June 6, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Jack Leggett says he is jumping right into PSD – Post Season Depression – following Monday night’s 14-1 loss to Connecticut in the Clemson Regional Championship game.
“The end of the season is always tough,” Leggett said. “It happens right after the season, and it will last for two or three weeks. You try to regroup and get yourself ready to go mentally and physically for the next go around.
“But, it is just one of those things that at the end of the season, whether you are home or away, there is only one team that does not lose the last ballgame of the year. It does not matter if you lose it here, on the road or in Omaha, it does not matter. It always stinks. It is always tough.”
As tough as it is, odds are when Leggett sits down and looks back at the 2011 season, he will think of it fondly. His Tigers closed the year by winning 29 of their last 37 games, including 25 of 30 to end the regular season. That run alone allowed Clemson to host a regional.
It all turned around in the parking lot of Doug Kingsmore Stadium at about 10:30 on the night of April 3. Clemson had just returned from being swept at North Carolina and were staring at a 14-12 overall record at the time, including a 4-8 mark in the ACC.
“I have a great deal of respect for this baseball team,” Leggett said. “We were in a tough place at 14-12. We made a decision, all of us that were going to approach the last part of the season a certain way. It took some leadership from the players, coaches and everybody to have the right frame of mind.
“We decided we were going to do something with this season.”
The Tigers (43-20) decided they were going to approach the last half of the year as a new season. With the leadership of guys like Justin Sarratt, Jeff Schaus, Chris Epps, Alex Frederick, Brad Miller and John Hinson, Clemson did a complete 360 and won 13 of its last 18 ACC games and went 2-1 in the ACC Tournament.
“I think we reached a point in the season where it was a gut-check,” first baseman Richie Shaffer said. “We said we are either going to make this a season, or we are going to fall apart here.
“We battled tough. In the second half of the year, there was not a better team out there. We were playing great baseball. We had confidence and that is a tribute to Coach and all the guys being positive and optimistic.”
And though the Tigers came up short of reaching their ultimate goal of winning the National Championship, they will still look back at the second half of the season with great pride.
“Though we fell short, we gave it everything we had,” Shaffer said. “I can say for me and all the guys we left everything out on the field.”
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