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Next Stop: Omaha!

June 13, 2011

The Cal baseball team was dominant in the Santa Clara super regional this weekend, besting a dangerous Dallas Baptist squad in two straight games, 7-0 and 6-2. Both nights were sold out as Bear fans rallied around the newly restored and suddenly ascendant squad. You’ll recall that this was supposed to be the last season for the Cal baseball team.(In fact, California magazine has been blogging about the baseball team under that heading, ‘The Last Season‘ since before Opening Day.) Back in September, cuts to the athletics budget had put the team on the chopping block. But thanks to more than $9 million in donations, Cal Baseball was saved.

Now, for the first time since 1992, the Bears will make the trip to Omaha for the College World Series. Cal won the inaugural College World Series back in 1947 and again in 1957. Could this team bring home another title? As the sixth-ranked team in the Pac-10 and the only team in the conference to make it to the final eight, they’re definite underdogs. But then they have been from the start–and not just on the diamond, either.

After last night’s game in Santa Clara, Coach David Esquer recalled the day his team got news of the program’s elimination. “I gave them the option. I said, ‘If you need a day or two to collect yourself, talk to your parents or come to our office to talk to [the coaches], I’m okay with it.’ They said, `We’re practicing today.’… I remember as a coaching staff we looked at each other and said, `We have a special team here.'”

Indeed they do.

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