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Ginger Poulson’s Reflection on the 21-inning thriller of the Gary Regional

The Never-ending Baseball Game

Now, as a lover of college baseball who is fortunate enough to have a job covering the sport I love…I am constantly reminded about why I love this game. One thing that constantly reinforces this love is the reality that anything can happen in a baseball game.

In the past week alone I’ve seen triple steals, crazy comebacks, and now something even more insane…a 21-inning ball game—in a regional to add even more excitement to the craziness!

For those of you who didn’t know how it ended, Kent State defeated Kentucky 7-6.

After talking to players and coaches on both sides of the outcome, it made me realize just how many emotions get thrown into a game like this.

“I told the kids in the top of the 21st before we hit “Fellas, we win this game and you’re going to tell your grandkids about it”’ Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said, “you’re going to tell your kids and your grandkids about this game…now lets win it.”

To be honest, after covering a game like that, it’s one I’m going to tell MY grandkids about.

As I said before, with this job I frequently get reminded about why I love the game of baseball…but there are few games in your life that are so incredible that they make you actually fall in love with the game all over again.

In baseball I’ve found that this love of the game begins with a moment…a moment of awe, and from that very moment a light inside of you starts burning, that one that keeps you in your seat until the very last pitch is thrown because you don’t want to miss anything.

Last night I had that moment again.

I felt like I did back when I went to my first baseball game as a kid: my mind was blown, my heart was in it and I was hooked.

“I know that’s not the longest game in NCAA history, because Texas and Boston College played a 25-inning game a few years ago,” said Stricklin, “but that has to go down as the best baseball game in college baseball history, just with the twists and the turns, the ups and the downs.”

678 pitches thrown, 154 at-bats, 6 hours and 37 minutes of baseball, 21 innings…

Wow.

Since the game wasn’t televised, I’ve been getting a lot of questions as to what all this craziness is that everyone who was there keeps talking about aside from the actual length of the game.

Coach Stricklin highlighted that craziness quite well.

“The game-tying hit in the ninth actually hit second base and ricocheted into the outfield…they had a guy miss first base. Just the crazy things that happened in that game…you just can’t explain them.”

You know when people tell you “you just had to be there” and it just makes you roll your eyes? Well I’m truly sorry to do that to you, but it was a “you just had to be there” kind of game…and since it wasn’t televised, it made it even more of that type of game.

One thing that I learned that I can tell all of you who weren’t there is this:

Games like this happen when you least expect them. Never would I have thought that the most incredible game that I have covered would take place in Gary, Indiana. That being said, get to the ballpark as much as you can. Few things in life have the ability to make you feel like a little kid…but sports are one of those things, especially baseball. It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of something that special though…a feeling that I hope you all get to experience multiple times. Let your love of the game grow…because nothing is better than falling in love with the game all over again.

 

*If you want to know just how the 21 innings played out, follow me on twitter at @gingerpoulson and check out my tweets from the game!