"It's a great day for a ball game; let's play two!"
Long ago, former Chicago Cub and Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks was quoted as saying that.
That was also the Marietta College baseball team's goal Saturday when it played Heidelberg University in an NCAA Division III Mideast Regional championship finals game at Don Schaly Stadium.
The Student Princes of course only wanted to play one and did, coming from behind to beat the Pioneers, 6-2. The Berg will now advance to and compete in this week's D-III World Series in Grand Chute, Wisc., for the first time ever.
Thing is, it started out so promising for the 'Etta Express when leadoff hitter Britt Meador slugged a home run off Berg starting righty Nathan James, who was beaten by MC, 11-8, on April 17 at Don Schaly Stadium.
Then, Casey Levens doubled home John Snyder, who had reached base on a Student Prince fielding error, to make it 2-0.
After a visit to the mound by Heidelberg skipper Matt Palm, James settled down, striking out Braden Park and getting Kirby Becker to sky out to right.
No one of course knew it at the time but Marietta would not get on the scoreboard for the rest of the game as James pitched five scoreless frames after the first, and reliever Andy Lowe would shut down the Pioneers in the last three.
Meanwhile, Heidelberg got back into the game and when it took the lead in the fifth, it never looked back.
"They're solid one through nine," said MC senior catcher Dan Jones. "I mean, they come to play against us. They have a real solid team - a good mixture of righties and lefties. And, they can all do something with the baseball to hurt you.
"I think our pitchers did the best that they could. But they're (Heidelberg) real disciplined hitters. They're tough outs."
Offensively, Marietta threatened again in the second inning when after Chris Beatty walked, he moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Jones. Bearing down, though, James retired the next three MC batters.
Interestingly, James never retired the Pioneer side in order before being relieved in the seventh inning.
"He (James) did a good job," Jones said. "He pitched well. He didn't have anything special, though.
"Yeah, we came out hot (first inning) and with a lot of energy. But you have to look at all the games we played (in the tournament) and all the energy we exerted. It doesn't matter how much conditioning we do. You definitely have to play with a little more than just your physical ability. You have to play with your heart definitely. And, that's what we did."
In the eighth inning, Marietta gave Heidelberg pause when Beatty with two on hit a long flyball to center field which Berg center fielder Andrew Buelow tracked down.
If that Beatty shot had been pulled left or had gone to right field instead, the Pioneers would have reduced the deficit to one.
But of course it didn't clear the fence, and that for all intents and purposes was the game.
"I think we should have done a better job offensively," said MC skipper Brian Brewer. "But you can't place blame on something, because these kids have given us everything."
Oh, but one more game on Saturday would've made matters so interesting.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org