It was one of those everlasting moments; the kind that flashes in an instance before living in your memory forever.
Smiles that were even bigger than the situation beamed and water spewed out of bottled to rain down on a dog pile that took acrobatic flips to get to the top of. Against the backdrop of a sky so perfect it was as if God himself reached down and granted it as a special gift to the victors, the Florida Gators baseball team celebrated a hard earned and well deserved win that just so happened to send them to the College World Series.
Outfielder Harrison Bader made his way through the jubilation to find head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. Before even reaching him, Bader reached out to give Sully what was in his hand. It was the ball, which Bader had caught to notch the last out of the game.
When asked if he considered holding onto the ball himself, Bader laughingly denied it before Sully stopped him with a “don’t lie.”
But it’s in better hands according to Bader.
“He puts so much into this team and everything and how much he’s helped every one. And you know I think that the ball had some sentimental value to an extent so I thought he deserved having the ball so I wanted to give it to the person who deserved it the most.”
No one had any hope of containing centerfielder Buddy Reed.
From his flips into the infield to his continued declaration that they were “going to Omaha!!”, there was no hope to hold him down, not that any one wanted to. He even took a lap out to the maintenance staff whom were watching from the edge of right field, to shake their hand.
These were just small snippets though, of a celebration that produced spontaneous parties all over the infield of Perry Field.
But at the end of the evening, there was one gathering, one crowd as all players gathered around their coach for a private conversation, bringing their excitement together for one last moment before preparations start for the CWS, and hopefully an even bigger celebration.