By Walter Villa - D1Baseball.com
Chris McCready couldn’t truly see, feel or hear anything as he floated triumphantly around the bases on Friday – all he knew was that he wasn’t making that 360-foot trip alone.
“I had an angel on my shoulder,” McCready said.
That “angel” was his mother, Susan, who had recently passed away at the age of 59 due to ovarian cancer.
McCready, a backup outfielder for the University of San Diego, lost his mom just eight days prior to Friday’s game against Loyola Marymount.
The LMU game represented his first at-bat in 17 days. Yet San Diego coach Rich Hill, down to his last out in a game that the Toreros were trailing 10-9 with a runner on base, called on McCready as a lefty pinch-hitter against LMU righthander Harrison Simon.
San Diego’s scouting report on Simon was substantially off when it said to look for mid-80s fastballs. Instead, Simon dialed it up to 96 mph, and McCready swung late and missed for strike one.
On the next pitch, McCready, who was having a hard time picking up the baseball, took another fastball for strike two. He said Simon had a “funky” delivery, and the angle and release point had him a bit confused.
McCready, who was batting just .160 at the time with only three singles and one double to show for his year’s work, surely seemed – to outsiders at least – like a strikeout ready to happen.
But McCready, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound junior, didn’t think so at all, and that’s because he had help. “I knew my mom was going to be with me, and I went up there with an empty head,” he said. “I just tried to slow everything down.
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