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Its takes great determination and dedication to battle for a championship in collegiate baseball. Add some inspiration and you will be guaranteed the “W” in the bracket. Tennessee Wesleyan University became a two-time baseball national champion with a 6-2 win over St. Thomas in the final game of the 2019 Avista NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
As they had throughout the season, the Bulldogs drew inspiration from 8-year-old Neyland Picke of Athens. He threw the ceremonial first pitch before the championship game. Neyland is attempting to beat cancer for a third time, the 8-year-old second grader at City Park Elementary is the star player of the team. “We played for each other. We played for everybody in the stands. We played for our coaching staff. Most importantly, we played for Neyland,” Junior Outfielder Bryce Giles said in a release on the NAIA website. “That was the biggest thing.”
Bryce Giles was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Series. For the tournament, Tennessee Wesleyan (56-10) led in a number of offensive categories including batting average (.332), slugging percentage (.526), runs scored (41), hits (63) and RBIs (37). The pitching staff for the Bulldogs had the second-best ERA (3.48) of the tournament. The 56 wins on the season are the most in the program’s history dating back to at least the 2004 season. The second most wins in a season dating back to the same time period is 53…the amount the 2012 national championship team had.
The best description for the TWU Bulldogs attitude can be found in the words of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, at all the time you can.”
GOOD JOB BULLDOGS!