Sunday, June 24, 2007

Beavers? You better believe it

A year ago, the little program that could catapulted itself to a national championship.

Sunday night, Oregon State did it again. Two years, two titles for a school not really on the college baseball map as little as five years ago.

It's hard to tell which title was more surprising. Was it the one where the Beavers battled back from the elimination bracket then dropped the first game of the best-of-three title series? Or was it this one -- the one where the team wasn't sure it was even NCAA Tournament-worthy until Memorial Day?

Either way, the Beavers are the first repeat College World Series champs since LSU in 1996-97. Those two programs could not be more dissimilar.

Back then, LSU rode into Omaha and opponents cringed. The power numbers. The baseball players with football-like builds. Skip Bertman. Gorilla Ball. And on and on.

Prior to 2006, Oregon State hadn't won a CWS game in half a century. There was no big home run threat. No overly impressive physical specimen. Instead, it was a team of doggedly determined bulldogs who scratched and clawed their way to the title.

Even with an almost entirely new cast of characters, coach Pat Casey and the Beavers did it again. And now it's increasingly harder not to be a Beaver Believer.


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