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Warriors eye tough bracket

– The Indiana Tech baseball team’s quest for a national championship will begin in Montgomery, Ala., and that makes for a tough road.

The Warriors (31-16) face fifth-seeded Mount Vernon Nazarene (32-15) on Thursday, and the winner of that game will face top-seeded Faulkner (47-10). Faulkner is the top-ranked team in the final NAIA Coaches Poll and will be playing at home.

“If we win that first game, we come back later in the day and play the No. 1 seed, so we could be throwing our No. 2 pitcher against the No. 1 team in the country and its top pitcher,” said Warriors coach Kip McWilliams, who hadn’t yet decided who would pitch the first game.

“But we’re happy to be there and to continue on with our season. Why not have one of the toughest brackets in the country and go on to the World Series that way?”

The unranked Warriors will be the fourth seed in their bracket.

Indiana Tech is participating in the opening round for a fifth straight year, after winning the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament for the fourth time in the past five years.

Also playing in Montgomery will be second-seeded Texas Wesleyan, which is 40-16 and ranked 16th in the nation, and third-seeded Georgetown, which is 35-17 and ranked 21st.

All of the opening-round champions will join host Lewis-Clark State at the 57th NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 24 through May 31.

Late Monday night, the Warriors’ coaches were huddled at their offices going over scouting reports on the other teams in the bracket.

The Warriors believe they’ll be a tough out because of their talent.

“We’ve got three different types of pitchers, and our opponents probably don’t know who we’ll throw, and it’s nice to have that option,” McWilliams said, referring to Daniel Puckett (7-3), Aaron Lewellyn (3-3) and Josh Miller (6-2).

The Warriors’ Justin Kalusa is batting .382 with 35 RBI.