Five Day's in May- Worth the read

Southern Conference Champions - 2007

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Five Day's in May- Worth the read

Postby Growler on Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:02 pm

The is an excerpt from the wofford website. Lenny Mathis & Steve Schutt.

Essay: “Five Days In May”

My voice cracked. I know it did. There was nothing I could do about it. So for what will live in the lore of Wofford College athletics I sound like a 13-year old boy. A really excited, joyous 13-year old. And you know what, so be it.

As Michael Gilmartin’s championship clinching change up reached Keith Munns glove, the eruption of joy and emotion on Saturday night in Charleston was overwhelming. What the Wofford baseball team accomplished for those five days at Joe Riley Park was witnessed by several hundred Wofford fans and in 10 years will be talked about by thousands who will only claim to have been there.

If you could have turned unbridled joy into a fossil fuel, gasoline prices in Charleston would have dropped two dollars a gallon Saturday night. If you weren’t there, or you couldn’t hear it in our voices on ESPN 1400 – those being Steve Shutt, Nick Palatiello and myself – we knew we were witnessing something special. Something magical. A week that etches this Terrier team into the history books alongside the 2003 SoCon champion football squad as the only two Southern Conference team champions to date.

I’ve never attached a personal note to a “Water Bowl” in four years, but then again I’ve also never witnessed a week like last week. One of the professional highlights of my life and to those who listened on ESPN 1400 we hope you could feel the sense of accomplishment, emotion and excitement.

This was not about crazy baseball superstitions – although I did wear khakis pants and sandals for four straight days. This was about a team – YOUR team - that played flawless baseball for five straight incredible days and won a conference championship. And now here your Terriers are, one of only 64 teams left at the starting line on the road to college baseball’s holy land – Omaha, Nebraska.

I segway into Saturday’s ESPN 1400 pre game show, written by associate athletic director for media relations Steve Shutt. Steve read this on the air prior to the championship game and it captures these special “five days in May” perfectly.
-- Lenny Mathis

“Five Days In May”

The road trip used to be a rite of passage for graduating college seniors. One final moment to enjoy the spring time of their youth before charging full speed into the realities of adulthood.

For eight Wofford baseball seniors, they have made this a road trip for the ages. Austin Redwine, Eric Sturkie, Bradford Eaves, John Brandt, Lance Player, Charles Vartanian, Jesse Cole and Steven Fusaro have made this season one for the record books. And, to make the trip more interesting, they invited along a number of underclassmen.

In fact, since all eight seniors received their degrees during commencement exercises last weekend, they have made these five days in May one that Terrier fans across the nation will remember for the rest of their lives.

For five days in May, Wofford has been sitting on top of the college baseball world.

A play-in game victory against Furman led to a 19-6 shellacking of the top seed, the College of Charleston on Wednesday. Thursday’s 12-5 win over UNC Greensboro put Wofford in the winner’s bracket final last night. The result, a 6-2 win over the Citadel and now, for the first time in school history, the Terriers are perched on the brink of a Southern Conference baseball championship.

Tonight’s opponent is the same as last night’s opponent: The Military College of South Carolina. The Citadel and Wofford College have been opponents in every sport for most of the past century. Indeed, The Citadel has frequently been a nemesis to Wofford’s athletic success.

However, The Citadel has also served as a worthy foe and has played a vital role in Wofford’s success in the Southern Conference. When the Terriers won their first team championship, the 2003 SoCon football title, Wofford clinched a share of the championship with a 42-16 win over the Bulldogs on November 1, 2003.

Fast forward four years and now, on May 26, 2007, Wofford has an opportunity to win its second team championship. The lone obstacle in the path to Wofford’s success is once again The Citadel.

How these eight seniors have turned these five days in May into such a memorable run defies all logic. Since head coach Steve Traylor announced on May 19 that he plans to retire following the 2007 season, the Wofford baseball team has become a juggernaut, an offensive machine that strikes fear into the hearts of opposing pitching staffs.

Whether these five days in May are a tribute to Traylor’s 27 years in coaching, or a convergence of mythical powers, this Wofford baseball team has made believers of everybody who has ventured here to Joe Riley Park.

Brandon Waring has become everybody’s All-American, slamming 26 home runs to tie a SoCon record. And he has only gotten hotter in tournament play. John Brandt, a deserving Academic All-American, has continued to lead this squad both on and off the field. Eric Sturkie, whose career batting average is substantially lower than his outstanding grade point average, has become the reincarnation of Joe Morgan, slamming home runs and driving in runs at an astounding rate. Freshman Mike Gilmartin continues to be the glue that holds this Terrier squad together both offensively and defensively. Outfielders Bradford Eaves and Sterling Dye have given Wofford outstanding defensive play, making numerous diving catches and throwing runners out at home on a regular basis.

The Terrier pitching staff, led by Ben Austin, Austin Redwine, Lance Player, Adam Kearney and Charles Vartanian, has taken a 7.8 regular season earned run average and become band of brothers that continually makes the proper pitch at the proper time.

Baseball is a game that revolves around pitching, hitting and defense. For five days in May, the Wofford Terriers have exceeded all expectations in every category. Tonight, they stand on the precipice of what every young child dreams of: winning a baseball championship.

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