Woodcreek grad becomes national champion
The Beavers are back on top of the college baseball world.
For the first time in 11 years, Oregon State knocked off Arkansas to win the National Championship.
Oregon State University is headlined by local star Tyler Malone who graduated from Woodcreek High School in 2016. Malone was a key contributor to the Beavers run to the championship hitting three home runs, walking seven times, collecting seven hits and driving in eight runs.
“I just embraced my role and was ready for whatever situation I'd be put,” Oregon State sophomore Tyler Malone said. “I really picked up meditation and visualization and that allowed me to be calm and ready for any moment.”
The run to the championship, however, wasn’t easy and the Beavers had to battle through adversity to win it all. Just like they had done to start the world series versus University of North Carolina, the Beavers dropped game one in a best of three series. Oregon State got on the board early and took a 1-0 lead after two innings of play. However, Arkansas would score four unanswered runs to take a 4-1 lead after five and would never look back, taking game one in commanding fashion.
“After losing that first game, it shot us back to last year and what it felt be eliminated honestly,” Malone said. “That gave us the fight. We weren't going to let that happen again.”
In order to take the title, Oregon State would need to win two more elimination games, after winning four straight elimination games to advance to this point.
In game two with a championship on the line, Oregon State battled throughout the game but found themselves in the ninth inning trailing, 3-2. Down to their last strike, Oregon State hit a pop up in foul territory that, if Arkansas caught, would end the game and the Beavers season. Fate would have it that none of the three razorback players could find it and Oregon State would tie the game up on the next pitch on a hard single to the left side.
“Jeez, we were done… They had us,” Malone said. “Baseball is one crazy game, though. Special things happen and that was probably one of the most special situations I've experienced on a baseball field.”
With the game knotted at three and Oregon State still batting, Oregon State outfielder Trevor Larin hit a line drive two-run homerun to give the Beavers the lead and win, forcing a decisive game three.
“Honestly I gotta give the credit to the man upstairs,” Malone said. “I really grew stronger in my faith when I was there and I honestly feel all of my success was because of him. He gave me a platform.”
With the National Championship on the line and the momentum riding high from the emotional win, Oregon State would never trail in the contest. Kevin Able, an Oregon State freshman, would throw a complete game shutout to help his team earn a 5-0 victory and help Oregon State capture their first title in 11 years.
“I can't explain it. It's literally every emotion all at once,” Malone said on winning the championship. “It's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that the situation is what you dreamed of and you accomplished it.”
Malone, a junior next season, will look to be a key returner for a team looking to make their third straight CWS and a team hungry to defend their title.
“Our team is special. We all love one another and care for each other so much,” Malone said. “Every situation we were in, we had each other in our mind and we were never going to give up.”