I wrote a commentary a month or so ago that you can find here that talks about the importance of hitting percentage. In summary, hitting percentage is the only statistic that the last 7 NCAA Division III champions all have in common (i.e., all finished in the top 10 in this category). None of these teams finished with a hitting percentage lower than 0.253.
I took a look at the four West Regions today with an eye towards hitting percentage to see how the current leaders were faring in that category. Do the best teams in our conferences also lead their conference in hitting percentage? The short answer is “yes”.
In the ASC, the three best teams are UMHB (7th nationally in hitting percentage), UTT and UTD and those are your leaders. In the NWC we see Pacific, Whitworth and Pac Lutheran leading the category and those are your three best teams. In the SCAC we see Trinity, Colorado College and Southwestern dominating in the category. In the SCIAC we have CMS, Chapman, La Verne, Cal Lutheran and Whittier. Maybe it all seems obvious…you have to put the ball down to win…but you always hear defense wins championships and that’s not the case here.
If I couple the hitting percentage category rankings with the conference reviews I just did, it gives a little more insight into possible conference winners. In the ASC, UMHB would be the easy choice. In the NWC, you have a red flag as Pac Lutheran would be the obvious choice but Pacific and Whitworth are better in hitting. If Pac Lutheran can’t hold on then this might be the cause. In the SCAC, it’s a crapshoot as the teams are ranked between 18 and 27 nationally in hitting. The SCIAC surprised me as although CMS leads, they are only ranked 45 nationally (although their high SOS might have something to do with that). Still, it appears CMS is the choice in the SCIAC.
And, like I did in my other post, here are the ONLY teams that can win the championship this year based on confirmed historical FACTS:
|1||Johnson & Wales (RI) (Great Northeast)||0.339|
|2||Baldwin Wallace (Ohio AC)||0.284|
|3||Northwestern-St. Paul (UMAC)||0.280|
|4||Calvin (Michigan Intercol.)||0.272|
|5||Johns Hopkins (Centennial)||0.270|
|7||Mary Hardin-Baylor (American Southwest)||0.261|
|8||Carnegie Mellon (UAA)||0.260|
|9||Cornell College (Midwest Conference)||0.257|
|10 Tie||King’s (PA) (MAC Freedom)||0.255|
|10 Tie||Middlebury (NESCAC)||0.255|