Virginia is for lovers of baseball. College baseball.
Virginia doesn’t have a professional team of any kind in any sport to speak of. Yet we do have the University of Thomas Jefferson. And the University of Virginia Men’s Baseball team just won it all. And they won when one would wonder why and how. Why not last year? Why not the year before? And how in the world did they manage to win the College World Series with this team and with these freshman and without last year’s juggernaut of stars and standouts?
They weren’t even ranked. They barely made the postseason. And they weren’t supposed to be any good this year. After all, last year the Virginia Cavaliers were ranked No. 1 and were the favorites to win in all. This year they weren’t supposed to win at all. Last year they fell to Vanderbilt in the College World Series. This year they beat Vanderbilt in the College World Series (CWS). Because this year their time has come.
Six weeks ago, it looked as though Virginia might not even qualify for its conference tournament, let alone the NCAA Tournament. That was then. This is now.
And just look at the Cavaliers now.
They’re national champions for the first time in baseball after finishing a magnificent postseason run with a 4-2 victory over Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.
“This team was a crazy ride this year,” said Coach Brian O’Connor, who was born in Omaha. “Certainly, we had a lot that went against us through the year, but this team found a way and got into the NCAA Tournament. It’s an amazing example of what you can do if you put your mind to it, play for each other and have each other’s backs.
“Not many people thought this could happen. I couldn’t have forecast it. But we’re darn glad we’re sitting up here with this trophy.” Freshman Pavin Smith homered and drove in three runs and Brandon Waddell turned in another strong College World Series pitching performance.
The Cavaliers (44-24) prevailed in the CWS finals rematch against the defending champion Commodores and won the Atlantic Coast Conference’s first title in baseball since Wake Forest in 1955. “We were just a team that never gives up,” Smith said. “We’re really resilient. And it showed in the first inning when we were down 2-0 and didn’t stop playing.” Wow.
I’ve NEVER watched the CWS. Never. But this year, a buddy at work told me that the Cavaliers had made it into the College World Series, excuse me, the CWS, and I said, “OK.” So for the rest of you that never even heard of the CWS, much less watched it, I watched for you. I watched as Virginia came back from being down two runs and went on to win 4-2. With a FRESHMAN leading way! A FRESHMAN! I love it.
So, here’s more juice for your jug and fuel for your fire. If the Virginia Men’s Baseball team can come out of nowhere after years of futility and sterility and bareness and barrenness and athletic poverty and paucity and win it all, you (and I) can too.
Because our time has come. So until it manifests, let’s join Job and say,
“All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Job 14:14, KJV