEN ANOKA-RAMSEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
ZACH WALZ CENTURY COLLEGE
HUNTER BRUSH WESTERN TECHNICAL COLLEGE
MASON RUHLMAN RIVERLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
ERIC PACHERO MN WEST COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGE
GRIFFIN SCHNEIDER CENTURY COLLEGE
LOUIS GERZIN VERMILION COMMUNITY COLLEGE
TEO RANGEL MESABI RANGE COLLEGE
CODY CARPENTER RAINY RIVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
NICK JOHNSON ITASCA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
ZACH RUSTAD CENTURY COLLEGE
MATT QUADE ST. CLOUD TECHNICAL & COMMUNITY COLLEGE
BLAKE FETTIG NORTHLAND COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGE
TYLER ANDERSON MINNESOTA STATE COMMUNITY & TECH COLLEGE
JONATHON SODERGREN ST. CLOUD TECHNICAL & COMMUNITY COLLEGE
COACH OF THE YEAR – DWIGHT KOTILA, CENTURY COLLEGE