NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The announcement came and 14 years of waiting was over. The Old Dominion University baseball team, gathered at University Pizza in Norfolk, saw they had just made an NCAA regional for the first time since 2000.
Cue the celebration.
With hands raised in the air and shouts that could be heard all the way back to campus, the Monarchs rejoiced at the notion of playing postseason baseball for the first time in over a decade, especially after waiting almost the entire selection show before finally hearing their name.
“We were all sweating it out a little bit,” said ODU head coach Chris Finwood, “To look at the guys when they put our name up there, just a genuinely excited, elated reaction, and they earned it.”
The team will head to the top-seeded South Carolina regional in Columbia, SC. The Monarchs meet the University of Maryland on Friday at 1:00 pm. What makes this season a little more special, and somewhat fortunate, ODU is the only other Conference USA team selected other than tournament champion Rice University.
“To be an at-large selection, that means you’re one of the 33 teams in the whole country that the committee thought had a good enough year to put you in. You didn’t just win a tournament to get an automatic bid. You had to earn it that entire season,” said Finwood.