The Cal Lutheran University Kingsmen baseball team was one game away from seeing their memorable 2017 season come to a conclusion.
Cal Lutheran, who faced Washington and Jefferson University in the Division-III College World Series, lost their first game in a three-game set, courtesy of a 12-2 defeat on May 29. With their season on the line in an elimination game, Cal Lutheran tied the series at 1-1 with a 12-4 win on May 30.
Cal Lutheran right-handed pitcher Nate Wehner got the win on the hill, allowing just six hits in nine innings of work. In the third and final game of the College World Series, Cal Lutheran registered a 7-2 victory in game 3, earning the NCAA Division-III National title. Wehner said he wasn’t nervous when he took the hill with the season on the line in game 2.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself as it is. Whenever I’m in a big game, I don’t feel like it is any bigger than it is,” Wehner said. “Even though we were facing an elimination game and playing a a really good team, I had the confidence in myself and in my teammates that we were going to go out there and get the victory.”
Wehner believes his team’s confidence soared after the game 2 victory and helped his squad win the third and decisive matchup.
“We were super confident. We had played so well all season. That first game (12-2 loss) felt like we weren’t ourselves. We knew that we had to come out and do what we had done all playoffs, and that would be just fine,” he said.
Wehner, who will return as a senior during the 2018 season, said reaching the pinnacle in the world of collegiate baseball was an unforgettable moment.
“It was an amazing feeling and an amazing experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We are still enjoying it,” Wehner said in a phone interview on June 19.
Wehner knows staying at the top of the mountain is much more difficult than climbing the mountain.
“Our first goal is to always win our conference. You can’t win a national championship without winning the SCIAC (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference). We have won our conference two years in a row so we know we have a target on our backs. We’re just going to go out and continue to play good baseball,” Wehner said.