Fans from Louisiana, Omaha and all over the country come to see the LSU Tigers in the College World Series. One from from the North Shore had even bigger plans to come watch LSU while playing in their own tournament. Unfortunately, no one told that to Mother Nature.
Some nasty weather not only canceled the College World Series opening ceremony, but it severely damaged the facilities of the Omaha Champions Village that was set to host a tournament of 12 year-old travel teams. One of them was the North Shore Patriots.
“My heart sunk when we found out the news about the tornado that came through and hit the facility where the boys were planning on playing and staying for a week around the College World Series,” says team mom Stacey Dauzat. “They’ve been raising money. They raised 100 percent of the funds to come here.”
The tournament is a once in a lifetime experience because it’s only offered to 12 year-old teams.
“For about a year and a half, they’d been planning to come to this tournament and to spend a week here to experience the College World Series,” says Dauzat. “But also, it’s their World Series. They were pretty excited about this.”
The Patriots were certainly disappointed, but the consolation prize came shortly after they got the bad news on Saturday. The Patriots, family and friends had seats in right field. That’s correct. It was the same area that produced the infamous beach ball that helped spark a Tiger comeback. This group spanning from Pearl River to Mandeville will go down in history.
“The kids were hitting the beach balls up in the air,” says team dad Michael Anderson. “It was falling onto the field. I was trying to hit it back to the kids. Low and behold, it went on the field.”
And you know how the rest went down.
“The kids started yelling at Wells, ‘Get the ball,’” says Anderson. “He threw it back up, then comes up and has a terrible error.”
But it’s only terrible if you’re a Florida State fan. For Tiger fans everywhere, it becomes another game-changing moment that no one will forget anytime soon.
“It really made me feel good that they had such a great experience from something that could have been a really big disappointment,” says Dauzat.
To make the experience even better, the Patriots were surprised with their tournament rings from the Omaha Champions Village at LSU’s Sunday afternoon practice.
The team says they’ll return home on Monday, and while it wasn’t the trip they expected, it’s certainly one they’ll remember forever.
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