LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – When the Lansing Community College baseball team punched its ticket to the National Junior College Division 2 World Series in 2022, the team felt accomplished.
“Last year, we were really excited to be there. This year, we’ll be the same. We’ll be really excited to be there, but the common theme amongst the players is job’s not done,” second year LCC baseball coach Steven Cutter said.
The Stars defeated Kellogg Community College in the regional championship game on Sunday, 16-8, to book another trip to Enid, Oklahoma. But making it to the World Series isn’t good enough anymore.
“Last year, when we went, it felt like our goal the entire season was to just get to the world series,” LCC redshirt sophomore third baseman Hunter Lay said. “This year it feels like we’re going to win the whole thing.”
LCC sophomore pitcher and Holt grad Cole Heikkinen said, “None of us had ever been there before. Now we have that experience and, I think, the type of World Series roster you need to win it all.”
Lay and Heikkinen are two of 13 players on the roster, who are making back-to-back trips to Enid with the Stars.
On Sunday, Heikkinen made his fifth pitching appearance of the season and recorded the final out of the game.
And naturally, when you clinch a berth to the World Series, the final out is followed by a massive dog pile.
“It was pretty awesome,” Lay said. “I don’t know how he felt. He’s kind of a smaller guy at the bottom of like 45 dudes. That probably didn’t feel great.”
Heikkinen said, “I didn’t hear anything. It was dark. I saw Noah (Bright’s) face, that was it. I was just looking at him like ‘We did it, baby.'”
Cutter added, “He exemplifies what our program is about. He’s done a lot for our program this year and we wanted to reward him what that. I guess it’s a reward being at the bottom of a dog pile.”
The Stars will be one of ten teams across the country competing for the World Series and find out on Tuesday where they’ll be seeded.