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Pioneers host Baseball Playoff Series

Article by Mike Lundgren of the Thief River Falls Times

Late-season success has the Northland Community and Technical College baseball team the right to host a post-season home playoff series.

The Pioneers will take on Hibbing in a best -of-three M innesota College A thletic Conference Northern Division series that begins with a 2 p.m. Friday doubleheader. If needed, a third game will take place Saturday at 1 p.m.

Northland is the Northern Division No. 3 seed; Hibbing is No. 4. The winner will advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Region 13 tournament May 9-13 in St. Cloud.

The Pioneers, who started the 2012 season with a 2-19 record against a tough nonconference schedule, finished with an 8-4 showing in the Northern Division by winning three of four games on the road over the weekend.

Northland lost to Mesabi Range 9-1 to open a Saturday doubleheader, but came back to take the night cap 7-3, then swept Hibbing Sunday, 8-5 and 8-6.

The Pioneers were 11 - 25 overall heading into a scheduled regular season-ending nonconference twinbill at the University of Winnipeg Tuesday.

Northland and Hibbing will meet on the Pioneers’ diamond behind the NCTC campus in Thief River Falls.

There are seven teams in the MCAC Northern Division. Six of them earn guaranteed playoff spo ts – No . 1 Itasca, No. 2 Mesabi Range, No. 3 Northland, No. 4 Hibbing and No. 5 Vermilion.

The final position was being contested between Fond du Lac and Rainy River, with the qualifier meeting Itasca in the playoff series. Mesabi Range hosts Vermilion in the other set of games.

Winners off all three series in the Northern Division join the survivors of the four playoff match-u ps in the eight-team Southern Division at the regional level. An at large team will complete an eight-team, double elimination tournament.