Washburn baseball reaches first-ever NCAA Tournament
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Washburn’s baseball team is going dancing for the first time in program history.
The ‘Bods (33-20) finished in 2nd place in the MIAA Tournament, helping them get the 7-seed in Central Region #2.
Head Coach Harley Douglas is happy for the program and the university for what they’ve done and accomplished this year.
He said, “We’ve got where we wanted to be. These guys put so much time and effort into what they’re trying to do. It’s just been a bittersweet moment for them to get to our first NCAA bid and get going where we need to be. Now we’ve got to go out and get our first win, we know we’ve got a tall task ahead of us with Southern Arkansas but we’re excited.”
Following the NCAA announcement on the screen in Washburn’s Booster Room, the team erupted in claps and hugs. The team had officially made it to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.
“I’m not trying to get emotional here or anything but I played here. Our team tried to get in a regional and we were 5th and my first two years here we were 34-wins and 33-wins and never got a chance to get in,” said Douglas. “We were always 9th or 10th and so to get these guys finally to that point where we’re back where we wanted to be -- it’s just a great feeling to know that we’re doing things right here at this university and we have the support that from the community and the university.”
Senior Brett Ingram said, “I’ve been here for 5 years, been through the trenches here, and I love this place more than anything. It means so much that we can bring this team to the first-ever regional games. It’s really special.”
The Bods fell to UCM in the first championship game off a walk-off home run in the 10th inning, showing the team can battle against the best when it matters most.
Ingram said, “I think our best was Thursday when we played UCM that first game. I think they won the war of nutrition kind of Saturday when they eventually beat us, but I’ll take anybody, anywhere right now in the country. I love this team.”
#7 Washburn will play at #2 Southern Arkansas (41-11) on Thursday, May 19 at 3 p.m.
Douglas said the team was so close to the MIAA ring and the motivation to prove they belong is evident. He said they need to control what they can control by keeping themselves close in games. He’s confident with their offensive power and pitching when they need it at the end of games, but they need to make sure to limit errors, physical and mental, in the middle innings.
“If we can do that, we can play with anybody,” he said.
Baseball now joins a list of Washburn teams to make it to the NCAA Tournament in their respective sports. Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, and Tennis all have shown the nation they can make it to the biggest stage. Now baseball too.
“We knew, the pressure’s on you as a coach, if you’re competitive and you want to do that, you see the bar that they set and you know you have to go get it,” said Douglas. “I think that’s what we’ve all fed off of is the university is so excited about getting us to where we want to get to and being on the national scene that people know.”
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