By Austin Bishop
The Webster Progress Times
Brad Mitchell had always dreamed of going to the College World Series in Omaha.
That dream came true for him and four generations of his family last month as he, his son, his father and his grandfather all made the long drive to Nebraska to watch their beloved Mississippi State University play for the National Championship.
While the Bulldogs fell a little short — losing to UCLA 3-1 and 8-0 in the Championship Series — Mitchell said the experience more than met his expectations.
“It was pretty much unbelievable,” said Mitchell, who is the head baseball coach at Eupora High School. “Everywhere you looked there were Mississippi State folks. There was no doubt who the majority of the people were pulling for.”
And the time spent with 75-year-old Maurice Mitchell (his grandfather), 52-year-old Ron Mitchell (his father), and his 13-year-old son Bryce made the trip even better.
“It was very special for sure,” the 34-year-old Brad Mitchell said. “It was just kind of a last-minute deal. We decided we couldn’t miss it so we just jumped in the car and went.”
Both Mitchell’s father, who lives in Starkville, and grandfather, who now lives on the coast, worked at Mississippi State.
“I grew up there,” he said of MSU. “I remember going to games before they had the grandstand and we have been season ticket holders ever since they built it.”
Mitchell said he hopes this isn’t his last trip to Omaha.
“I want to come back and buy a book of tickets and watch the whole tournament,” he said. “It’s just an amazing atmosphere.”
After driving 13 hours to get to Omaha on the Sunday before the Championships Series began, Fifth Circuit Court Judge Joey Loper had to do a double take.
“Everywhere I looked it was maroon and white,” said Loper. “It was like we were in Starkville for the Super Bulldog Weekend.”
Loper is one of several with Webster County connections who made the long trip to Nebraska this week in order to see the Mississippi State University Bulldogs take part in the College World Series.
MSU won its first game in the CWS and won twice more without a loss to reach the best-of-three championship series against UCLA.
But Loper wasn’t able to head to Omaha until Sunday.
“I had a court term going on and couldn’t get free,” Loper said. “But as they kept winning and the term began to close it looked like I could make it. I had said if they make it to the championship series, I’m going.”
“The atmosphere is just overwhelming,” said District 35 Rep. Joey Hood, who made the trip west with his wife Cynthia and sons Jonah, 4, and Owen, 2.
“We were at the game on Friday (State’s second win over Oregon State),” he said. “The great thing was being able to celebrate going to the championship with my son.”
Hood said he enjoyed following the sports teams when he was a student at Mississippi State. “I was a freshman when they made it to the Final Four (in basketball) and wasn’t able to go. I said if they ever got that far again, I was going to try and make it.”
“When I got here and saw all of the State fans I thought they were shutting the lights off in Mississippi,” said Glen Barlow who is part of the pre and post game broadcast crew for WFCA, the flagship station for MSU sports. “I would venture to say that the hotel we are staying in is 75 to 80 percent Mississippi State fans and I think the others are the same way.”
He said that Omaha was an amazing host city.
“They just do a good job with it,” he said. “No matter where you go the people here welcome you with open arms and are very friendly.”