Wingate baseball set to make history as they look for their 2nd straight National Championship
WINGATE, N.C. (WBTV) - After winning the program’s first baseball National Championship in 2021, it’s hard to top that first, but this year’s Wingate team has done that as they will host the program’s first ever regional game on Thursday.
“I think it’s huge,” said Wingate head coach Jeff Gregory who has spent 21 years at Wingate and the last 12 as head coach. “To be in a place that has never hosted a regional game, it’s something we talked about at the beginning of the year. It’s something we wanted to try to accomplish and something we wanted to try and add to the legacy of this program.”
And good luck to the 3 other teams at this double elimination regional as the Bulldogs are 26-1 this season at Ron Christopher Stadium. They have the most victories in Division 2 heading into the tournament with 46 so a tall task for Young Harris, Columbus State, or Belmont Abbey to come out this regional.
Wingate did all of that while having that huge target of being the defending National Champions on their back.
“We know everyone is coming after us and that’s different for us,” said Wingate pitcher Brody McCullough. “We haven’t had to deal with that in the past, but that’s one of the great things about this year, we are that number one team. Everybody wants to come get our best shot and that’s what we are giving them. We are going to give them our best baseball right back. There’s pressure, but that’s what we like-- no pressure, no diamonds.”
If there is pressure, it’s not showing-- even after losing their last game of the season a couple of weeks ago in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament Championship. See, in the World Series last year, the Bulldogs lost the first game before winning it all so this team is definitely ready for the challenge ahead.
“It’s just experience,” said coach Gregory. “It’s situations they have been in. There’s not a whole lot of things that people can throw at them that they haven’t been in already. It’s about staying where your feet are and that’s where we talk about focus. You can’t get to tomorrow if you don’t take care of what you do right now.”
So it’s one day and one game at a time for these Bulldogs who are trying to become the first team to repeat as National Champs since Tampa did it in 2006 & 2007.
Wingate will host Young Harris on Thursday at 3 P.M. as they begin their quest to make more history.
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