Cullen’s Column: Tradition propels baseball into DI

California Baptist University’s transition to Division I competition signaled a time of growing pains for the Lancer teams. At least that is what most people expected, but it did not quite go that way.

In the fall season, both CBU women’s soccer and volleyball teams finished fourth in the Western Athletic Conference standings, and the Lancers’ women’s cross country team took home the WAC title. It was not the clean fall conference sweep of the PacWest days, but it was an impressive start. 

With the spring seasons picking up, there is no reason to suspect Lancer baseball will be any different. CBU’s long history of success on the diamond seems to prove that despite the new competition, the Lancers will be just fine. 

Lancer fans should keep in mind the last time CBU athletics was in a transitional period, baseball won two national titles. 

Back when Lancers were making the jump from the NCAA Division III up to Division II, the CBU baseball team took home two National Christian College Athletic Association championship wins during the transition.

CBU has made postseason appearances in 13 of the last 14 seasons and has not missed the playoffs since 2009. While competing at the NAIA level, the Lancers appeared in two NAIA World Series. 

When CBU made the move to DII, the baseball team did not miss a beat, making the DII postseason in its first year of eligibility and never looking back. The Lancers went a perfect five-for-five on postseason appearances in DII and twice reached the West Region Finals. 

If the step up in competition did not affect the program last time, why should it now?

The Lancers received a nod of respect from the rest of their new opponents when they were picked to finish fifth in the WAC Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll, with Grand Canyon University favored to with the conference this season.

Returning a solid core that includes Luke Navigato, Andrew Bash, John Glenn and a host of other names CBU fans have gotten to know, the Lancers are primed to exceed expectations as they once again step foot into new territory.

After sweeping Northern Illinois University to open up the Division I era, CBU baseball showed the world that competing with Division I foes right away is no problem.

About Cullen Holt

Asst. Sports Editor

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