Monday, June 26, 2006

Oregon State Wins National Baseball Championship!

Joyous congratulations to the OSU Beaver baseball team, which completed an amazing season of heart and grit by defeating the UNC Tar Heels in Game 3 of the College World Series Final, 3-2 (2-1). Going 6-0 in elimination games, the Beavers pulled off one of the more amazing feats in college sports: winning the CWS from the loser's bracket.

In a perfect example of the mental and physical tenacity that spread throughout the OSU dugout during the postseason, "closer" Kevin Gunderson came in with one out and two on in the UNC 9th--having pitched a career high 5 2/3 innings on 78 pitches the night before--and went groundount/flyout to save the game and the title.

If there's one small regret in their triumph, it's that it came as a gift in the form of a muffed throw by the Tar Heels second baseman, allowing the winning run to score in the Beaver half of the 8th. I feel for the kid who surely feels like he cost his team a title, and UNC played extremely well throughout the tournament and would have deserved the victory.

But for all the stress and pressure they had to endure to get there, you gotta give the Beavers the benefit of something breaking their way. They did the job when it needed to be done, and there's no reason the Beavers couldn't have won without benefit of the error. So best to the Heels, but major congratulations to the boys from Corvallis. If you want to see them and congratulate them in person, you can mass up at Pioneer Square Portland at noon, 3pm at Parker Plaza in Corvallis. There was good support for the Lady Pilots when they won the soccer championship, but I bet the city's living room will be packed to the gills to welcome the rounders home.

Way to go, guys. Way to go.

Update, 1AM--
As you might expect, the Gazette Times has some of the best reporting on the reaction and the story behind the truly inspiring Beavers run. OSU sports may have changed forever. Two good pieces by Cliff Kirkpatrick: adescription of the heart and determination of the entire team and coaching staff; and one with a more game-score approach.