Saturday, April 21, 2007

Through Baseball, Virgina Tech Feels Normalcy [J. Mark English]

Years ago, I lost someone very close to me through suicide. The biggest challenge of recovering from a loss like that is getting back into normal routines. That spring I tried out for my school's baseball team. The process of playing baseball and attending practice every day had a cathartic feel. It helped bring a sense of normalcy that I desperately needed.

Last night Virginia Tech took its first step towards that path. Its baseball team played its first game since the terrible tragedy on Monday. Here with the recap is Hokie Sports:

An English Field record 3,132 fans turned out on Friday night to witness the first Virginia Tech athletic event in Blacksburg since Monday's tragic events, and they nearly saw the Hokies pull off the improbable before falling 11-9 to the Miami Hurricanes in Atlantic Coast Conference baseball action.

Down 10-5 in the eighth inning, Tech mounted a furious comeback that was cut just short by an incredible catch at the wall that robbed Tech shortstop Warren Schaeffer of a game-tying home run.

The Hokies (17-21, 4-15 ACC) came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth down 11-8, and came within inches of tying it up. Centerfielder Nate Parks (Roanoke, Va.) hit a one-out single before stealing second, and moved to third on first baseman Sean O'Brien's ground out. Third baseman Bryan Thomas (Wilmington, N.C.) stroked a single to left to plate Parks, bringing shortstop Warren Schaeffer (Vandergrift, Pa.) to the plate. The senior launched what looked to be a sure home run to deep left field, but Miami left fielder Nick Freitas leapt at the wall to pull the ball back into the park and end the game.

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