WACO, Texas – McLennan Community College, alumni, fans and community members gathered at the Backyard Bar, Stage and Grill Tuesday night to celebrate the school’s first national championship in baseball since 1983.
The party was actually the city’s idea – something which meant a lot to the team.
“The city putting this on today really touches our hearts. It’s a special deal,” Head Coach Mitch Thompson said. “I’m so proud to see so many people out here celebrating with this. We think it’s a big deal, but it’s good to see that other people do, too.”
Waco Mayor Dillon Meek has proclaimed a day in their honor, and has also given the team a key to the city.
Looking past all the gaudy numbers – like the 23 straight wins to end the season and a perfect 5-0 mark at the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado – the mayor is proud of the team’s character.
Their accomplishments have even earned the city a new nickname.
“Waco is a city of champions,” Meek said to the team. “You embody that not only by your victory and your excellence, but by the values and integrity that you carried as you competed in this tournament.”
Thompson says what separates this team from the rest of junior college baseball isn’t just the trophy – it’s the support.
“This school touches Waco. This is Waco’s school,” Thompson said. “None of us do this alone. Our players didn’t do this alone. Our coaches didn’t do this alone. We did this together. And it’s just really neat to see that we’re all in this together now.”
After bringing home that elusive championship, the goal for next season is clear.
“We set the goal to win it all at the beginning of the year, and we won that dadgum thing,” Thompson said. “Now we’re going to try and do it again.”