Brian Brewer was very concerned when Heidelberg University staged a ninth-inning rally in Saturday's Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament final at Don Schaly Stadium.
But the Marietta College head baseball coach was also confident that his nationally top-ranked Pioneers would weather the storm.
"You're nervous all day on a day like today," Brewer said. "You know, you're playing for a championship.
"We tell our guys the same thing. You don't really run away from that. You welcome it and use it for extra attention, extra focus, extra energy, whatever you've got to do."
After getting the first two outs in the inning, MC senior closer Kyle Lindquist hit a batter and then gave up back-to-back doubles. Heidelberg, which trailed 4-1 going into the frame, now trailed by only a run and had the potential equalizer standing at second and the go-ahead run at home plate.
Not to worry.
Settling down, Lindquist got the Heidelberg batter to ground out to shortstop Tim Saunders for the final out of the championship game.
"I think our guys did a really good job, especially Kyle," Brewer said. "At the end, he gives up a couple of knocks and still maintains his composure, focus and getting that last out for us."
With the 4-3 victory, Marietta (37-6) repeated and earned its 29th OAC Championship title, plus an automatic NCAA regional bid. Starting Wednesday, the Pioneers will be hosting the Mideast Regional, and at stake will be a berth in the World Series in Grand Chute, Wis.
"We're going to enjoy it for a little bit," said Brewer of the OAC championship.
A little bit?
"We'll think about this one for about a day, the rest of the day," Saunders said. "Tomorrow (Sunday) morning when I wake up, we'll probably be back out on the field getting ready for the regional."
Brewer agreed and added, "Sometimes we kind of don't appreciate these things for what they're worth. And, we're certainly going to do that for a couple of hours - and then we'll get back on track, and our energy and focus will all turn to the regional tournament and preparing for that with running, throwing and whatever we've got to do."
"We're really, really proud of these guys, and they deserve to enjoy it (OAC crown) a little bit," he said. "And then we'll go back to work tomorrow."
You see, Marietta now has bigger things on its mind, like a Mideast Regional crown and a trip to the Dairyland State.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org