WORCESTER (CBS) – Holy Cross Baseball is headed to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1978.
After four previous trips to the championship round, the Crusaders finally accomplished what they wanted: their first ever Patriot League title since they entered the league 26 years ago.
“I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to react. It was just all the emotion inside just came out and it was one of the best feelings in the world,” said Holy Cross pitcher George Capen.
“It’s all about the fellas. I’m so excited for the guys, I really am,” said coach Greg DiCenzo. “They’ve worked extremely hard, they’re tenacious, they’re resilient. It’s just a great group of guys and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
With the Patriot League title came a bonus: the Crusaders first trip to the NCAA tournament since 1978.
“It’s really incredible, like you said, it’s been a long, long time and the ‘saders are back,” said first baseman Anthony Critelli.
Meanwhile, no matter what happens out west, the 13 seniors on this team were able to make history.
“We all live within a block of each other off campus and this is what we’ve been working for for four years,” said outfielder Bill Schlich. “I remember the first day of practice out here and we were sitting in the outfield dreaming about this moment.”
What are the rewards for making the NCAA tournament? Well, how about a tough bracket for the 23-27 Crusaders. They’ll head out west and open up a four team regional bracket against Oregon State, the top ranked team in the country at 49-4 on Friday.
“I mean, you know, why not? Why not play the number one team in the country? They’re obviously a great ball club and we’ll see what we can do,” said infielder Josh Hassell.
“No one is expecting us to win so we get to go out there and play free and easy and hopefully shock the world,” Capen said.
Yale and Nebraska are also in the bracket along with Oregon State.