For Repeat's sake, they did it!
The Brian Brewer-coached Marietta College Pioneers won a program first second straight D3 national baseball championship by defeating Wheaton (Ma.) College, 7-2, in the World Series title game at Fox Cities Stadium in Grande Chute, Wis., Wednesday. Unbelievable.
Unbelievable, because the Etta Express earned the crown the hard way - coming out of the losers bracket by knocking off Webster, Wheaton, St. Thomas, respectively, and then Wheaton again.
Plainly, there were consequences whenever MC got beat in a 2012 postseason tournament game - the Pioneers just never lost again.
Same thing happened in the Mideast Regional at Don Schaly Stadium. After MC fell to St. John Fisher, it rallied and defeated Washington & Jefferson, Adrian, St. John Fisher and then Manchester twice.
Back to the World Series, there were so many turning points, but one of the ones that stood out the most was the game against the Webster (Mo.) Gorloks.
Marietta had already lost to St. Thomas on Sunday, so a setback to Webster, and it would be sent packing back to Washington County.
The Pioneers enjoyed an early 2-0 advantage, but then came the top of the fourth inning. That's when the Gorloks reared its St. Bernard head.
When the dust finally settled in that frame, Webster had batted around and plated seven runs.
Seven runs! Unheard of. Thing is, it could've been even worse as the Gorloks had the bases loaded before they were retired.
Can you imagine if Webster had added more runs to the count?
Anyways, Webster led 7-2, and had Marietta staggering to use a boxing term.
Now, for a lot of schools, a five-run disadvantage would be difficult to overcome. But not for Marietta.
MC knew it was still early in the contest, and a lot of baseball remained to be played. The Pioneers didn't need to get all those runs back at once, but almost did - and then some.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Marietta answered with a six-run explosion itself to regain the lead, 8-7. After that inning, MC never looked back, and Webster went quietly, going scoreless the rest of the way.
The Webster head coach even said after the game that his Gorloks had gotten punched back in the nose in that inning. Actually, it was more of a knockout to the chin.
Next, Marietta won a tough, extra-inning game against Wheaton, and then got a great pitching performance from Mike Mahaffey in a payback triumph against St. Thomas.
But those games never would have been played if the Pioneers hadn't erased a five-run deficit against the Gorloks.
No question about it, the best D3 baseball team in America won, and actually repeated - for repeat's sake.
And, finally, I know that a lot of sports fans from this area watch ESPN Sports Center, and the commentators love to talk about LeBron, Tebow, etc., etc. ad nauseum. It's also boring, boring, boring.
For a change of pace, ESPN Sports Center really should schedule an interview with Brewer and a couple of the Pioneer players (Tim Saunders and Austin Blaski come to mind.)
If anything, it would be a sign of respect for one of the best dang college baseball programs, regardless of division, in the country.
Would ESPN ever do this? Probably not.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org