Cover photo from The Wolfpacker
As soon as news broke that the team would be arriving back in Raleigh Saturday night, the word spread like wild fire. Hundreds upon hundreds of fans, athletes, friends and family took to the streets and then moved inside Doak Field to give a standing ovation to this amazing team.
After what’s been a heartbreaking 36 hours for us, you’ve helped put some of the pieces back together.
— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) June 27, 2021
What followed was an emotional, loud (with both boos and cheers) half hour, where Avent and a handful of players made it known they loved WPN. Avent began the evening for thanking everyone for their support and saying something he said he wouldn’t ever do, call a team “the best.”
“You know I love NC State…and you know I love all our teams. I hate to use the word ‘best’, but I don’t think we’ve had a group of players that showed so much heart and character and fought through so many things. To not only bring so much joy to all the Wolfpack fans, but they captured the heart of the whole nation.”
"They captured the heart of the whole nation"
— Kacy Hintz (@KacyHintz) June 27, 2021
On a more somber note, Avent described having to wake players up at just past midnight, to get them downstairs for a team meeting. In the meeting, it was announced their season was over. What followed was emotion and tears and a decision to walk back to the ballpark in Omaha, for a team photo that they had yet to do. Unreal.
Avent closed out the gathering, letting the crowd know three things that will never be forgotten;
- The class and the dignity of which these men handled that situation.
- Tonight, coming back on this bus and this memory will be etched in our minds forever…the appreciation, respect and the passion of the great Wolfpack Nation.
- The 2021 Wolfpack team that won the National Championship
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 27, 2021
Murr, Highfill, Tatum and others also came forward to show their love. Highfill, bashful as always, got a loud “Vandy’s Daddy” chant.
"Vandy's daddy" chants break out for Sam Highfill pic.twitter.com/C0LqNpYxI7
— Bridget Condon (@BridgetCondon_) June 27, 2021
In short…this is amazing. If there was more time allotted, can guarantee another 500 folks would have been there. If you’re a player on the current team, you’ll remember this forever and it will reignite that fire of why you’re at State and the work still left. If you’re a prospect or commit, the fever pitch of WPN is a sign that this program has the chance to do big things.
Now build a new ballpark.