Blue and Gold Spring | Summer 2021 Volume 2 • Issue 1 - Page 63

This series was the first-ever held for smaller Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs ).
When shortstop CJ Cooper and second baseman Taylor Tibbs turned a nifty double play to end the final game of the Black College World Series , it marked an incredible end to an improbable season for the Big Blue .
Bluefield State had won the first-ever Black College World Series , 7-2 , over top-ranked Xavier University of Louisiana .
This series was the first-ever held for smaller Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs ). It was the brainchild of BSCG360 and Black College Nines , two national organizations that promote the benefits of attending HBCUs and preserving the legacy of HBCU baseball .
Six teams played at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery , Alabama . ( Eight were invited , but two dropped out because of COVID .)
Riverwalk , well-groomed and -lighted , is the home field for the Montgomery Biscuits , the AA-affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays . The series was held Wednesday through Saturday , April 28-May 1 .
The series was double-elimination with winners and losers brackets set up after the first games .
Teams were invited based on national rankings listed weekly by Black College Nines . Bluefield State received an at-large invitation two weeks before play was to start .

THEY WON FOUR GAMES IN FOUR DAYS

Beat the top seed twice . Took advantage of opportunity when they had it .
With little time to both prepare and continue playing regularly scheduled games , everybody from Athletics Director Derrick Price to Sports Information Director Tiana Cephers had to pitch in . A bus was hired , lodging arranged , plus dozens of little details were handled to make sure the players had everything they needed to make the trip .
Despite the logistical details , head coach Drew Bailey said , “ This is a terrific opportunity for our guys to get some national exposure . They ’ ve gone through a long season complicated by COVID . The Series is a great idea and wonderful reward .”
The team left bright and early on the 27th for the 750-mile bus ride to Alabama . They arrived that evening as third seed . Ahead was a daily schedule of games that would last as long as they avoided two losses .
The Competition .
The clear favorite was Xavier University of Louisiana , an NAIA school in New Orleans and the only Catholic HBCU in the nation . The Gold Rush came into the tournament with an impressive 23-7 record .
Ranked second was Savannah State University , like Bluefield State an NCAA Divison II school . The Tigers arrived at 13-5 .
SPRING | SUMMER 2021
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