Sinclair Community College Head Coach, Steve Dintaman, has announced the schedule for the 2016 season, which will be his 9th season at the helm of the Tartan Pride. “As always, I’m very excited about our schedule for the upcoming season,” said Dintaman. “We’ve once again scheduled some tough non-conference games, and we’ll play seven regional opponents before conference play begins. Nearly all of those games will be played at home, as we once again host some very good teams at Grady’s Field. Our goals remain the same: win the conference and win the regional. The regional champion receives an automatic berth to the World Series and that’s where we want to be.”
Last season Sinclair finished 50-11, setting a school record for wins, and also winning their 6th OCCAC Title in the past seven years. The Pride entered the regional tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country, nationally ranked for the 7th straight year. After winning their first two regional games, Sinclair lost their next game, and had to beat Owens to get into the regional final. In the end, Kellogg won 2-1, sending the Tartans home as the regional runner-up. Off the field, fourteen players moved on to four-year schools to continue their playing careers, and many of them left with degrees.
The 2016 campaign will begin down at Perfect Game at LakePoint in Georgia, the same place it started last season. This year, the Pride will play a three game set with Georgia Highlands College, who plays their home games at the facility. “This will be the third season ever for the GHC program, and Coach Marra has them well on their way to becoming a nationally recognized program. I was very impressed with their team last season, and with such a talent rich area, they will continue to get better and better.”
Once they return home from Georgia, the Pride play their next twenty-two out of twenty-four non-conference games at Grady’s Field, hosting some of the best teams in the region. Four of the seven regional teams coming to town played in last year’s regional tournament.
The Pride will start their homestand in March, with a midweek contest against Henry Ford, which is a rematch of the last year’s regional opener. That weekend the St. Clair Skippers return for the second straight year. “I’ve known Coach Tesluck for a few years now as he used to coach in our conference. He brought his team down here last season, and I’m hopeful we can make this an annual event. His club is well prepared and will once again compete to make the regional.” Following that series, the Tartans host Muskegon midweek, who has been to the regional tournament five out of the last six years.
The 2015 regional champion Kellogg Bruins (Preseason #5) make their annual trip to Grady’s Field the second weekend of March. “Kellogg is a very good program and this series always brings value to both clubs. They are the defending champions, and we know the road to Enid will always go through Battle Creek.”
The only road game of the month will take place on that next Tuesday, when Sinclair travels to Danville Area for a midweek doubleheader. That series leads us into a four-game weekend with Grand Rapids. “Grand Rapids was down a little last season after dealing with many injuries. We have a lot of respect for Coach Cupples and their program, as they have won five national championships.”
With the addition of two news teams, and the conference scheduled changing, there is now an extra week of games before OCCAC begins. The Pride will play Lansing midweek and Macomb during the weekend. The final two games before conference play begins are against Ashland and will get us ready to defend our title.
Conference play starts at home when Lakeland and finished on the road at Cuyahoga. Each team in the OCCAC plays a twenty-game schedule, playing each team four times. “With the addition of Clark State and Edison, our conference schedule had to be reduced by four games. Instead of each team playing the other at home every year it will now rotate each year.” In the middle of the conference season, Sinclair will play non-conference games midweek highlighted by home and home series with region 12 member Vincennes.
Many of our games will be broadcasted live on the Gem City Sports Network this season, and there will be three special music days at Grady’s Field. Our first ever Faculty Appreciation Day will be held at the University of Dayton on April 19th.
Following the conference season is the regional tournament which returns to Battle Creek, Michigan. This event is held in the middle of May, and the winner will head to Enid, Oklahoma for the NJCAA DII World Series.
“I’m very proud of the schedule we have put together and thankful that we get to play so many games at Grady’s Field. Our focus is always to play the best teams year in and year out, and to play the best competition in the region. This year’s team has put in a lot of work and will be ready on February 26th for the journey to the 580. Hope to see you at Grady’s Field this spring. ROLL PRIDE!”