Four months ago, the Drury baseball team stepped onto the diamond for the first time in more than three decades.
Monday afternoon, those same Panthers returned to
Tony Lewis/Drury Senior: "Not a chance, no way that could happen."
The Panthers were fielding their first team since the 1970's, made up almost entirely of kids who had never played a single college game.
Dane Hughes/Drury Freshman: "We had nothing to lose. Everybody counted us out; we were supposed to be the team everyone beat up on."
Ricky Meinhold/Drury Junior: "Everywhere we went, everybody's like these guys are filled with freshman, how can they be this good?"
But they were that good. Despite being picked dead last in the
Lewis: "Couldn't have happened any better, everything happened in the right place for us. Just an historic year, our first year, and the freshman grew up this year."
Their first opponent in last weekend's Regionals was top-seed, and sixth-ranked
Mark Stratton/Drury Head Coach: "If Joe has that play 900 times, he makes it about 899; it's just one of those things that happens."
Drury then bounced back and knocked out
But errors again cost the Panthers, as seven unearned runs scored in one inning, and the Panthers season ended with an 11-3 loss.
Two difficult losses, but games that tough the Panthers say they could play with anyone.
Lewis: "We were thinking other teams were going to be the big boys, but when we went up there it seemed like we were the big boys."
Meinhold: "To get three wins from the CWS, that's something that blew my mind. You got to smile and work for it next year."
Speaking of next year, this team is losing just two seniors, so they should continue to be a force in the GLVS. But no matter what happens in 2008, it'll be hard to match the script that written in this, the Panthers inaugural season.
Stratton: "I mean, can you make that up? I don't know."