SPORTS

Stony Brook, Not Just Another Fairytale

It’s been a College World Series fairytale moment for Stony Brook, who crashed the party by  beating one of college baseball's powerhouses, Louisiana State, in the Super Regionals last weekend.

Just don't expect Stony Brook to tap their glass slippers or their metal cleats when they face UCLA.

Willie Carmona, who was just 2 years old when he arrived in New York from the Dominican Republic, and the talented bunch from a state school nestled 50 miles away from the big city isn't buying all that talk.

They'll leave that talk to the 25,000 fans that will fill in TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The 4th seeded Seawolves will go up against the Bruins today in the first game of the series and expect a large amount of that crowd to have their back.

"I mean we know we're the underdogs in this, but I mean, people want to call us a Cinderella story. We don't think we are a Cinderella story," said Carmona, the native from the city of Bani that produced American League Gold Glove shortstop Erick Aybar and former AL MVP Miguel Tejada.

"We actually think we are that good and that's the mentality we go out there [with] and take out there. There's no way the other people on the other side of that white line can beat us."

You can't fault the Philadephia Phillies' 11th round selection in last week's draft for feeling so confident. Carmona was one of seven players on this year's team drafted in the 2012 draft.

The road to Omaha was a long one.

The America East Conference champions beat Miami, Missouri State and UCF in the regional at Coral Gables, Fla., and Carmona came away as the regional's most outstanding player, hitting 524 (11-for-21) with two homers and 10 RBIs, setting up their meeting LSU.

Their 52 wins are the most in college baseball.

Stony Brook could have folded, especially after three times being an out away from winning last Friday in the first game of the three-game playoff set against LSU.

Each time LSU was on the ropes, they somehow managed some last at-bat magic by tying the game with solo homers in the bottom of the ninth, 10th and 11th innings. The game was called due to rain and both teams were back playing in the morning the next day. A run-scoring single ended the game in the 12th but in the end fell short of crushing Stony Brook's dream.

Finishing up that game with the second one due up less than an hour later didn't provide them anytime to sit and reflect on the whirlwind events.

"It was hard. We had won the game a few times already. They kept hitting home runs. They kept coming back on us. Then the next day we just tried our best. We couldn't give in because if you gave in then the series is going to be harder than it is. They ended up beating us. We knew it was really, really hard to beat us twice in three days. We just came back and fought back every day," Carmona said.

As a No. 4 regional seed, Stony Brook became just the second team to reach the CWS, joining the 2008 Fresno State Bulldogs.

Can a school from the Northeast, and just the third to get this far, repeat Fresno State's run and win it all?

Carmona is aware that they're in unchartered territory with the big boys of the college baseball landscape yet he's confident that can keep it up and shock the world again.

"No one actually really truly believed that we could beat any of those teams. But all we need is the nine on the field to believe and the other people in the dugout because, at the end of the day, we're not playing their dads, we're not playing their past, we are not playing whoever they represent. We're playing the people on the field. No matter how much little things we get or how much bigger things they have, we can still win in there."

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