IN THEIR WORDS: @UTTylerBaseball quotes on winning NCAA National Championship

Thursday, May 31, 2018
by Wes Bloomquist | wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – What does it take to win a national championship and how does it feel when you do? We asked the UT Tyler baseball team those questions after the Patriots won the 2018 NCAA Division III National Championship.

Jared Pauley | Senior | Longview, Texas
“I can’t begin to describe the incredible feeling of being the first baseball team in UT Tyler history to bring home the National Championship trophy. I’m most proud of my teammates and coaches because nobody believed this would be the team to do it, but we had confidence in each other and that’s all that mattered in the end. This team epitomizes selflessness. Not one player cared about personal success. Instead, we competed for each other and believed in one another and that was the driving force behind our post season success.”

Blake Wilson | Junior | Midlothian, Texas
“I am beyond proud and excited for this team for winning the national championship for the first time in program history. It couldn’t have been done by a better group of guys. It will definitely be something that I hold close to me for the rest of my life. I think the key to us having such a good postseason run was the chemistry between all of the players. We are all truly brothers and have each other’s back through anything. When one guy didn’t get the job done someone else would step up and come through."

Bowie Farris | Junior | Denton, Texas
“Words can't describe the feeling. We will remember this and the past couple weeks for the rest of our lives. The key was us just coming together as a team, not being selfish and playing loose. We needed everybody to finish with a dog pile. And have fun because at the end of the day it's just a game we all love.”

Nate Imig | Junior | Leander, Texas
“I couldn’t be more proud or more excited to be a part of this team and winning the national championship. I’ve been on the baseball team here for four years and each team has had its great players and successful seasons. That being said, this team was different. We had a true brotherhood between us. Every player had each other’s backs and went the extra mile for the guy next to him. About halfway through the season it started to click what being a good teammate really meant and all of us fully committed to that once we found out we were headed to St. Louis (thank the lord for that). The mindset going into the regional was simple. Have fun. We were given a second chance to play and we didn’t want to waste that chance by being down when we were losing in a game or after a loss. We took it one pitch at a time and tried to enjoy every second of being back on the field after shedding our tears in Austin. To me, I think that was the main reason we are bringing the trophy back to Tyler. We got to play with house money and we made the most with being able to play the beautiful game we all love. I can’t put into words all the other little things that made this possible but I thank God and everyone else that was with us during this unforgettable season." 

Blake Maddox | Junior | Jacksonville, Texas
“It's a feeling only us few will know. No one else knows how hard and the long hours we put in and it brings more joy to see the look on our parents face because of all the sacrifices they have made to allow us to play this game at this level! The key to our success was all of us being selfless and playing for each other and not for own personal benefit. I love my brothers and most of all thank God for all the blessings he gives us.”

Henry Sanchez | Junior | San Antonio, Texas
“It’s a dream come true and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out being our last year for postseason in a while. The key was always playing hard, belief, trust in each other and playing for one another. We did not make it about ourselves and that was the key for our team success and winning the Natty!”

Alex Masotto | Senior | East Islip, New York
“What if I told you..... once the boys received a second chance, they didn’t look back. The team was resilient, fought through whatever came our way, and ultimately ended out on top. As a team, we continually battled, like a band of brothers rather than teammates that allowed us to go farther than we could ever imagine. There is nothing sweeter than ending my baseball career as a national championship and dogpiling with my brothers."

Alex Bishop | Senior | Calgary, Alberta, Canada
“I can’t describe how proud I am to be a part of this brotherhood that we have developed through this season. The resiliency that was shown through the regional and the national championship really brought us that much closer together, and it was something I have never seen or been a part of before. This team made history at UT Tyler with our first appearance in the World Series, and then to bring it home is the most exciting thing I have ever been a part of. I think that the key to winning this whole thing was the change of our mentality after we thought that our season was done. After that, we just played the game with so much excitement and had so much fun. We had each others backs no matter what and after that happened we were unstoppable as shown through our performance in regional and the national championship.”

Graham Welch | Junior | Plano, Texas
“I am incredibly proud to be a part of this team. Once we got an at large bid I knew that we would be able to make the most of it. We were a completely different team after we got a second chance to play in a regional tournament after losing in our conference tournament. Instead of playing with pressure on our shoulders, we played loose like there was nothing to lose, which is exactly why we kept winning. The key to our championship run was the energy in the dugout every inning and the fact that we just kept playing solely to have fun and to win for each other. I have never been a part of a team that has better team chemistry and I guarantee that no other team had as much fun playing in a regional tournament and the World Series as we did.”

Dayton Loyd | Freshman | Lago Vista, Texas
“Being a part of the team this year has meant so much to me. To be able to travel as a freshman and experience winning the first national championship of the program is something I will never forget. It wasn’t just about winning that made it special, it was the group of guys that really made this season great. We were all so close and there wasn’t a single thing that I wouldn’t do for these guys. A big part of our post season success was our team chemistry. We started playing for each other and believing in one another, which resulted in us beating a lot of really good ball clubs and eventually ending our season with a dogpile.”

Simon Sedillo | Senior | Grand Prairie, Texas
“It is such a blessing to be a part of this championship team. I've never seen a group of guys with this much spine; to be able to go blow for blow with everyone we played. That was the key to our success. No matter how far down in a hole we got, there was no doubt we were going to find a way out of it.”

Sam Sitton | Senior | Lindale, Texas
“I could not be happier to be a part of this team and everything we have achieved this year. We had a very rough start at the beginning of the season but in a way I’m glad we did because I think that’s what made us stronger as the season went on. We have nothing but selfless and relentless guys on this team and that’s why it feels so great to be a part of the whole thing. I think that by losing our conference tournament, bawling our eyes out, turning in our gear, and having exit meetings was the absolute best thing that could have happened for our team in a crazy/weird way. It gave us time to recharge and come back even hotter then we were before. We played each game like we literally had nothing to lose and the only thing we did was have more fun than the other teams every game...and that’s exactly what we did.”

Ben Romines | Senior | Tyler, Texas
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had on any team. I think the key to our dog pile was that we got to learn from our mistakes and then just went out and played loose because we knew we didn’t have anything to lose.”

Kolton Forsythe | Freshman | Spring, Texas
“Being a part of this year’s championship team is something I will never forget. Bringing Tyler a championship has to be the best part. By winning this championship, past alumni, donors, and each and every fan has now been honored in the correct way. After all, they’re the ones that allow us to step foot on the field, while we get to have fun playing the sport we’ve played since we were little kids. The key to the postseason run was the team chemistry. Each guy loves each other as brothers, making it easy to fight for one another. Whether each person’s role was a starter, reliever, or bench guy, every time we stepped on the field we had the same goal; becoming national champions. While the season didn’t start as planned, we were able to turn it around and put our names in the history books. After all it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

Zane Wilkinson | Sophomore | Keller, Texas
“I'm absolutely honored to be a part of this championship team. The amount of resiliency and fight in this team was like nothing I've ever experienced. Thinking our season was over was the best thing that ever happened to us. It produced a mindset in which everyone was relaxed and just felt lucky to be able to keep playing. No other team experienced what we did to get to where we are.”

Evan Kissinger | Senior | Baton Rouge, Louisiana
“It’s an amazing experience to be a part of something like this, being a part of this team and what it has accomplished in these past two weeks is almost unheard of. I think that the key to our team’s success was team chemistry. I’ve never been a part of a team as selfless as this group of guys. This whole year we had a saying YOTB (year of the boys) and that’s exactly what it was, everyone was for each other and it took every one of us no matter what the role to get where we are right now, National Champs!” 

Josh Burns | Junior | Center, Texas
“Being a part of this team is a surreal feeling. It’s hard to put in words how proud I am of this team and how honored I am to be a part of the success we had. This is the most scrappy, hard-working team I have ever been on with the greatest group of guys. It’s exciting for the future of the UT Tyler baseball program because this team has set a bar to reach every year.  After losing out in conference we thought our season was over. One week later we found out we received an at large bid to the Illinois regional tournament. Coach Porche had one message for us before we started playing and that was to have fun and give it everything we had. So, the key to our success was we started having fun with the game and left no regrets on the field. We won one game at a time and never stopped having the times of our lives on the field.” 

Ryan Cheatham | Senior | Whitehouse, Texas
“I am so proud of the way the team came back together after losing the conference tournament. We played the rest of the postseason without any fear or hesitation to play as hard as we possibly could. The team chemistry was incredible throughout the entire season and to finish it with a dog pipe with all of my brothers made me really cherish this senior season.” 

Zach Pavelock | Junior | Iola, Texas
“To say that I am proud and excited are understatements. This team has done the impossible. When everyone had doubted us and were against us, we put that behind us and proved to everyone that this baseball program was the real deal. I think the key to our success was honestly thinking that we were out of it and getting the call at 11 at night to be there the next morning for practice. We weren’t even supposed to be there and knowing that after everyone said our goodbyes that we had nothing to lose and it helped us play loose.”

Turner Givens | Junior | Spring, Texas
"Overall, this was an amazing run. Once we received the at large bid, I had a very good feeling we would do something special. I’ve never been part of a team like this before. I love each and everyone of these guys and it’s just been awesome to be here and experience all of it. I think the key to us winning this whole thing was the team chemistry and playing loose. All of these guys were playing for each other and didn’t hold anything back. We were eliminated from the conference tournament so we had nothing to lose after grabbing the at large bid. We were just out there playing free baseball. To go out on top the very last year in D3 is a dream. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It was the year of the boys.”

Brandon Saddler | Senior | Frisco, Texas
“I couldn't be more excited to be a part of this team and create some history within this amazing program. We had the tools all year to be a great team and we put it all together when we needed to and that's what's makes this championship run even more special. This is something that you dream of doing and it's an incredible feeling. I think the key for us was to stay loose and just keep having fun while playing through the postseason. These guys are my brothers and I couldn't be happier that we were able to accomplish this.”

Austin Schneider | Sophomore | Keller, Texas
“I am very proud of all the effort that each one of my teammates has put in the past few weeks, I'm more than just excited to be a part of a brotherhood like we have. I believe the key was many things from believe in him each other and believing in our coaches from day one. Buying in to everything they were saying. And in the end, they picked the guys that would be the best team to do some damage in the post season.”

Chris Stodolka | Senior | Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
“I'm extremely proud of every single one of my brothers on this team and wouldn't have chosen any other teammates to take this amazing ride with to the very end. It all started when the team and I thought we were all finished after losing to Concordia in the conference tournament. At that point we thought there was no way we would receive a bid to go to a regional, but a miracle happened and we did receive one. At that moment, I saw the most driven teammates I've ever seen in my life, wanting nothing less other than to win this whole dang thing. Knowing that we were already dead and knocked out, there was nothing to lose for us so why not, right? #zombies”

Tanner Roach | Freshman | Whitehouse, Texas
“It’s amazing to be a part of this team and be able to say that you’re a National Champ! I think that the team played loose during postseason and played like we had nothing to lose. That is what made us successful.”

Jordan Antley | Junior | West Monroe, Louisiana
“I am extremely proud and excited to be a part of this team. I think the main key to our success was on how close all the guys were. Our team chemistry was unbeatable with us all becoming brothers.”

Landon Shofner | Sophomore | Lubbock, Texas
“I'm extremely blessed to be a part of this team. These guys are all my brothers and we will forever remember each other for what we did here but also the memories that we have created along the way. Winning the National Championship is something most ball players never get to experience but it's every little kid’s dream so to not only accomplish that feat, but also do it the way we did, it’s remarkable and nothing short of amazing. Losing in the conference tournament and saying our goodbyes was the biggest blessing in disguise for this team. The moment we got the call for the regional, I knew we would do well and make a good run for it. We all just played loose and had fun with it knowing that we had nothing to lose. We kind of perceived it as free baseball and that really just let us go out and play with a chip on our shoulder and play care free. The energy was electric from the first pitch in Sauget, Illinois to the last pitch in Appleton. Thinking our season was over and getting another chance to play, really bonded us even more than we already were. When you put all those things together, you get a National Championship caliber team.”

Brent Porche | Head Coach
“As I reflect back on this season, especially these last two weeks, it’s hard to find words to describe what these guys were able to accomplish. I’m so blessed to be a part of the first UT Tyler Baseball National Championship team. This one is for all those who have come before us to set this stage. It’s a story book ending, to set the program record with 40 wins, punch our first ticket to the World Series and win the first National Championship in what is most likely the end of the Division III era at UT Tyler. No more fitting way to go out. I will forever be grateful to this group of men. I couldn’t be more proud of what they accomplished, but more importantly, who they are as men. I love every one of them, and we will certainly miss these Seniors. They have raised the bar for teams to come and set a new standard for success, leaving this program better than they found it. We are National Champions! Go Patriots!”

Erik Grafton | Assistant Coach
“Words cannot express how happy and proud I am for this team. What these guys did over the last two weeks was special and I’m glad I was able to be a part of this experience with them. I’ve never been more proud to be a part of the Patriot baseball program. Getting a second chance to play after we thought our season was over allowed our team to play loose and play with nothing to lose. They played with great enthusiasm and team chemistry throughout the championship run. When you have talented players playing with great energy and playing for each other, something special can happen, and our guys accomplished something very special by winning the national championship.”

Kody Gautreaux | Assistant Coach
“I could not be more proud of a group of men than I am of this group. They fought through adversity all year long and never stopped fighting. This group came together as a team played for each other throughout regionals and the World Series and as a coach it was an amazing thing to experience. To accomplish what they did took everyone on the team not just the guys playing in the game and in my opinion, was the reason why this team was able to accomplish what they did. This team will forever be in the history books at UT Tyler and I am truly blessed and thankful to be a part of it.”

Cade Bown | Assistant Coach
“When it comes to this team no words can explain how proud I am of these dudes and how thankful I am to be a part of it. Teamwork makes the dream work. In my opinion it was everyone stepping up and doing something cool when it was needed. I also firmly believe that music and antics helped keep everyone relaxed and focused. Once we made it to the Championship, we might as well win it. #CollardGreens”

Wade Pope | Assistant Coach
“It's hard to put into words what this group of guys means to me. This team and their accomplishments will be one of my most cherished coaching memories. I am so proud of them as players, but more for the men that they are. I truly love each and every one of them. What an amazing ride.”

Andrew Cage | Athletic Trainer
“There aren’t enough words to describe how proud I am of these guys and the determination they showed. There is no one thing that led to that dog pile, but from senior leaders stepping up in big moment to extend their careers, to guys in the bullpen keeping up their antics to keep the mood light, everyone played a huge role.”

Connor Green | Strength & Conditioning Coach
“Words do not do justice to how proud I am of this group of guys. This is the goal that is set forth before every year, even back in the times when I played on the team. Doing it in our last year at Division III and the way these guys went about it made it even more special. The key to this team was the brotherhood they created. From encouraging each other and getting after it together in the weight room, to having each other’s backs and knowing the next man was there to pick you up on the field, every man in that dugout was there for the guy next to them. I think that really showed with how fun and loose they were playing and knowing that even though an individual might not succeed right then, the rest of the team is pick you up and get it done.”