The College World Series is the highest level of competition in the world of college baseball, only the best of the best win it. This summer, the Macon Bacon has the honor of holding three winners on the roster; Cory Bivins, Noah Takac, and Dawson Taylor from North Greenville.
Being able to take on such a feat, let alone win it all is something that every ball player dreams of.
For Bivins, this was a long-awaited event for the four years he has been a Crusader. He has seen this team in a variety of scenarios, but this year was different.
“When I first got there, the team was pretty good. Historically speaking North Greenville wins the regional every year. Going into the season, the team was pretty confident they would eventually make it further, but we just had to keep putting in the hard work to make it to the finals. This year all the hard work paid off, and I am so thankful to have been a part of the big win,” Bivins said.
North Greenville had a lot of work to do this year. In the beginning of their season they had a few ongoing struggles. The Crusaders record was not as good as it had been in previous year, and it was not meeting their high expectations for the 2021-2022 season.
Their season began with close games and matchups that the team should have claimed easily but they ended in losses. The usual dominant presence that the Crusaders have was dwindling.
In a moment of adversity, the team came to a screeching halt. They had hit a wall that was long awaited after the majority of the team were overcome with frustration in the start of the season outcomes.
“We had two players fight in the middle of the season after a slow start. After that we went on a 17-game win streak so that turned our season around big time,” Bivins said.
Taylor had the same feelings about the season. He could feel the click occurring on the field midway into the season when everyone finally started working as a team. That one fight changed the mentality of every single athlete on the team.
“We began to see a shift in the team and started winning many more games than we usually do at North Greenville. The team was a lot closer this year, and that helped us play a lot better on the field because we began to enjoy playing together,” Taylor said.
At North Greenville, the pressure is on to stay successful. The team, in the past, has made it to regionals almost every year averaging about 40 wins per season. Between the team’s breaking point and the high expectation, Takac knew this team would go far.
“Playing for a team that wins on average 40 games a year, places a sense of urgency to strive to be better. You do not want to win, and they do not accept failure on any level at all,” Takac remarked. “When I entered the season I knew that we had a chance to win, however you don’t expect to win the national championship until you get there.”
Once the Crusaders got to the world series it was smooth sailing from there. The team not only won every matchup they had to face but took down one of the best offenses in the country in a 5-3 win against Point Loma Nazarene.
At that moment when North Greenville secured the title, it was as if the entire experience was a figment of their imagination.
“I kind of blacked out for a little bit after we won. I don’t remember running out to the field, but I just remember kind of waking up at the bottom of the dog pile and thinking ‘Wow everything we’ve been through has paid off.’ We had given it everything we had and we were all rewarded for it,” Takac said.
The championship for this group of talented ball players has been an experience of a lifetime. Being part of one of the most talented programs of this time is something that cannot be taken away from them.
This winning and teamwork mentality holds a special place when it comes to the game of baseball. For the Macon Bacon, adding this culture brings a fighting chance for the team to be successful in the remainder of the season.
Having this group also adds an advantage skill wise. Bivins yielded a .324 average and 11 homeruns in his 2022 season. As for Takac and Taylor, both sported a 1.60 and 4.29 ERA. Each adds a competitive edge to the batters box and the pitchers mound.
Being a champion means more than just a title to the Bacon, it means adding value in a variety of sectors to the team. Even when Macon may struggle, this group of leaders may guide them out of adversity as they did before early on in the year.
BY: Lanie De La Milera