Hundreds of people lined the streets of Lebanon and congregated around Woody Hunt Stadium for a parade celebrating Cumberland’s third NAIA baseball championship Monday.
The Bulldogs boarded two Lebanon Fire Department ladder trucks for the ride up South Tarver Avenue, down West Main Street, around the Square and back to campus.
Leading the way was Lebanon police motorcycle officer Steve Green, Cumberland’s only three-time baseball All-American.
After returning to campus, fans packed the Woody Hunt Stadium grandstand as school and other local dignitaries stood at home plate of Ernest L. Stockton Field paying tribute to Hall of Fame coach Woody Hunt and his Bulldogs.
A hot dog cookout followed as fans all but overflowed the area around, and even inside, the clubhouse. Players and coaches were busy signing posters for fans.
“It was amazing the number of people here for the cookout,” Hunt said, guessing there may have been as many as 600 people on hand. “The stands were just about full… They were all over the place.
“It was an amazing turnout. The players were amazed. It was as big a turnout as we’ve had.”
The first parade, 10 years ago, was marred, if not spoiled, by a downpour. Perfect weather greeted the 2010 parade. This was the first time a formal celebration was held at the stadium.
“It was as big a turnout as we’ve had,” said Hunt, whose Bulldogs were the lowest seed in the NAIA World Series and the first No. 10 seed to win the championship, finishing with a 49-20 record. “I think how this team did it is what the fans appreciated. They were down and kept getting back up after a loss. It wasn’t easy for this team.
“The grit. We had to overcome injuries. We had to change our lineup after injuries. We got stronger as we kept building this thing.”