Panthers learn their destination

Published 11:44 pm Monday, May 14, 2018


Daily News

The LaGrange College Panthers are headed to North Carolina.

LaGrange College, which won the USA South tournament championship last month, will be in Holly Springs, N.C. for an NCAA Division III regional that gets started on Thursday.

The Panthers (28-16) are one of 58 teams participating in one of the regionals across the country, and the eight winners will advance to the Division III World Series in Wisconsin on May 25.

Joining LaGrange College in the North Carolina regional are Randolph Macon, The College of New Jersey, Alvernia, Denison and Christopher Newport.

LaGrange College, the number six seed, will play top-seeded Randolph Macon at 11 a.m. on Thursday in the opening round.

The double-elimination regional continues Friday and concludes on Saturday when a winner will be crowned.

This will be the Panthers’ third trip to an NCAA regional.

LaGrange College first made it to an NCAA regional in 2010 when it won the Great South Athletic Conference championship under previous coach Kevin Howard.

LaGrange College opened with a win in the NCAA regional before losing its next two games.

The Panthers also reached an NCAA regional last season after they won the USA South tournament.

LaGrange College opened with two wins in the regional before losing its next two games to finish with an incredible 40-6 record.

The Panthers lost nearly every key player from last season’s team due to graduation, but they’ve still found a way to return to the NCAA tournament for a second straight year.

LaGrange College was the number six seed in the USA South tournament, but it went 4-0 to make it back-to-back titles.

LaGrange College beat North Carolina-Wesleyan 12-7 in the championship game.

The tournament was played at LaGrange College.

“We knew last year we had a group that could flat win,” LaGrange College head coach David Kelton said. “With this group here, we knew we were talented enough to do it, but we had a lot of pieces we had to put together to make this thing work.”

Once everything came together, the Panthers were unstoppable, and they’ve won 21 of their past 27 games.

Unlike last season, Kelton can look forward to having most of the players back next year.

“It’s a lot of young guys, a lot of freshmen, a lot of core guys that are going to be here for a while,” Kelton said.