By Ray Beasley |Staff Writer|
The Coyotes clinched a CCAA tournament playoff spot on May 5 by sweeping their home doubleheader against Dominguez Hills.
Courageously battling back after being down two games in a four-game series, the Coyotes demonstrated their consistent mental resilience.
Originally, the Coyotes took the field with their eyes set on coming home as league champs resulting from a series sweep.After losing two games at the Toros home stadium, however, they found themselves in a battle just to make the playoffs.
The Coyotes refused to accept defeat as they battled valiantly through an exhausting 12-inning game. With their season on the brink of ending and their playoff hopes on the line, anything less then victory was unacceptable.
Senior shortstop Mike Newell knows all too well the difficulties that come with the pressure of a must win situation when he was faced with one of the toughest decisions in his college career.
As he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 12th inning, bases loaded, with one out, his choice was simple; either stick with the plan or go with his gut to achieve victory.
“I made a decision to do what had to get done,” said Newell. As a perfect pitch came his way, Newell saw an opportunity to drive in the game-winning run.
Newell smashed the ball to center field, giving Paul Eshleman, who was on third, the perfect amount of time to make his dash for home plate on what turned out to be a sacrifice fly.
The crowd and dugout went wild as Eshleman ran in for the win, guaranteeing a playoff spot for the Coyotes. “It was an out, but it was an extremely productive out,” said Newell jokingly.
That out was one the entire season rested on. It was a win or go home series, and the Coyotes fed off that pressure to find the strength to achieve victory.
“Not having a playoff spot gave us a reason to fight under pressure. We now know what it means to play under pressure and win,” said head coach Don Parnell.
The game forced the Coyotes to learn to make difficult decisions in the face of potential failure. Continually facing defeat and an end to their season is going to be a common occurrence in the Coyotes’ CCAA playoff tournament hopes, but having already experienced what it takes to win under pressure gives the team an edge that few others can boast about.
“As long as we can stay focused and continue to make sacrifices for the team, we are unbeatable,” said Newell. Despite their remarkable season, the Coyotes fell short in the playoffs, as they were eliminated on Fri. May 11.