Former Pelham star starts CWS Game 1
By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer
Look out at any local little league field, and you’ll see Shelby County kids love baseball. Many of them have the dream of making it to a bigger stage where they can showcase their talents playing the game they love.
Former Pelham Panthers and current Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball star Trevor Fitts got a chance to star on the big stage, as he started Game 1 of the NCAA Division I College World Series Finals in Omaha, Neb. June 25.
Fitts took to the mound against the UCLA Bruins, going an inning and a third with three strikeouts and one earned run before being relieved by fellow Alabamian Chad Girodo.
“It was a great opportunity,” he said. “I knew my role was to go out there and put up a couple of zeros.”
Fitts said he approached the game no differently than any other, but acknowledged it was a special moment.
“I just tried to treat it the same as any other game,” he said. “I wanted to go longer, selfishly. I got chills hearing our fans.”
He said the chills provided by the fans were good ones, complimenting the passionate State fan base.
“We have a lot of fans at Mississippi State,” he said. “They travel well. Wherever we go, they’re there. When we won the SEC title last year, it was the biggest crowd without Auburn or Alabama in the finals. We’ve made Omaha our home.”
Before the Game 1 start, Fitts was making headlines for an off the field endeavor.
Fitts was successful in getting Coach John Cohen to rescind his strict “no facial hair beyond a mustache” policy through the use of a PowerPoint presentation and some ingenuity.
Fitts said it had nothing to do with baseball; it was just a personal preference he thought was worth a shot.
“Honestly, I’ve always been a facial hair guy, even in high school,” he said. “I came to Mississippi State and had to shave it clean.”
It got to a point where Fitts felt he had nothing to lose by piecing together a presentation that showed famous people who succeeded with beards, great baseball players who had beards and even a suggestion that the Bulldogs could follow the same path pending, of course, they could have beards.
“I hate shaving so much,” Fitts said with a laugh. “(On the PowerPoint) I put beards on all the coaching staff, using Corel Draw. It took me three hours.”
After giving the PowerPoint to Cohen at the end of the Fall 2012 semester, Fitts said he “waited all Christmas” to hear if Cohen would agree with it. He did.
With a newfound spirit, and newfound facial hair, the Bulldogs have made it all the way to the last round. They’ll have to battle back to win a championship after losing Game 1 3-1, but Fitts said the memories of his start will stay with him forever.
“The first strikeout was awesome,” he said.