Kyle Lindquist was as calm as could be as he toed the rubber in the sixth inning of Sunday's NCAA Mideast Regional Baseball Tournament Championship game at Don Schaly Stadium.
But the Marietta College senior closer's dad, Eric, was anything but standing behind the home plate backstop screen. In fact, the elder Lindquist was a nervous wreck.
"Usually, when I pitch, he tends to walk around or leave," said the younger Lindquist after the Pioneers defeated Manchester (Ind.) College, 7-3, to claim the regional crown and earn a berth in the World Series, which is scheduled to start Friday in Grande Chute, Wis.
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
Eric Lindquist, father of Marietta College senior baseball pitcher Kyle Lindquist, nervously watches Mideast Regional Tournament baseball action at Don Scaly Stadium.
"He doesn't like to watch it," the MC pitcher continued, "but I've dealt with it all my life."
With two outs, one Manchester baserunner on, and Marietta up 3-2, Lindquist relieved starter Brian Gasser. The 5-foot-10 right-hander, who pitched and beat Adrian College, 11-4, in a rare starting assignment on Friday, was working on one day of rest.
"Coach (Brian) Brewer and I discussed the potential of throwing some yesterday (Saturday), so (Sunday) it was 100 percent, and I think everyone on our team was ready to go," Lindquist said.
Still, one day of rest is...well, it's not a whole lot of rest for a pitcher's throwing arm.
"Kyle's a great competitor, and he's going to tell you he's good to go no matter what in any situation," Gasser said. "That's the kind of kid he is.
"He also went through a lot of treatments and stuff to be ready. He's just a great kid to have on your team."
Pacing behind the protective screen, Eric Lindquist was a very concerned dad, however.
"Kyle threw 145 pitches in eight innings against Adrian," he said, shaking his head. "And I still can't get out of my mind what happened when he faced Heidelberg."
Against Heidelberg University in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament final at Don Schaly Stadium the previous week, the younger Lindquist, who hadn't allowed a run all season, gave up two to the Student Princes - but the Pioneers still prevailed, 4-3, to clinch an automatic berth in the Mideast Regional.
Lindquist was credited with a save against Heidelberg.
After warming up, Lindquist retired the first Manchester batter he faced on a flyout to left to end the inning.
In the seventh, Lindquist got the first two Spartans out, but the third was safe on a fielding error. He got the next hitter on a fly to right.
Lindquist served up a solo home run to Jordan Nieman in the eighth, and all of a sudden, Marietta was clinging to a 4-3 lead. He also gave up a two-single but got out of the inning without any further damage.
"I usually don't get a whole lot of nerves," Lindquist said. "I just try to talk to myself out there and get my mind right.
"Anytime it's a close game, that's the time to bear down and really focus."
Meanwhile, Marietta plated three runs in the top of the ninth to give Lindquist a four-run cushion - and that had to be a boost for the pitcher's confidence.
In the bottom of the ninth, Lindquist gave up a one-out single, but then retired the next two Manchester batters to seal a 7-3 victory, and....well, Marietta was now World Series-bound to Wisconsin.
Eric Lindquist, of course, was elated, and hugging everyone around him.
"He probably wants me to succeed even more than I do," Kyle Lindquist said. "I appreciate that."
"I wish he had a little more faith," he continued, "but he's like any parent I guess who wants their child to be successful."
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org