HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - You can call them the "Clutch Crusaders" after this week. William Carey earned this on the strength of its late game heroics, making history along the way.
The biggest clutch moment was produced Thursday from the bat of junior Wes Brown. His walk off single gave the Crusaders a 10-9 W over Southeastern.
"I was just happy I was in that situation," Brown said. "I'm happy for all the seniors. I'm happy for everybody that was effected by the tornado. I'm just happy. This is just unbelievable."
Senior infielder James Land had a feeling Brown's big moment was coming.
"Oh yeah I just knew it was his time because he's been carrying us this whole week," Land said. "He's been struggling lately but this week he carried us and I just knew he was going to do it."
The Carey victory captured a berth in the NAIA world series for the first time since 1978. At multiple points this week, though, this feat didn't seem likely.
Of the Crusaders' four wins three were walk offs.
"We was down one through five innings, one through six innings," Land said. "It seemed like with the last innings, when it's time to score we did it. We just always come back. We just kept fighting, kept fighting.
"Wes told me yesterday, said coach I played a terrible game yesterday morning," Crusaders coach Bobby Halford said. "I'm gonna make up for it in this second game. He went three for three. Made all the plays. Today before his last at bat he said coach I gave them two runs. He said I'm gonna get the two runs back. That's exactly what he said. Well when you have that I mean, you can't teach that."
Not lost within the dug-out clearing celebration is the EF3 tornado that destroyed the Carey campus in January.
This was the latest chapter in what has been an emotional story for the school community.
"We just wanted to give back to this community and give back to everybody that's been supporting us, behind us," Brown said. "It's been a rough time for a lot of people. This is minor but maybe this will get a little bit of happiness for us."