The Can-Am College League has just one game left to play on it’s regular season schedule, leaving almost all of the playoff match ups firmly set.
In the Canada Conference, the four teams facing off for Round 1 will be:
- Assiniboine U Rivermen (32-27)
- Fraser Valley U Preservers (32-27)
- OCAD Architects (32-27)
- EITHER Collège Cardinal Richlieu Monarchistes (29-30), or Essex Technical College Bullfrogs (29-30)
The conference seeds won’t be known until the last game is played. Assiniboine plays the Southern Conferences’ Chester A Arthur Presidents (30-29), and Fraser Valley U play OCAD.
Rivermen are second in their conference in home runs, and first in walks, but haven’t converted those advantages into producing runs, where they are just 4th. They lag in every pitching category as well, leading some to wonder how they ended up in a 3-way tie for first amongst Canadian teams. Should they prevail against the Presidents, they will have secured a top 2 seeding, and removed a worse team with arguably some better talent, like catcher Jason Moultrup, the Presidents’ 22-HR slugger.
The Preservers and Architects are guaranteed a playoff spot and are simply battling to determine which team will seed in the 1-2 range, and which in the 3-4 range. FVU is blessed with a great staff, with the likes of college starting pitcher ERA leader Dan Mott (7-1, 1.30), and reliever Joel Masters (2-1, 0.84). FVU’s bullpen is the best in the conference, but OCAD’s starters have impressive resilience, with a CANAM-best 12 complete games, and conference leading 3 shutouts through the season, along with the lowest team starting ERA (3.71).
The battle for the fourth slot will be tough, with Essex Tech having the pitching edge, but with the Monarchistes having a decided offensive advantage, in runs scored (313 to 228), average (.266 to .228), stolen bases (30 to 16), and OPS (.776 to .690). Richlieu should breeze into the playoffs and leave the Bullfrogs planning for 2018.
The New England Conference also puts 4 teams into the playoff mix, and the three locks are:
- Mass Bay Law College Maulers (41-17)
- Rhode Island Military College Sentinels (34-24)
- Vermont Botanical Academy (30-29)
Battery Park U Yellow Jackets (26-33) and Tonawanda Tech Titans (26-33) will duke it out for the fourth slot. Both teams are playing against eliminated schools who are on losing skids, and neither team is particularly strong in any one area. Yellow Jackets have a slight edge as they are playing at home against Hispaniola College Conquistadors (29-30), while Tonawanda Tech are away.
In the Caribbean Six Conference, the two playoff teams will be Freeport U Rum Runners (37-21), who will without a doubt make use of ace Jim Rollin (9-3, 1.81), who’s 114 strikeouts put him #2 on the CANAM leaderboard. They will be up against Jimmy Buffet Community College Parrots (31-28), who have an equalizer on the staff in Jeremy Wright (12-1, 1.50), who is the #1 strikeout man in the CANAM, with 115. Wright might get the start against Caribbean English School’s Thunderbolts in today’s season closer, which may leave him unavailable in the best-of-one Conference Finals.
Lastly, in the Southern Conference, Utah State U Preachers await the final game of the season to find out if they will play against Grand Canyon College Spirits or the Chester A Arthur School Presidents. As highlighted earlier, the Presidents are up against Canada Conference #1 Assiniboine U, while Grand Canyon play the 26-33 Georgetown Sports College Gargoyles, who are dead last in the Caribbean Six Conference, giving the Spirits a decided advantage for that second playoff slot.
After tonight’s CANAM games are complete, we will have a better picture of how the seeds are arranged.