After two weeks of waiting and wondering, coach Brian Kitamjura and his Whitman College baseball players know who and where they will play in their first NCAA Division III regional playoff game in school history.
The Blues will fly out Wednesday bound for Orange, Calif., where they will open a five-game regional series against Chapman University Friday morning at 11.
Game two of the series is slated for Friday afternoon, with the third game to be played Saturday at 11 a.m. If a fourth game is necessary is will be played Saturday afternoon, and if a deciding fifth game is needed it is scheduled for Sunday.
The winner of the five-game series will advance to a super regional against one of four Texas schools: Trinity, Franklin, Texas Lutheran or Concordia.
Those teams will battle it out this weekend in a four-team regional at Trinity University in San Antonio.
For Whitman, it will be a second chance against a Chapman team that defeated the Blues 8-5 when they met in a non-league game Feb. 9 in Tucson.
“We’re very excited to play Chapman again,” Kitamura said. “They are a well coached team, but at this point in the season it is always going to be a battle. We are excited for the challenge.”
Chapman is the No. 1-ranked team in the NCAA Division III West Region. The Panthers won the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s postseason tournament over the weekend with a 4-1 victory over La Verne and 5-2 win over Cal Lutheran, and they enter regionals with a nine-game winning streak and a 33-10 record overall.
Whitman, unranked in the West Region, carries a 26-18 season mark into Friday’s regional opener.
The Blues finished third in the Northwest Conference but then won the conference tournament two weeks ago to earn their first trip to the regional round of postseason play.
Whitworth, which won the NWC regular-season title before losing to Whitman in the tournament championship game, was hoping for an at-large invitation to regionals, but the Pirates were passed over.