Sure, the Beavers’ season ended in disappointing fashion. After beating Texas, 5-4, in their first game of their regional, they mustered a total of two runs in losses to VCU and Dallas — and were bounced from postseason play.
But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that it was a great season for the Beavers (39-18-1) , one that far exceeded expectations. Picked to finish in the middle of pack, OSU rebounded from a slow start in Pac-12 play to win their last six conference series and finish second in the standings. It arguably might have been Pat Casey’s best coaching performance, yet.
He took a squad that lost a lot of production (Michael Conforto, Ben Wetzler, Dylan Davis…) from the past season, and was short on experience, and got his players to buy into his system and believe that they could win. Slowly but surely, the wins started piling up and the Beavers climbed in the standings.
Guess what? The future is bright for the Beavers. Even if Andrew Moore and Jeff Hendrix elect to go pro, the roster is loaded with talent such as KJ Harrison and Drew Rasmussen, just to name a few. Also, don’t forget players such as Jake Thompson and Max Engelbrekt, who missed significant time this season due to injury. Combine all that talent with the experience of playing a regional on the road, and the Beavers are primed for big 2016 season.
And if Moore and Hendrix return? Well, then OSU should be overwhelming favorites to win the Pac-12 and make it to Omaha. Fingers crossed. Either way, the bottom line is that Beaver Nation has a lot to look forward to next year and beyond. The Beavers have the hitting, pitching, defense, speed, and toughness to make a deep run in the postseason.
Back to Casey. I learned a long time ago that one should never count out a Pat Casey-led team. So at the beginning of the season, even when Casey himself was wondering out loud how his squad would fare, I believed it would be just fine. Still, I marvel at the second-place finish, considering how the Beavers battled injuries and inconsistency (especially bullpen-wise) this season.
That’s why I hope the rumor about Casey being a candidate for the OSU athletic director position ends up being just that, a rumor. While I have no doubt, he would succeed in the role (especially the fund raising part), Casey is an amazing coach and it would be a damn shame if he stepped away from a squad that has so much promise. But who knows, it also would be a great situation for someone like Scott Brosius or Andy Checketts to step into.
Because it doesn’t take an expert to know things are looking bright ORANGE for Beavers baseball. So congrats on a great season and can’t wait for next season. Go Beavs! (RW)