Wildcats get wet welcome back in Mac
Linfield baseball team back in town after winning national championship
The rain pounded the pavement, but that didn't stop a group of 30 or so Linfield baseball fans from standing out on SE Stadium Street at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning on Linfield College's campus to greet the Division III national champion Linfield Wildcats as they were escorted onto campus by the McMinnville Police Department.
As the charter bus rolled slowly to a stop in front of Roy Helser Field, Linfield students and a few older fans lined both sides of the street and waved, cheered and chanted. Then the doors opened, and the Wildcats wearily stepped onto the street, greeted by loud cheers and rain that came down in buckets. Each member of the team was wearing a white "Linfield national champion" hat, and fans high fived and hugged. Even the Linfield mascot got in on the action, a friend holding up an umbrella to keep the rain from soaking the costume.
The Wildcats defeated Southern Maine 4-1 Tuesday to win the 2013 Division III national championship. It is Linfield's first NCAA baseball championship and third overall counting two NAIA titles won in 1971 and 1966.
When Linfield coach Scott Brosius stepped off the bus, a loud cheer went up and a student hugged the Wildcats skipper. NCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year and College World Series Most Outstanding Pitcher Chris Haddeland was surrounded, fans and friends pounding him on the back.
Slowly, the team picked up its bags and dispersed into the crowd, heading home after a long week spent in Appleton, Wis. for the College World Series. Last to leave the area was Brosius, who waited until all of his team had left.
There will be a team celebration with the team at 4 p.m. Friday at Roy Helser Field. The public is encouraged to attend to celebrate the Wildcats' victory.