How cool would it be if Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin joined Cumberland University baseball coach Woody Hunt as national champions of their respective alphabet organizations?
Cooler than cool.
Corbin’s Commodores reached the best two-of-three championship series Saturday night after they ousted Texas, 4-3, in a 10-inning thriller where the tension was thicker than Omaha’s finest Porterhouse.
Hunt wrapped up his NAIA national championship last month when the Bulldogs turned away all opponents on their way to being the last team standing.
Corbin’s team is NCAA. Hunt’s team is NAIA.
Corbin was making his second NCAA College World Series after 12 seasons at the SEC school.
Woody has probably lost count of how many times his teams have been in the hunt for the NAIA championship. Woody has fungo bats older than Corbin.
But baseball is baseball. At any level, it is difficult to get as far as these two men have taken their teams this season.
Woody’s team jumped on top of a Lebanon fire truck and paraded around town as their fans welcomed them home
Should this Cardiac Commodore team dispose of Virginia with two wins this week, it would be the first men’s national championship in Vanderbilt history. And it is a history whose baseball tradition was spotty B.C. – Before Corbin.
Heaven only knows how they would celebrate if they should win the College World Series. Perhaps a black and gold confetti parade from campus to lower Broadway would be in order.
It would bring long-suffering Vanderbilt sports fans out of the shadows they have found solace in for years. They wouldn’t have to hang their heads any more. They wouldn’t be teased like they have been in other sports that have been in the chase, but always come up short of the ultimate goal – a national championship.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I have seen 34 years of Vanderbilt teams collapse before breaking the finish line tape.
Woody Hunt and Corbin don’t have to be convinced of how fickle the sport they love can be.
The Vandy team that was shut out 4-0 in the first game against Texas is the very same team that 24 hours later, won an unforgettable 4-3 marathon10-inning game against a program playing for its seventh national championship in 35 attempts.
You think it’s not difficult to win it all in college baseball, you are wrong. Dead wrong.
One wrong move. One bad hop. One pitch that hangs up in the zone. That’s all it takes to turn your dream into a nightmare. Some would say you need some luck. Others espouse that luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
After the Commodores celebrated on the field after securing a place in the final series, Corbin sat down alone with his thoughts in their dugout.
“It’s the best feeling in the world," he said in the press conference. “It’s the parent just watching your kids open the Christmas gifts. You don’t hustle under the tree and start opening yours with them. I don’t want to be in that mess. I just want to watch it."
Corbin realized Virginia would be a tough out. But he was not going to minimize what this team did against Texas.
“The tournament keeps on moving," Corbin said. “But you gotta celebrate moments like this.
“If you just walk away from them, you’re not taking in what the whole tournament is all about."
Contact Wilson Post Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.