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Highlanders prepare for JuCo World Series

Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 11:41 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - In less than a week, the McLennan baseball team will begin its World Series run.

MCC is one of just 10 teams that made the final tournament, and the players feel like they are good enough to win the whole thing.

In fact, for many of the players, the opportunity to play in the World Series was a main reason they chose MCC in the first place.

Freshman pitcher Logan Henderson told me, “When I came on my visit with Coach Thompson, that was one of the big topics he talked about, making it to Grand Junction. I think that’s the goal that is set when you step foot on campus here. And it isn’t just to make it there, it’s to win the whole thing.”

MCC has a history of making postseason runs, and banners around the Ballpark make sure the players stay focused on the end goal.

“We got these signs with the World Series appearances that make us think about it every day. That has been the idea since day one,” says third-year outfielder Garrett Martin.

The Highlanders were the national runners-up in 2015 and made the World Series in 2017, so the coaching staff knows how special a trip to Grand Junction is.

For the staff, it never gets old watching the players experience it for the first time.

Head Coach Mitch Thompson smiles and explains, “It is fun to open them up to new things and see their lights go on, and go, ‘wow, this is incredible.’ And it will probably be that way when we get in the ballpark and start competing.”

The JuCo World Series is a magical experience featuring the best teams in the country, but once the first pitch is thrown it turns into just another baseball game.

Henderson explains, “It’s about how we play, not how they play. We are playing our best baseball right now. We don’t really think about who is on the other side of the field. We have a game plan, but it is mostly about how we play baseball.”

The Highlanders have won 18 games in a row leading up to the World Series, and as proud as Coach Thompson is about the wins, he is just as happy about the successes off the diamond.

Coach Thompson proudly says, “This group had a 3.6 GPA in the fall, as a team, and a 3.44 this spring. Here we are, competing for a National Championship, and they have taken care of their business of the field too. They have been a joy to coach, and it has been a joy to watch them grow.”

MCC was named as the #4 seed for the World Series tournament.

MCC will face the #7 seed Florence-Darlington Tech Stingers at 10 AM Saturday.

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