21 Jun

such fruitful fun

Gotta love this comment from Mississippi State ace Konnor Pilkington: “We’re just a bunch of rednecks playing ball and having fun.” A season that started out as anything but fun for Mississippi State has become a joyride in the postseason, featuring walk-off dramatics and the now ubiquitous Rally Banana. The Bulldogs are one win away from making the College World Series’ best-of-3 finals. Winning is fun, and State, once saddled with a 19-19 record and dire expectations of an NCAA Tournament bid, has gone 20-8 since mid-April. Scoring begets winning, and State, which once had trouble with the bats, has been piling up runs during its 8-2 postseason run, averaging almost eight per game with five-double digit efforts. A 12-2 win against North Carolina on Tuesday was fueled by the Banana Man himself, Jordan Westbury, who drove in seven runs. But forget banana power for a minute: Perhaps this is just a team living up to its potential. Despite the loss of 2017 star Brent Rooker, the Bulldogs were ranked in some preseason polls. They had seven players drafted by MLB clubs this month, including Pilkington (in the third round) and top hitter Jake Mangum (also drafted in 2017). So the rednecks do have talent; they didn’t just fall off the banana truck, so to speak. Now can they keep up the fun just a little longer? Oregon State, which already has a CWS loss, awaits on Friday. The Beavers may not be fueled by any fruit — and odds are there aren’t many rednecks on their roster — but they can play ball. Collegiate Baseball ranks them No. 1 in the nation. They are 51-11-1, including an 11-6 stunner of a win against North Carolina on Wednesday. And they have infielder Nick Madrigal, the fourth overall pick in the draft. P.S. A little research indicates the rally banana has been used before. Back in May 2015, the Los Angeles Dodgers were in the throes of a scoring slump, without a run in 35 straight innings. Sitting in their dugout, Kike Hernandez picked up a banana and proclaimed it the “rally banana.” The Dodgers promptly scored and won the game. They won again the next day. Alas, the banana power ran out in game three, and the Dodgers were pounded by San Diego, a grim reminder that bananas do have a relatively short shelf life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: