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Another Country Roads Kick In The Gut

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Greetings From The Booth!

Well, it’s another “morning after,” if you’re a WVU Mountaineer fan. After getting into the NCAA D-I Baseball Tournament and winning the Tuscon regional, the Mounties were swept in two games in the Chapel Hill Super Regional at the hands of the number-4 national seed Tar Heels of UNC. In Game One, WVU held a 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, only to see the game tied on a solo home run, and then were walked off on a 2-run blast by Vance Honeycutt, a player who you will likely see one day in “The Show.” In a gutsy, but probably anti-climactic, performance in Game Two, West Virginia lost 2-1, giving up a leadoff homer from Honeycutt.

We Mountaineer fans have become used to heartbreak. Occasionally, the Mounties will get to smell the steak, but never get to taste it. Once in a while, a “Natty” is within reach, only to have it snatched away by an ill-timed injury, a missed field goal, or just pure bad luck. Oh, WVU is always winning Rifle championships, but we probably should, given our mascot carries a musket. This weekend’s heartbreak in the Super Regionals brought back some painful memories of previous kicks in the gut. Let’s revisit a few:

1988 WVU Football-this was the famous undefeated, untied regular season, which ended in a 34-21 Fiesta Bowl loss to Notre Dame in the National Championship Game. West Virginia was led by dual-threat quarterback Major Harris, who suffered a shoulder injury on the game’s third play. And just like that, WVU’s hopes of winning that game were gone. You might remember that defensive standout, Front Royal’s own Darrell Whitmore, was also injured and did not suit up. Probably my first taste of Mountie Heartbreak.

2007 WVU Football-this might be the one that hurts the most. This season was the apex of the Pat White era for West Virginia football. The dynamic QB led the Mounties to a 10-1 record heading into the 100th Backyard Brawl against hated rival Pitt. The task was simple for WVU: beat a 4-7 Panther team at home, and punch a ticket to the National Championship game. Sure enough, White suffered a dislocated thumb in the second quarter and missed most of the game following the injury. Combine that with Pat McAfee’s 2 missed field goals, and the rumors that Head Coach Rich Rodriguez was being courted by some major programs, and you’ve got the most stinging words you can say to a Mountie fan…13-9.

2010 WVU Basketball-In the 2009-10 season, the Mountaineers were in elite company. The team finished number-3 in the country, were Big East Champions, and set the record for most wins in school history (31). But after reaching the Final Four, Mountie fans had their hearts ripped out in the National Semi-Final game against blue-blood Duke, falling 78-57. The lasting memory of that game will be Head Coach Bob Huggins consoling WVU forward De’Sean Butler, after Butler was badly hurt in the second half of the contest, adding injury to insult. Again, so close, but yet, so far…

And there you have it. Some of The Mountaineers’ Greatest Gut Punches. Well, there’s always Rifle…

Until the next visit from The Booth…Take Me Home, Country Roads!





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