America East Champions! Who would have thought it?
Only two weeks ago my team, the Stony Brook Seawolves, was struggling to reach a .500 record.
Led by the hot bat of (St. Francis Prep grad) Nick Theoharis, who hit a couple of huge homers, and Andrew Larsen, the offense stayed hot and pounded out over 20 runs in three games.
At the most crucial point in the season, no one folded under the pressure. Our pitching was spectacular, with two complete game wins, and a seven-inning, 10-strikeout performance by Kevin Fitzgerald in the series opener.
I threw the second game of the conference tournament. It was a pressure game because if we won, we only needed to win one game out of the next two. If we had lost, then we would have had to win two games in a row.
We faced the University of Maine, perennially the toughest team in our conference. I felt great warming up, and was on all night. I kept the hitters guessing, not knowing what I was going to throw.
This was my sixth complete game in a row, and under the circumstances, it couldnt have come at a better time. It was an amazing feeling to win and get us into that championship game.
In that final game Matt Restivo pitched the game of his life and four-hit the Maine Black Bears to lead us to our first ever conference championship.
I had never won a championship at any level, and the feeling of everyone jumping into a big pile-on on the mound after the last out is something you cant describe. But now its time to come back down to earth and prepare for the tough task of playing against the nation's best in the regionals.
Also I want to thank all the Stony Brook parents and supporters who drove all the way to Orono, Maine to follow the team. The support they have shown is unbelievable. I especially want to thank my parents who are as excited as I am.
We had a team luncheon at 11 a.m. Monday with a buffet and a news crew. I can definitely get used to winning and all the attention that comes with it. As my old coach Craig Everett with the Team NYCardinals once said, everyone loves a winner.
Following lunch and the live selection show on ESPN2 all I thought was, Thank God we didnt get Rice!
That was my biggest concern. I saw their top three pitchers in the Cape (Cod League) last summer and I think we would have had a major problem with them.
But we ended up drawing the No. 7 team in country, East Carolina University. This will be no easy task. Our four-team bracket consists of our team, East Carolina, Tennessee and UNC Wilmington. We fly down to ECU on Wednesday. The excitement has started to kick in and we are all ancy to get there already. So wish us the best and you will be hearing from me soon.
Hey world, here comes little Stony Brook, hopefully this year's Cinderella story.
©2004 Community News Group
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