Anchor Down for the Championship Title
"It's unexplainable… This is something that you dream about and while we're out there we try not to think about it," Vanderbilt right fielder Rhett Wiseman said. "I mean -- I'm speechless."
Never is a long time. Depending on your perspective, it's either just slightly longer or slightly shorter than forever.
For Vanderbilt University fans and faithful, this moment has been a long time in the making. Forever in the making. Long considered to be the academic backbone of the SEC, Vanderbilt's strengths were more aligned with GPA than RBI or any other athletic statistic. A Vanderbilt men's athletic team had never won a national championship. Never. No championship teams, not in the 120+ years of Commodore athletics.
A quick rewind about 10 years ago saw the arrival of Commodore baseball coach Tim Corbin, formerly with Clemson University. In the decade to follow, there have been glimpses of hope. A David Price here, a College World Series appearance in 2011 there. No championships, but definitely hope.
Wednesday night on a grassy diamond in Omaha, history was changed.
After jumping out to an early lead in the 3rd and deciding game of the College World Series finals, the Commodores extended their lead to 2-0 in the top of the sixth off of an infield single by Vince Conde that allowed John Norwood to score from third.
Virginia wasn't about to quietly tuck their heads and fade into the Nebraska night. The Cavaliers surged back and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning after an RBI single by Daniel Pinero ended with him scoring a few plays later on a misplayed line-drive courtesy of Kenny Towns.
The score was tied 2-2 and the tensions were mounting. The table was set for something big. Who was going to claim history?
That's when John Norwood stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth to end all debate. A soaring solo-shot into the stands would bring Norwood home, and with him would come Vanderbilt's first National Championship.
As the players rushed the mound at the end of the game, the celebratory moment made the victory run complete. In every sport, from lacrosse to hockey and everything in between, a season begins with hope for everyone, and celebration for one. That celebration will last a lifetime and more. It will live beyond each and every key member of Wednesday's newly crowned championship squad. On this night, that championship celebration was Vanderbilt's.
Championships are forever.... and now never is just a tiny blur in Vanderbilt's rearview mirror.