After getting off to a slow start to the season, the Concord Mountain Lions (26-24, 15-15) played the role of Cinderella when they won the WVIAC Championship on Sunday afternoon in Beckley. Concord began the season on a five game losing streak and slowly worked its way out of the WVIAC gutter and into the tournament.
The Mountain Lions have won nine of their last ten games on their way to winning the program’s third WVIAC Tournament. First year head coach Andrew Wright says when it came down to end of the season, his players just got tired of losing.
“I think enough was enough and we just started to make our guys accountable for literally everything in the program and that really made a change in our guys and we saw it when they came out and they started to play much better,” said Wright.
A lot of that has to go back to the leadership on the team,” continued Wright. “We’ve got some guys who care enough to get in there and get on some people when it needs to happen and it worked out for us.”
Concord scored a total of 45 runs In the WVIAC Tournament, knocking off top-seeded Seton Hill (33-13, 26-3) in the first round and defeating the legendary Cal Bailey and his West Virginia State Yellow Jackets (25-18, 21-9) 13-7 in the championship game.
“It’s pretty special,” said Wright. “Chances looked pretty bleak there for a while, but our guys made an adjustment and started playing baseball at the right time to do it, and it’s a pretty special feeling.”
With the win, the Mountain Lions advance to the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament. They will head to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the Atlantic Regional and will be matched up against top-seeded Millersville. Even though the road doesn’t get any easier for Wright and the Mountain Lions, they still have a chance to accomplish their goal.
“From the first meeting of the year our goal is to get to Cary, North Carolina,” said Wright. “As crazy as it sounds in my first year and with such a young team, that was something we didn’t waver from. Our goal is to make it to make it to a National Championship and win a National Championship and it means a lot to know the work we put in and all of talks we had and all of the extra work we put in is paying off.”