- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Dawgs earn third World Series trip
May 24, 2006 12:00 am
May 19, 2006 — Going to the NAIA World Series never gets old for Cumberland, newcomers and veterans alike.
The Bulldogs qualified for their third straight Series on Thursday with a 16-7 win over Tennessee Wesleyan to complete a 2-0 NAIA Super Regional sweep at Woody Hunt Stadium.
"It never gets old," said Cumberland coach Woody Hunt, whose Bulldogs are making their ninth trip to the Series since 1988. "Every year, everybody doubts us, and we just put together a string in April, and we did it again this year. We played some awfully good baseball since April, and I'm real proud of the team."
Cumberland won the Series in 2004 and returned most of the everyday lineup for a repeat trip to Lewiston, Idaho, last year.
Only second baseman Derek DePew and outfielder Caleb Barrett returned to the positions they played last year while others who played reserve roles in the past and newcomers came together to pull off a 47-16 record.
"That's the thing we're very proud of, we put together almost a new team," Hunt said. "We did have (shortstop) Victor (Alvarez) back after not playing last year. And to have Derek back and Caleb back, of course, they were key people in our championship back in 2004. That adds some stability to us with some guys who had been there before.
"But we put together basically a brand-new team here. We're just so proud of what we've done. They've meshed together and turned into a good ballclub."
DePew, a fifth-year senior from Mt. Juliet, has anchored the infield at second base for three years. He paired with Alvarez in '04. When Alvarez was ineligible last year, Vladimir Munoz took over at short with Alvarez returning this season. He's not tired of traveling to the Great Northwest, either.
"I'll go out there every year if I want to," said DePew, who fell ill on the grueling trip and spent the first few days in a Lewiston hospital before returning to the field later in the Series as the Bulldogs finished fourth. "This year is going to be kind of like a redemption thing. Last year, I didn't get to play much.
"Having just a few guys back from the World Series teams of the past, it was big for all of us to jell together. We're trying to find our own personality. Once we did that and our pitching staff came around, we have a lot of talented bats, so whenever all things came together, we just clicked."
Catcher Nolan McCue came to Cumberland last year from a junior college as a part-time outfielder. He thrived behind the plate this year and was named All-TranSouth Conference.
"It's been a long road," said McCue, who had four hits Thursday. "Once you have a taste of Lewiston, Idaho, in the World Series, nothing short of amazing, you want to get back there. We put in a lot of hard work. We've been through a little adversity. No one really knows what we've been through – some injuries and some other things – but it's been worth it. We're just real excited right now to get back there."
The 10-team double-elimination, weeklong World Series begins next Friday and will run one week through June 2 on the campus of Lewis-Clark State College.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.