As far as the numbers go, Cody Lahman had a perplexing senior season with the Colorado Mesa baseball team.
It’s hard to imagine him remembering much of the specifics of his stats, though, with the season the Mavericks had collectively. After all, you just can’t replace the experience of appearing in a collegiate national championship game.
That’s exactly where Colorado Mesa ended up recently after a spectacular run through the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament, regional play and finally through the bracket of the NCAA Division II World Series in Cary, North Carolina.
The road was littered with do-or-die moments for CMU, and the finale against Southern Indiana fell in line with that pattern — an epic, 12-inning war that resulted in a 3-2 victory for Southern Indiana.
Still admittedly bitter as he was traveling back to Longmont this week, Lahman, a former Niwot athlete, said the entire experience was one to grasp firmly for a lifetime.
“Surreal is really the only way to explain it, I mean, the 10 days we were there could easily go as the best 10 days of my life, baseball-wise at least,” Lahman said. “The atmosphere there, being able to be with that family of guys every day, all day … it was all about baseball, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
“As far as the season, we had had struggles at times. We had a better record last year, actually, but down the stretch it came down us finding ways to win.”
It was CMU’s first appearance in the national title game, and the Mavericks won in a variety of ways to get there. They hosted the RMAC tourney and Regionals at the picturesque Suplizio Field, and the Mavericks were comfortable at home with the bats as they averaged 8.6 runs a contest in going 7-1.
Once they got to the USA Baseball Training Complex for the World Series, pitching took over. Facing four teams ranked in the top eight, including twice having to play the top-ranked University of Tampa, CMU pitchers allowed just 2.8 runs per contest.
“Hitting got us to Cary, and pitching got us to the championship, and that’s the definition of ‘team’ to me,” Lahman said. “We went out with a bang, playing on the last day of the year. We talked about building toward getting to Cary, getting to that national championship. That day, we were living it.”
Overall, Lahman went 2-3 with a 4.96 earned-run average, just one year after earning all-conference accolades. But he did pitch in an elimination game against Tampa, going two-thirds of an inning and getting a strikeout in CMU’s 3-2 victory that sent them to the title game.
“It was anti-climactic for me coming off an all-conference year, but I think it just showed that the other guys could step up,” Lahman said. “They actually still had faith in me to pitch in that semifinal, and that was awesome.”
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