This weekend, State welcomed back the baseball team that literally captured the attention of the nation this summer. For the first time since parting campus, members of the State baseball team returned to get their rings and be cheered by tens of thousands at Carter-Finley.
It got me all in the feels.
Everyday, minute by minute, for a two month stretch, we all followed this team and the possibilities of endless success. Climbing all the way back from the basement of the ACC, to be considered THEE team to beat. The fury at regionals in Louisiana. The dramatic insanity in Arkansas. All the very highs and very lows of Omaha. Seeing the team at Carter-Finley and the roar of the crowd caused an endless wave of goosebumps.
Couldn’t have asked for a better ovation at CFS on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/RL7jlzJFVB
— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) November 22, 2021
The wait was long, but the team finally got their rings. With a massive exit by players drafted, the gorgeous November night was the best opportunity to gather everyone back. As only Avent would have it, the slobbering wolf made it’s presence known.
I’m just going to say it…the ring is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on…
Diamonds on diamonds, with slobbering wolf front and center. Block ‘S’ and name on one side, College World Series logo on other. Hidden on the bottom and inside, “America’s Team” and Pack 13. Just awesome.
A ring fit for America’s Team. pic.twitter.com/ERlRY55jD3
— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) November 20, 2021
Familiar Faces Return
When the team returned home to Raleigh this summer, greeted by thousands of Wolfpack faithful, it was an amazing site to behold. Can only imagine the team’s mental and physical exhaustion. Yet to feel the energy and love, was a memorable moment for all involved.
However, the following weeks were nothing short of awkward and frustrating.
Lack of answers and atrocious communication by State and NCAA officials. In what felt like a team that could return just about everyone and make a run at Omaha again, it was understandable when many players chose the MLB route. The respect shown by WPN can only go so far, and the time had come to clean the slate.
All that to say, seeing smiles, laughs and hugs amongst teammates that truly feel as though they’re life-long brothers was a treat. It seemed that, for at least a fleeting moment, there was normalcy and celebrations to be had.
The Future is Bright
This team built something special, even if the end results were less than ideal. The State program has never been in a better place, from scouting to motivation in taking the next steps. The run has solidified Avent as one of State’s most beloved characters. National attention has hopefully been the tipping point for getting much needed facilities upgrades.
We’ll never have that same kind of experience ever again. The string of defining moment after defining moment. It’ll all make for a compelling documentary someday.
I just hope this all leads to the crowning moment, when State wins it all.
Until then, thank you to this baseball squad. Enjoy your spotlight, you absolutely deserve it.