When It Counted Most, Cajuns’ Seniors Came to the Forefront – From the Bird’s Nest
I was outside the Hyatt Regency Thursday night and ran into Jenny Butler.
As we talked, I saw her eyes get a bit teary a few times. And, the words from Dylan's mother were very similar to what I've heard many times over the years from student-athletes and parents alike.
The time goes by so fast.
When a young man or woman enters college, four or five years seems like an eternity. But when the end comes it's pretty sudden.
"It feels like 30 minutes," Jenny Butler said. "I don't want it to end."
I'm sure Allison Girouard, Elaine Milhorn, Traci Davis, and Tamma Powell would make a similar statement.
Their sons didn't want it to end, either. This was their regional.
Dylan Butler had two hits in the regional. He scored three times. He drove in two runs and, showed great patience at the plate. He walked three times, including a leadoff walk in the fateful ninth inning against Houston. He walked with the bases loaded in the comeback in game one. His sacrifice fly on Sunday gave the Cajuns an extra run late in the game.
Dylan Butler didn't want it to end.
Tyler Girouard had two hits and drove in two runs. He drew five walks in the regional. He drove in the first Cajuns' run in the deciding game on Monday. He scored twice in the first game against Rice. And, Girouard was the recipient of the most famous hit by pitch in Cajuns' baseball history and, as a result, got the game winning RBI against Houston.
Tyler Girouard didn't want it to end.
Greg Davis had two hits in the opening game against Rice. He hasn't had a bigger hit this season than the one that drove in two runs in the ninth inning against Rice on Friday. He had three RBI in that game. His sacrifice bunt in the finale helped set up the final Cajuns' run of the game.
Greg Davis didn't want it to end.
Greg Milhorn was called upon once in the tournament. He threw three shutout innings against Houston, holding the rope until the Cajuns could get those two runs in the ninth inning. It was Milhorn's third win in the post season.
Greg Milhorn didn't want it to end.
Evan Powell was 5-11 in the tournament on the way to being named the Most Outstanding Player of the regional. He scored twice and drove in three runs. He broke up Seth Romero's no-hit bid in the eighth inning on Sunday. He drove in a run during the ninth inning rally against Rice on Friday. And, his two run single on Monday highlighted the Cajuns' three run fifth inning that gave the Cajuns some breathing room.
Evan Powell didn't want it to end.
All told, the four senior hitters tallied twelve of the 16 hits the Cajuns had in the regional. They were responsible for seven of the 14 runs scored and ten of the 14 RBI. Add to that three clutch shutout innings by Milhorn and you have the recipe for winning a regional.
All during the season, much was made of the freshman pitchers who helped lead the Cajuns to win after win. And, rightfully so.
But on this stage, it was five Cajuns' seniors who showed the rest of this ball club how to handle pressure, how to lead and how to lead by example.
They played like guys who weren't ready for it to end.
They'll try to extend their season this weekend as big underdogs at LSU. The five, and the rest of their teammates will try once again to extend their season.
And, in the stands, Jenny Butler and the rest of the senior moms will be looking back at all the memories of their sons, beginning as little boys and, at some point, ending as young men. They will remember everything.
After all, it's only been....oh....about 31 minutes.