Fresno State Welcomes Home National Champions
June 26, 2008
FRESNO, Calif. - The Bulldog baseball team was greeted in Fresno by thousands of fans screaming FRESNO STATE!
Just 24 hours ago the Bulldogs accomplished what many thought was impossible, now home in Fresno, the `Dogs are feeling the love. A sea of red filled the stadium seats and carried over into the outfield.
The lines began early this morning at the Bulldog Shop, where eager fans waited patiently to get their hands on National Champion Fresno State baseball T-shirts.
The lines continued in the afternoon with Bulldog supporters lining up outside Pete Beiden Field nearly two hours before the gates opened.
The festivities began with a parade featuring the team and coaches that ran down Barstow Avenue from Maple Street to Cedar.
Announcer Mark Thomas introduced the 2008 College World Series Champions and handed it over to Master of Ceremonies Paul Loeffler introduced each speaker for the evening.
Loeffler highlighted the tournament with a poem that included each member of the Fresno State squad.
University President Dr. John Welty took the stage first thanking all those who helped the Bulldogs throughout the season.
Next Fresno Mayor Alan Autry addressed the crowd. He spoke of role models and how this team is filled with role models.
"I get asked to come to many championship ceremonies and leave my son at home," said Autry. "Folks, my 11 year-old son is right over there."
The Bulldogs were awarded the key to the city by the mayor.
Associated Student President Mackee Mason and Vice President Sandra Flores honored the team with a plaque, which was presented to third baseman Tommy Mendonca and pitcher Justin Wilson. Mendonca was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series and Wilson pitched a terrific game that beat Georgia 6-1 for the championship.
Head coach Mike Batesole received a standing ovation from Bulldog fans. Then handed it over to long time fans Inman Perkins and "Sugar Bear," where their famous cheers were heard throughout Pete Beiden Field for decades.
Batesole recalled when he first took the job at Fresno State and pondered how he was going to get this ball club where it needed to be. He praised the eight seniors for their efforts both on the field and in the classroom.
"I couldn't be more proud of what they did and accomplished," said Batesole.
Bulldog Pitcher Justin Wilson was the first player to speak to the fans.
"It doesn't seem real at all," said Wilson. "The parade made it more real and the people here."
College World Series Most Outstanding Player Tommy Mendonca was greeted with screams that could be heard from neighboring towns. He thanked the staff, coaches and fans for their support. Mendonca promised to continue to have fun and win.
"It's pretty spectacular to see all these people here," said Mendonca.
"The parade was fun, to look up and see all those people was really cool," said Wetzel. "I have never seen that much red before."
Senior Left Fielder Steve Susdorf's "we over me" attitude led the Bulldogs to the College World Series. Leoffler introduced him as your favorite Bulldog player ever.
The night ended with the team signing autographs for fans.
Official College World Series apparel will go on sale at the Bulldog Shop Friday June 27 at 10 a.m. Overflow parking will be across the street in Lot Q.
Join the State - Fresno State Fresno State wrapped up a successful 2007-08 year that was highlighted by the Bulldogs winning the 2008 National Championship in baseball. Fresno State also won the WAC Commissioner's Cup for overall athletic success.