COLUMBIA, S.C. — One baseball team in the <idlands is set to make history in the NCAA Division II baseball tournament this weekend.
The Newberry Wolves won a program record 41 games during the regular season, which helped them win the South Atlantic Conference title for the first time.
And, the team earned a spot in the NCAA tournament, their first taste of the postseason since 1977.
“To hear the excitement and the appreciation they have for this particular group it means a lot." says Newberry Head Baseball Coach Russell Triplett. “We set our expectations at the beginning of every year to be the best we can each and every day, we want to be the last ones playing.”
A Columbia native, Triplett is a graduate of Brookland-Cayce High school and is a former Clemson Tiger. After leaving Clemson, he had a short stint in the majors with the New York Mets before becoming the coach of Newberry Baseball nine years ago.
“Our players do a good job of understanding their role and understanding what they need to do for this program.” Triplett said.
Few players understand baseball's significance to the town of Newberry like Danton Hyman. Hyman, a Newberry native and a senior at the school, won the 2019 South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year award this season, an award that goes to the best player in the conference.
But although he had great individual success this season, he is more impressed and happy with the play of the team.
“It’s meant everything to us and it’s been a lot of fun to see the incoming freshman come in and respond to the seniors," Hyman said. "Seeing the fans support us means a lot and it makes us want to go all the way and get this done."
Back in 1977, the Wolves made it all the way to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) World Series. Coach Triplett is hopeful this year's team can do the same.
"This is a different group and they earned this opportunity to be apart of the postseason and they earned the awards they have gotten," Triplett says. "I'm proud of what they’ve done and I feel they are prepared to be successful when they leave here and that’s what makes it worth it.“
The team will take on Catawba on Friday at 3:30 PM in Newberry.