FHU hosted the opening round of the NAIA Baseball National Tournament for the first time in school history, allowing the Lions to punch their ticket to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, in front of an appreciative home audience. Eight other sites across the country hosted opening round tournaments, also.
Following an application process, host sites had 10 days between being selected and teams’ arrivals. Dawn Bramblett, who served as host supervisor, commented, “What an all-star group of individuals coming together to host this tournament; the Henderson-Chester County Chamber of Commerce, City of Henderson, Chester County, businesses and individuals graciously joined FHU in going the extra mile to welcome guests! The Jackson Chamber, Visit Jackson, media and others supported the event, also. It was an incredible week of community and baseball!”
The Lions fought their way out of the losers’ bracket in order to win the trip to Lewiston. After losing to No. 1 seed Oklahoma Wesleyan, Tuesday, they won three straight games. They defeated Texas Wesleyan (5-1), and Oklahoma Wesleyan (7-4) Wednesday to set up the winner-take-all game Thursday. The Lions prevailed again, defeating Oklahoma Wesleyan (5-4).
“Being at home, able to host and to play in front of our fans and our community was such a special experience,” Lion Head Coach Jonathan Estes said. “Our community, Freed-Hardeman and our fans showed up, and the experience was fun! Even though we lost Tuesday, we knew would be able to accomplish great things because this team had shown we could — not only this year but in the past. It was great to be able to do this on our home field. It’s something that I’m not ever going to forget, and I’m sure these players and these fans won’t either.”
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