Monday, June 25, 2007
Oregon State returns to hero's welcome
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- A fan hoisted a sign that said it all:
The Oregon State Beavers returned home on Monday after winning
their second straight national championship at the College World
Series. They were greeted by some six thousand fans who gathered on
the Corvallis campus.
"How sweet it is," said catcher Mitch Canham. "How sweet it
The Beavers swept North Carolina for the second straight year to
win their second straight title. They are became the first team
since 1996-97 to repeat.
Oregon State (49-18) was so dominant, the team trailed only one
of 45 innings at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.
Canham had told his teammates that they couldn't have a dogpile
until after winning the national championship. The Beavers got
their celebration after beating North Carolina 9-3 on Sunday
"It was special. When we got through the regional, and then the
super regional, Mitch kept saying, 'Let's save it,'" shortstop
Darwin Barney said. "So when we finally did it, we were
celebrating the whole thing."
Things didn't look as positive for the Beavers late this season,
when they had lost seven of nine games and were looking at the
possibility that they wouldn't get selected for the tournament.
But the Beavers closed out the on the road by winning two of
three against UCLA.
"Something special happened," Barney said. "We had our backs
against the wall and something special happened."
The Beavers finished the season with 10 straight wins, after
sneaking into the 64-team NCAA tournament with a sixth place finish
in the Pacific-10 Conference. Oregon State became the first team to
win four CWS games by six runs or more.
It was almost easier than a year ago, when Oregon State lost its
CWS opener 11-1 to Miami. The Beavers staved off elimination four
straight times to make it to the finals against North Carolina.
They came back from a loss in Game 1 to win the title.
It was sunny and warm in Corvallis on Monday, when the Beavers
arrived for the rally outside the football stadium. Freshman
pitcher Jorge Reyes, named the Most Valuable Player in Omaha,
carried the trophy.
"It feels pretty good right now," coach Pat Casey told the
Barney and Canham, the only two position players that returned
from last year's championship team, were both drafted and are
expected to forego their senior years. The crowd nevertheless
implored them by chanting" "One more year!"
The rematch from last year was the first since 1972-73, when
Southern California beat Arizona State twice in a row during a
string of championships from 1970-74.
Oregon State is first back-to-back champion since LSU in 1996-97
and the fifth overall. Texas (1949-50) and Stanford (1987-88) also
won consecutive titles.