May 24, 2013

By Mason Nesbitt, TMC Sports Information Intern

LEWISTON, IDAHO—Thursday night’s welcome banquet really put things in perspective. There are teams at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series from Fla., Ala., Texas, Mo., Kan., Neb., Okla., Tenn., Idaho and of course Calif. We’re competing with nine other teams for the NATIONAL championship.

Friday it was Texas.

But you can’t beat a team from the Lone Star State on an empty stomach and we were again treated to a lovely breakfast that included delicious-looking poppy seed cakes.

Is it a myth that poppy seeds can cause you to fail a drug test? Probably.

Did I risk it on the day of our first World Series game? Absolutely not.

While I didn’t go for the cake, this team is teaching me something about risk.

My risk tolerance is very low; I’m generally a nervous person. I play not to lose, but this team plays to win. And I hope they’re starting to rub off on me.

Today for instance, our centerfielder Caleb Halverson could’ve just made sure he kept a bloop fly ball in front of him in the second inning. But with a runner on second base, he dove and made a full-extension catch to save the run.

That mindset—playing to win—comes from a confidence on this team that isn’t deterred by circumstance.

We fell behind in the first inning, didn’t matter; we came back and won 4-3. The umpire was stingy on the outside corner with our ace A.J. Work, didn’t matter; he allowed one run in eight innings.

James Scott had only five at-bats prior to the last two games, didn’t matter; he hit a three-run home run to send us to the World Series and had another huge RBI today.

Nothing fazes these guys; not even being on the huge stage that is the World Series. A number of guys told me they felt like it was just another game. Even I felt that way. Then the potential tying run got on base for Northwood in the ninth, and the old me came right back, nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.

Fortunately, pitcher Andrew Klausmeier didn’t share my disposition and got the next batter to line out to end the game.

The win was a lot like our game against Tabor in the first game of the NAIA opening round tournament; Work threw a gem and we held on at the end. And what an important win it was today. While it’s possible, it’s hard to imagine winning the tournament after losing the first game because of how the bracket is set up.

The win means we don’t play until Monday, a loss would’ve meant an elimination game Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

The win also guarantees we’ll be here until at least Tuesday, and with the food we’ve been eating, there’s no complaining about that.

I suppose we also want to win.