Cal goes from near-extinction to College World Series

The Cal Bears' baseball team goes from their program almost getting cut due to budget cuts to the College World Series.
June 14, 2011 10:13:27 PM PDT
From near-extinction to the College World Series, the Cal Bears are playing for the national championship. That is the story of the Cal baseball team, slated to be wiped out last fall? now very much alive. Cal will play top-seed Virginia in their College World Series opener on Sunday and with these Bears, clearly anything is possible.

"This story is great. We actually joked about it at the start that if we make it this far maybe they'll make a movie out of it," said Cal sophomore pitcher Justin Jones.

If it does become a movie, how about a title like: "Cal's cardiac kids." The come from behind 9-8 win over Baylor eight days ago propelled Cal to the super regionals this past weekend. There, they handled Dallas Baptist with ease to advance to the College World Series in Omaha.

"After we won that game, I had a dream that we didn't make it and I woke up and I was sweating and stuff. It scared me and then I woke up and realized that wait, we're going to Omaha," said Jones.

It was just over two months ago that the Cal baseball team found out the program had been saved from budget cuts, thanks to outside donations.

"We've got to hit the recruiting trail and try to get the players that's going to be necessary to compete in the new PAC-12 and that's going to be a task in itself, but we're looking forward to it. We'd rather have that hard job than the job of not being here next year," said Cal baseball coach David Esquer on March 8.

From that day forward, a weight was lifted off the entire program's shoulders.

"It definitely helped us a lot, it brought us closer as a team and you could see it on the field that we play a lot looser because we're a lot closer with each other and we just have a great time out there," said Cal senior outfielder Austin Booker.

"I've talked a couple reporters out of Omaha and they're already predicting the same thing, that we may be the fans' pick because of what we've gone through this year and we'll take that because that's a little extra enthusiasm at the park for you," said Esquer.


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