“Two outs, bottom of the ninth with bases loaded and the pressure is on,” is a well-known phrase for kids playing in their backyards dreaming up the perfect scenario for a game-winning hit.
Do we really understand what goes on in the life of a baseball player and the road that’s travelled to that all so familiar scenario?
There are many college baseball players who are attempting to figure out how to accomplish the goal of getting to, and then winning, the College World Series, including UVU’s players. As the College World Series plays out this week in Omaha, Neb., we take a look at what it is like to be a player with the dream of Omaha on their mind.
The road to Omaha is a long one that many are happy to travel.
“It means everything and watching it on TV, it looks awesome,” said Jace Brinkerhoff, former UVU baseball player.
Players sacrifice job opportunities, social lives and endure long road trips to chase their dreams at Omaha.
Teams start in the fall with practices full of long, early morning conditioning and days of honing their skills on the field to be ready for the season to start. Players set their sights on goals they’ve set as a team and prepare over the winter both mentally and physically for opening day in February.
The season arrives and it’s full of surprises: long bus trips, hotels and the hope of a dream finish in Omaha. There aren’t many teams that can boast that they have been to the College World Series. There are over 300 Division I baseball teams in the country and 64 make it to postseason play, while only eight make it to Omaha.
For a team to make it to postseason play, it takes winning a conference tournament championship, key victories and a little luck. This past year the Wolverines won the Great West Conference tournament and over 40 games. They still didn’t make it to a regional.
At the end of a very successful season for the Wolverines, there was still some disappointment.
“We need to not lose to the little guys and beat more of the better caliber teams,” said UVU pitcher Brian Whatcott.
The pressure is definitely there every game of the season; one loss and your postseason chances go down the drain. These stressful situations are part of the reason many players are drawn to the diamond.
“I love the excitement of getting out of a jam when the team needs it most,” said UVU reliever Craig Brimhall.
Their dream remains alive for next year as the UVU baseball players watch others live out their dreams this week in Omaha.