As I look back on the past year, the national championship really put a stamp on our program. The 2010 club was a special team and they were fun to watch. The success of that team can be traced to what other teams have done previously.
The other teams developed the tradition of Cumberland baseball, a tradition almost second to none. This tradition is valued and I use that to motivate our team each year. Tradition is something that is passed along and it is not to be broken.
Our championship this year can be credited to the 2004 club, a team that finally got the elusive “Pot of Gold” that other teams worked so hard to find. That squad gave our program a hunger to do it again.
My heart goes out to the 2006 team, which missed a championship by merely one pitch. Those players still hurt from the sting of losing in the championship game. That sting, no doubt, gave the 2010 team more incentive. In fact, we dedicated this championship to that great team.
Looking at the history of our program, I strongly believe that other teams could have won the national championship. The 1995 squad came so close to finding that first “Pot of Gold”. The 1993 club was a great team that deserved a championship. The 1996, 1997 and 1998 teams were outstanding and could have won as well.
There is a fine line between winning a championship and coming up a little short. The 1988 squad was the first team to make the World Series and laid the foundation of what it takes to get to that level.
I vividly remember our first conference championship team in 1986. That team won in its first year of eligibility as a four-year program. I think about the 1984 and 1985 clubs that played without an opportunity to go to a postseason tournament. They were both good teams but the transition from a two-year school to a four-year institution would not allow us to participate.
I think about all of the conference, district, Area 5 and regional championship teams that were good enough to win a national championship. Also, the junior college years were great in the development of our program. Coach Englett’s 1980 team was ranked No. 1 in the country and was instrumental in getting our program going in the right direction.
This has been a reflective summer, as I have thought about the teams of the past. Without question, the success of past teams led us to achieve another championship. I believe the accomplishments of the 2010 team will lead us to our third national championship. My heartfelt thanks to every player who has participated in our program. Every player in the history of our program owns a piece of our national championships. Thanks again and help me get No. 3.