The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet 
Wabash College junior catcher P.J. Tyson (batting) ranks second on the team in batting average (.391).
The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet
Wabash College junior catcher P.J. Tyson (batting) ranks second on the team in batting average (.391).
David Seibel remains intrigued by the North Coast Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament's new format.

No more three-game series against the same opponent. Now, with a three-day double-elimination tournament, it's more of a free-for-all.

That makes you have to stay on top of your game even more. And that's the kind of intensity Wabash College's junior third baseman wants.

"I like playing back-to-back days and different teams. There are teams on the other side of the conference, you hear nothing but good stuff about them. It's a thrill," said Seibel, who's playing in the tournament for the second-straight year. "We know the teams we play in the West. I'm excited to play the teams we don't usually play. We just know about them. It's a thrill for us."

With the NCAC Tournament going to a double-elimination format and being played at a neutral site this year, Wabash hopes it can earn its first conference title.

West Division winner Denison (11-5 NCAC West) takes on East Division runner-up Allegheny (12-4 NCAC East) in today's 4 p.m. opening tournament game at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.

West Division runner-up Wabash (9-7 NCAC West) meets East Division winner Wooster (13-3 NCAC East) at 8 p.m. today.

Today's two winners meet at noon Friday, while the two losers meet at 4 p.m. Friday. The championship is set for Saturday.

Wabash College head coach Cory Stevens actually wrote the proposal to change the NCAC Tournament format. He's the North Coast Athletic Conference's baseball chairman and he, along with many other coaches, thought the new format would improve the tournament.

All teams will be at one location on a neutral-site field and get to play other teams on the opposite side of the conference.

Games will be played on an all-turf field and the stadium has lights and can handle inclement weather. It also shortens the tournament, reducing it to three days rather than spread out over two weekends.

Plus, Stevens said it avoids commencement and finals for nine of the 10 conference schools.

"Teams like Wabash, who don't have a long history, could benefit," he said.

Stevens has his starting pitchers set for Wabash's first two games. Sophomore Andrew Swart (4-4, 4.91 E.R.A.) will throw in game one, while senior Keegan Leckrone (3-3, 9.07 E.R.A.) will throw in game two. But those are the only two he knows will pitch so far.

Swart, a 2008 Crawfordsville High School graduate, pitched against Wooster last year as a freshman, throwing the final 1 2/3 innings of the team's 6-4 game three semifinal loss.

He gave up four earned runs on four hits, struck out one batter and walked another, as he took the defeat.

But this year, Swart is headed into the postseason with much more confidence - as are the Little Giants.

Swart has heated up over the past six weeks, going 3-1 during that span. He shut out conference rival Wittenberg this past Saturday for the second time this season.

Swart scattered five hits, struck out five batters and walked three in a 3-0 win to put Wabash into the postseason tournament.

His hot finish has boosted Wabash's players.

With Swart on the mound, Seibel thinks the Little Giants have a great chance.

"Andrew is pitching. He's going to do great. He hasn't pitched bad all year," Seibel said. "Andrew came in and pitched when we lost [against Wooster last year]. I know if he comes in in the same situation this year, he can get out of it. He's a different pitcher now. Andrew is the man this year."