It’s never easy to say goodbye.
So let’s just say we will see you again, Omaha.
The Titans’ season ended Monday at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha as Florida State battled all day to take the elimination game and live to see another game.
For the Titans, the end is bittersweet, especially knowing how the team arrived at this 2017 College World Series. These Titans swept through the Regionals in Stanford and then outlasted the Big West Champs, Cal State Long Beach, in the Super Regionals, punching their ticket for their 18th appearance in the national championship.
In his post-game interview, Coach Rick Vanderhook talked about the appearances and the team’s recent record.
“I know I’m 0-4 (in the College World Series) I knew how difficult it was to get here,” Vanderhook said. “But it’s even more difficult to get here and win.”
Titan fans appreciate that out of 64 teams competing in the tournament, only eight make it. Cal State Fullerton has done that more than most.
Valarie Bullock, a CSUF alumna, said it is all about getting to Omaha.
“Our freshmen get lots of experience,” Bullock said. “Sixty-four started and only eight made it, and we were one of them.”
Alex Rivera, Titans infielder Sahid Valenzuela’s uncle, said that this is a lifetime experience for the freshman.
“He is learning to be a leader,” Rivera said. “I love the Titans and what they have taught him about being more vocal and taking control. It’s been the best thing for him.”
Relief pitcher Blake Workman’s father, Mike, said getting here was the true test.
“Going through the Regional and Super Regional is what these guys are made of,” Workman said. “The rest is icing on the cake.”
What did it mean for him to see his son on the mound at TD Ameritrade Park?
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “And to be here on Father’s Day made it just that more special.”
And for some young fans from Omaha who were rooting for the four-time national champs, the experience was personal. As the team members were boarding their charter bus to leave the stadium, several young boys begged, pleaded and were rewarded with autographs from these college ball players, some of whom will one day be Major Leaguers.
One such Little Leaguer was Hayden Myer, 10 of Omaha.
As he was getting an autograph from outfielder Scott Hurrst, he told his friends his true emotions about the loss.
“I almost cried,” Myer said. “I wanted them to win.”
The Titans will return. The odds are in the team’s favor.