Mickey Plyler's Blog for June 21

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A Year To Remember

Like you, I am disappointed the Clemson baseball season came to and end Tuesday night. The four-hour marathon game was a lot like the season in that the Tigers fought every out of every inning. The 2006 Clemson baseball season was a great success and one that I will remember for some time.

I began looking forward to this season after the final out last year in Waco, TX at the super-regional. The pre-season polls had the Tigers about where they finished up. It was a season that saw the Tigers climb to the top spot in the polls early and the top seed in the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

The Tigers beat their archrivals USC three out of four in a sport in which that is an accomplishment. After getting swept at Virginia they went 24-3 in the nation’s toughest conference. Clemson won 23 of their last 26 games.

The Tigers sweep N.C. State, Miami, FSU and Wake Forest in the regular season. The ACC tournament saw the Tigers dominate Wake Forest then take two out of three from Georgia Tech. Sean Clark was masterful in the finals against N.C. State.

In the regionals, they looked fantastic against UNC-Asheville, Elon and Mississippi State. Who could forget a fabulous super regional that included two late Clemson comebacks? Tyler Colvin’s walk-off grand slam and Stan Widmann’s two-run single ended two of the most exciting games in school history.

Speaking of comebacks, how about eight runs in the eighth inning in the opening game of the College World Series against the Yellow Jackets? In the end, UNC‘s pitching and Cal State Fullerton’s guts were too much to handle.

There was a time in this season where I felt Clemson had the best team.
However, after watching every game of the College World Series I realize that all eight teams can play and all eight teams were hot coming into Omaha. It takes a special team and a little luck to win it all in this format. This team was special but needed a little more luck. The nation’s number-one seed has not won the national title since 1999 when Miami took home the title.

Clemson will be back. They will be back to Omaha sooner rather than later.
They will be back because of Jack Leggett. His intensity and desire will not let the program slip.

They will be back because of the players. This season saw the emergence of a complete pitching staff. Josh Cribb was a senior and Stephen Faris and Jason Berken were drafted and may not return. But this season saw the emergence of Sean Clark, P.J. Zocchi, David Kopp, Ryan Hinson and Daniel Moskos. All should be back next season making this one of the nation’s best staffs in 2007.

The Tigers will miss Herman Demmink, Tyler Colvin, Travis Storrer and Adrian Casanova. Andy D’Alessio might head to the minors also. However, Taylor Harbin, Stan Widmann, Marquez Smith, Brad Chalk and D.J. Mitchell should provide a good core heading into next season.

Leggett and his staff have a very good freshman class coming in and the future looks very bright for next season and beyond.

The Tigers will also be back because of the program. The fans will not fade. Clemson set an attendance record this season by averaging over 700 more fans per game this year than any previous season. The administration understands the importance of Clemson baseball and they will continue to support the program. Yes, rest assured, Clemson baseball will be back again and again and again.

On tomorrow’s blog I will take a closer look at the 2007 baseball Tigers. I will look at the probable weekend rotation, the probable lineup and the position battles heading into fall ball.

In summary, I loved this team. I loved the way they would battle you. I love the way they fought back to win three to USC after dropping the opening game of the four game set. I love the way they fought back to win 24 of their 27 ACC regular season games after getting swept against UVA. I love the fact that they won the ACC Atlantic Division and ACC regular season title. I loved the way they fought back to win the ACC title. I love the
2006 Regional Champs and the 2007 Super-Regional Champs. Officially the Tigers end the season tied for fifth in the nation. We will make room on the scoreboard for more titles that were celebrated this season. Tuesday evening hurt but how bad can a season be that ends in Omaha?

Please excuse the typos and grammar. Also, please visit our sponsors, Tom Winkopp Realtor and Developer, Mr. Knickerbockers, George Coleman Ford and Brad Hughes Allstate Agency. It is there patronage that keeps the blog free. If you are interested in great advertising opportunities on the blog contact me at mickeyplyler@hotmail.com.

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