Arizona Baseball: Winning against all odds despite the NCAA decisions

5/24/2016. during the Wildcats 12-1 win over the Abilene Christian Wildcats. Hi-Corbett Field, Tucson, AZ. Photo credit to Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics
5/24/2016. during the Wildcats 12-1 win over the Abilene Christian Wildcats. Hi-Corbett Field, Tucson, AZ. Photo credit to Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics /

How long until enough is enough? When do fans realize that the NCAA is not about supporting the student athletes anymore? When do the “Other” conferences realize its time for a change?

Arizona Baseball won their regional showdown in Louisiana-Lafayette, a great accomplishment in head coach Jay Johnson’s first year. Then they were rewarded with a trip to one of the toughest places to play a super regional, and wouldn’t you know it; they are headed to Omaha. What a lot of the current headlines and talk is about, is how well the Wildcats have handled their pitchers and players through the rigorous schedule.

Here is a quick rundown; Arizona Baseball began double elimination regional play in Lafayette. There is a winners bracket and losers bracket after the first two games. The first games were able to be played without major delays. Do to weather the rest of regional play could not be played as scheduled.

The Wildcats won their first game and usually you are rewarded for being in the winners bracket. Unfortunately, do to thunderstorms, the schedule was delayed, and Arizona Baseball paid the price. It led to the team having to play four games; 36 innings of baseball in 48 hours. This was after traveling all the way out to Louisiana from Tucson.

Now I read a couple of tweets and articles regarding coach Johnson and what they thought he mishandled by possibly risking the futures of some of his players. Honestly, how could anyone attack and blame the coach that is just dealing with the hand he was dealt? Let’s remember this is a job where your future revolves around winning, let’s not kid ourselves, you know that it’s all about the wins and loses when the dust settles.

Again do we blame the person in charge of the team just playing what the NCAA says they have to play? Two double-headers in two days? That would be tough for even a professional team to carry out, much less be able to win 3 of 4 and keep your season alive. What is a coach suppose to do?

Following the Super Regional Series, he was asked about his pitching situation, here is how Johnson responded.

Were players overused? Yes of course they were, but ask one of those guys on the roster if they care. I bet they would lace up their cleats and do it again this weekend for their leader, and for the name on the front of the jersey. How much are these kids making off the couple thousand people charged to be in the stands?

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The NCAA takes the big chunk of the money that people paid to see these guys put their hearts and body on the line. So where was the interest for the players from the NCAA? What we was important that the regional round couldn’t be extended to Tuesday? It happened in a couple of other regional tournaments last weekend as well. South Carolina, LSU, and Costal Carolina all got to punch their ticket into a Super Regional on Tuesday.

If you watched the final game on Monday night, consider yourself lucky. What Arizona Baseball was about to accomplish, apparently wasn’t as important as other regional games going on, to earn adequate TV time. But man did the commentators sure know what they were watching was special.

You heard them lauding the Wildcats about what a feat they had just accomplished. They also praised what a tremendous job Coach Johnson had done, making sure to utilize his players, but not overusing them given the circumstances.

So to all those who question what coach Johnson did, and how he handled his players, let’s not forget he didn’t ask for the four games in two days. He was just trying to do what was asked of him when he was hired at Arizona, WIN.

Arizona Baseball did nearly the impossible, winning three games in 36 hours to keep their season alive. So how about a little more congratulations and recognition of how great a feat that was.

Next: Arizona Baseball: Stage is set for the College World Series

From all of us here at ZONAZEALOTS congrats again to the Wildcats! It’s not over yet; it is time to BEARDOWN again this weekend vs Miami. Don’t forget to wear the colors proud wherever you are this weekend, and let’s do our part to help and support our team to win the College World Series. Good Luck gentlemen and hopefully the next article will be about Omaha next week!!