Tuesday, April 9, 2013

40 Years Later, Baseball Is Even Bigger At Vanderbilt

The only Southeastern Conference championship Vanderbilt captured while we were in school, came in our senior year of 1973, when our Centennial class member and center fielder Tommy Powell (seen above, right, holding the SEC throphy) helped spark a two-game sweep of Alabama to win the crown.

Powell is also remembered in Commodore lore for his walk-off grand slam home run to cap a 9th inning rally to beat the UT Vols, 10-9, at then McGugin Field during the 1973 championship season. And guess what? Just a couple of weeks ago, history more or less repeated itself as Vanderbilt freshman, Kyle Smith from Mt. Julet, stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 8th inning with Vanderbilt trailing the Big Orange 8-6. Watch this YouTube video to see what happened next......

 Vanderbilt won the game and swept the three games series with Tennessee. Presently the Black & Gold is 29-4 and 11-1 in the SEC, and ranked as high as second in the naion.

Even more so than when we were in school, baseball is big at Vanderbilt, with the school, under the leadership of Coach Tim Corbin, winning SEC regular season and tournament championships, as well NCAA Regional and Super Regional crowns and a berth in the College World Series in 2011. Vanderbilt has also had more than its share of players drafted into the Major Leagues, including 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, David Price and dozens of others.

But in many ways, Vandy first became a consistent SEC baseball power when we were in school with legendary coach Larry "Smokey" Schmittou building championship teams that not only won the pennant in 1973 but the next year as well in 1974. As we prepare to return to campus 40 years later, it is nice to know some things at Vanderbilt have just continued to improve over the years!

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