Greensboro, NC (10/04/02) -In the first surprise of the 2002 Guilford College World Series, Team Black tabbed senior first baseman Luke Kempton as its opening-day starting pitcher. Never a threat for Academic All-America honors, the management team of Kempton, RJ Marks, Brad Franklin, and Gabe Staub bypassed a roster full of pitchers to name Kempton as the game-one hurler.
"I know it's stupid, but I got overruled," offered a frustrated Staub.
A disgruntled freshman, Andrew Jackson, shot back, "Well, maybe I'll get to play shortstop."
Team Cardinal on the other hand goes to the mound with one of the fall's most reliable hurlers in Mike Balash. The only question in naming Balash was passing on co-manager, Mike Goettler, who has also had a good fall season.
"I felt like Balash was a good choice and I could go in game two," said Goettler in a rare moment of selflessness. "Besides, we had more choices than just me. Ciahnan (Miller) is ready to go and Zach Morgan threw some relief last year."
On paper, this looks like a no-brainer, but Kempton has been crowing about pitching ever since he was picked up by the Guilford Diamondbacks as a side-winding, high school senior, relief pitcher in the summer of 1999. Today will be the test as game one opens the GCWS at 2:45 under Carolina Blue Skies and mid-80 degree temperatures.