The text message popped up on everyone’s phone at 5:57 a.m. on Aug. 27.
There were two photos.
The first was of TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The second was a close-up of a statue — the one standing out side the park, The Road to Omaha.
Cooper product and Tech pitcher Ryan Moseley retweeted that photo Tuesday with the message, “Coach sent us this at the beginning of the year. Not done yet! #WreckEm.”
Every Texas Tech player will get an up close look at that statue Thursday when they arrive in Omaha in preparation to play in the College World Series. The Red Raiders face TCU on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the first round of the double elimination tournament.
“That is the goal at the beginning of the year. But, everyone was like, ‘Yeah, we can’t really get there. It can’t really happen,’” said junior shortstop Tim Proudfoot. “So, it is awesome it is coming true right now. Hopefully, we go and win the whole thing.”
Texas Tech defeated the College of Charleston twice in two days by the same score, 1-0, to qualify for the College World Series for the first time in school history.
But, the moment is still permeating in many of the minds of the Red Raiders.
“I was thinking when they hit the ground ball I wanted to celebrate,” said sophomore first baseman Eric Gutierrez, who caught the final out in the Super Regional win. “It was tough to stay on the bag and get the out and then celebrate. I never do that I don’t jump around, but this moment was awesome I had to do it.”
For Proudfoot and pitcher Chris Sadberry, the moment still hasn’t registered.
“It still has not really hot me to be honest,” Proudfoot said.
Sadberry said: “The whole feeling has not quite sunk in just because we are trying to stay focused on what is at hand and just go up there and get some wins.”
For closer Jonny Drozd, who got the last out Sunday, the realization came a little quicker — but not much.
“Whenever I saw that last groundball to Timmy and Eric coming in (to catch it) there was this moment of disbelief that we had actually done it,” he said. “I was just overwhelmed with emotions (when I realized it).”
That feeling came late Monday night for Frenship product Stephen Smith.
“It sank in last night for me when I sat down on my bed and just thought of the great times, It is just an unreal feeling to go to Omaha,” he said. “It is so special, growing up in Lubbock and having all of these fans root for you and know you, send you text messages and send you congratulations. It is just a great feeling.”
The thought settled in a bit easier for Tech coach Tim Tadlock. Of course, he had more coaching to do and teams to prepare for.
“Absolutely is has sunk in and we got to enjoy dinner the other night — after the ball game on Sunday — sit around and tell some stories and lay our head down at night felt good,” Tadlock said.
The photo was Tadlock’s way of reiterating what he said at his introductory press conference in 2012 — The Red Raiders would get to Omaha.
“Why not?” Tadlock said. “Why not dream big? We try not to make more out of it than it really is, and absolutely, we’ve earned the right to go. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to compete and the challenge of going up there against whoever we play.”
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