Greenwood Index Journal article

Southern Conference Champions - 2007

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Greenwood Index Journal article

Postby BestOfBreed on Thu May 31, 2007 11:03 am

Terrier’s tourney time
Greenwood native to play in NCAA regional
May 31, 2007

Index-Journal sports editor

Kyle Behrendt laughs about it now, but when his Wofford baseball teammates saw the prediction attributed to the Terriers in the Southern Conference Tournament program, it was anything but funny.
After a short story on each team in the tournament, a prediction was offered. For Wofford, three simple words described Wofford’s chances of winning the SoCon tourney: “Slim to none.”
“Every time we won a game, we’d say ‘Slim to none,’” Behrendt said. “A bunch of fans got T-shirts that said ‘Slim to none’ on them. That was the slogan for us. It was kind of a slap in the face.”
The Terriers slapped back, winning the SoCon tournament and earning a berth in the NCAA College World Series. Wofford will play South Carolina at 7 p.m. Friday in a regional at Sarge Frye Field in Columbia.
“I didn’t find out about it until after we beat the College of Charleston,” Behrendt said. “After we beat Charleston, everybody realized this is our tournament.”
When playing high school baseball at Greenwood High School for the American Legion Post 20 team, Behrendt probably thought his chances of playing in a regional were slim to none. But in his freshman campaign at the Spartanburg school, Behrendt has seen plenty to offer hope of a bright future.
“It’s really, really an awesome experience,” Behrendt said. “I’m going out there and playing a bunch of guys that a year ago I thought were just unbelievable. Just to get to stand on first base with (South Carolina first baseman) Justin Smoak, it just hits you. It’s like, ‘Man, I’m here. I’m playing with the best.’”
Behrendt came to Wofford a highly decorated player from GHS. As an Eagle, he played shortstop and hit .362 with two home runs, 19 RBIs and 16 stolen bases, plus posted a 2-0 record and a 1.17 ERA as a pitcher.
At Wofford, where Behrendt (6-1, 170) started at designated hitter for half the season, he batted .276 with three home runs, nine doubles and 17 RBIs.
“I love it here,” said Behrendt, who hasn’t declared a major but will likely aim for a degree in finance. “It’s a great school. It’s a lot of hard work, but I like it a lot. It’s a small school. Everybody knows you’re a baseball player. Everybody knows the athletes. Because of that, you get a lot of support from people.”
Behrendt lost his starting job midway through the season when second baseman Shane Kirkley struggled in the field and was moved to the DH spot in an effort to keep his bat in the lineup.
“I was swinging it well early in the season, and I cooled off a little bit,” Behrendt said. “The guy that we brought in at second base is doing an excellent job hitting now, too. He actually made the all-tournament team. So I was just the odd man out.”
Behrendt also estimates he’s played 10-15 innings in left field.
Wofford’s bid in college baseball’s postseason was unlikely. The Terriers enter the regional with a 30-31 record and a coach, Steve Traylor, who announced a couple weeks ago he would retire at the completion of the season.
“Everybody was just in a state of shock,” said Behrendt, when asked about Traylor’s retirement. “No one expected it. I really don’t know what to think. One of our assistant coaches could get hired or it could be someone else. But us going to the regional is a good thing. I think it’s drawing a lot of national attention. I’m really glad we made it since it’s our head coach’s first regional ever.”
For now, Behrendt said he’s just going to enjoy the moment. A year ago, he was playing Legion baseball and toiling in the afternoon sun on a daily basis. Now, instead of playing in front of just family and friends, Behrendt and his teammates will be under the watchful eyes of all who follow college baseball.
“It’s like a dream,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning and we’ll be headed to the SoCon Tournament. It’s just unbelievable.”
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Re: Greenwood Index Journal article

Postby Eyes of Old Main on Thu May 31, 2007 11:01 pm

The Terriers slapped back

They sure as heck did...
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