What I'd tell the players now, if I were the coach . . .

And THANK GOONESS for all involved that I’m not. DVH and company know 100 times more about baseball, these kids, and their mindset than I ever will. I know that.

But in this moment, driving home from watching the loss with some friends, I was thinking about what I’d do to turn them around mentally from “oh no . . . here we go again” to being ready to compete and win tomorrow. I came up with this:
"Guys, that was a kick to the gut. No other way to put it. We all know what happened; we had victory in our hands and frittered it away.

First off, I want to apologize to the team on behalf of the coaches. I’m sorry that, when we missed that foul ball, and then they knocked the game-tying run in, we didn’t take a moment to settle all of you down and get you focused on keeping your heads in the game. We were still tied, and our failure to do that - I believe - led to the HR that pushed the game over to them. We won’t let that happen again.

But here is something I’d like you to ponder over as you rest tonight and prepare for tomorrow. All of us have suffered similar gut-wrenching losses before. It might have been a championship game in AAU ball; or, a football or basketball game you played in against your HS rivals that you lost at the last second. Maybe you lost a State Championship game.

For me, it was XXX (whatever DVH remembers as his most crushing loss as a player). That game has stayed with me all of these years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought “if I had just done this, or that, we’d have won the game”. What I wouldn’t give to have a “do-over” and get to fix that wrong.

But I can’t. It’s over and done.

You guys, however, DO get that chance. Sure, you lost a very tough game tonight. it stings. In your minds, you’re probably going over your at bat with the bases loaded; or with men on first and second with one out. Or, that pop up that we didn’t catch, etc. No, you can’t replay that game and change the results. But you DO have an opportunity to play tomorrow, win the game, and take ALL of the sting out of tonight’s game.

ALL of it.

When you look back at it 10, 20, 30 years from now, the only thing you’ll remember is that you were College World Series Champions. The fact that you lost a game along the way won’t matter one bit.

That’s what you need to be thinking about between now and tomorrow’s game. You’ve got the do-over that I will never get for my loss. Take advantage of it; embrace it. Put this one behind you - tomorrow’s another day, another game, and a Championship just waiting for us to grab it."[/color]

Sounds good to me.

Somehow, some way, he’s got to get his mind off of what could have been to what can be.

Sounds easy - but it’s easier said than done. This is the ultimate test of our senior leadership on the team. DVH can only do so much; it’s the guys between the white lines that will either put this behind them and embrace their “do over” . . . or not.

The relief pitcher just did not have his fastball last night. He went 2 nights in a row. You could see that Oregon State was on his fastball. That first guy hit 2 out foul. He wasn’t blowing the ball by them in the 9th. 91 MPH with little movement and no other pitch is not a recipe for success. He was on fumes when we misplayed the foul ball to close the World Series. I am not surprised the guy hit the 2 run homer. You could feel it coming.

I’m sure he’ll say something along those lines. The key is whether the players can take it to heart. They’ve been here before. They lost the second game of the super to USC. Then came back to win. Not much different about this. Oh we might be short in the BP, but one has to think OSU is, too. We still have a chance. As devastating as last night is, we can still make it meaningless. Or we can make it something that will haunt all of us. Tonight’s the night.

Tonight may be 18-16…not a lot of pitching left for either team…If we can get 5 innings out of Campbell, I think we win.

I’ll feel safe with Campbell going 5 as long as we have a 15-2 lead going to the bullpen. lol! We’ve been demoralized; there’s no reason we can’t demoralize them for a change.

I thought about the S. Carolina series, but the BIG difference in that and our current situation is HOW we lost game #2. South Carlolina was a “normal” loss - we fell behind and couldn’t catch back up. but we were behind for much if not all of that game, IiRC. Obviously, the game last night was lost in Stoernover/53 Veer pass (to Peschel) manner, so it is a LOT different. The big question - can the players put it behind them? If they can, I think we have a very good chance.

Oh you’re absolutely right about that. My daughter & I watched it together at my house. She said right after the game that if we had to lose, she wished it had been something of a blowout because it’d be easier for the team to put that behind them. I agreed then & agree now. However, the biggest thing the Regional loss & last night’s loss have in common is that if we win tonight, last night’s loss is meaningless. With the Stoernover & the 53 Veer pass, there was no chance for redemption. They defined the season. So this team must put last night behind them.