10 Recap: South Carolina 3, Oklahoma 2 (12)
College World Series Schedule
and Game Stories
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Belief in Bradley
thousand miles from Omaha, Neb., a high school baseball coach
sat in an Atlanta hotel room and watched as South Carolina’s Jackie
Bradley Jr. (right) stepped to the plate in the bottom of the
12th inning against Oklahoma.
“I’m sitting here thinking there’s no way in the
world I’m going to pitch to him in that situation with a guy on
second base,” said Mickey Roberts.
Roberts is the longtime coach of Prince George
High School in Prince George, Va. (about 30 miles south of
Richmond), where Bradley played on the Royals varsity for four
years. Roberts, in Atlanta with a 14-U travel team playing at
the same East Cobb complex where Gamecocks coaches first spotted
Bradley, had told his wife a couple innings earlier to “look for
him to end the game here.”
Bradley didn’t, and stepped to the plate in the
12th wearing an 0-for-5 collar as South Carolina’s last hope.
With Robert Beary on second and the Gamecocks trailing 2-1 with
two outs, the sophomore center fielder worked the count and
ripped a 3-2 pitch down the right-field line to score Beary.
After a walk to Jeffery Jones, Brady Thomas, also 0 for 5
entering the 12th, singled up the middle to score Bradley and
save the Gamecocks’ season.
“They pitched to him, and he burned them,”
Roberts said. “It didn’t surprise me when he got the hit.”
Roberts has seen it plenty of times before.
Bradley was a part of a Prince George team that
was among the better teams in Central Virginia. Joining him in
the outfield was John Bivens, who attended Virginia to play
football and this season played baseball at Virginia State and
was drafted in the 12th round. Bradley, Bivens and Roberts’ sons
– Mike Roberts (VMI) and Sam Roberts (VMI) – pushed each other
Roberts remembers Bradley, who threw a mid-80s
fastball as a pitcher in high school, as often trying to pull
the ball too much. But as he matured, he learned to use all
“I knew he had tremendous drive,” said Roberts of
Bradley, a roughly 4.0 student in high school. “He really wanted
to succeed and really wanted to do well. I knew he was going to
be good. I knew coming out of high school he would have a chance
at professional baseball.”
The rest of the college baseball world is getting
to know Bradley in a big way.
The smooth-swinging lefty launched a mammoth
homer to right in South Carolina’s College World Series opening
loss to Oklahoma (the homer came on Father’s Day, and Bradley
told his father in a note that he would hit a homer for him). He
then ripped a three-run shot to left-center as the Gamecocks
eliminated top-ranked Arizona State on Tuesday.
“The kid has worked so hard,” Roberts said. “He
deserves everything he’s getting now.”
What he’s getting is the ride of his life.
Bradley and the Gamecocks will face Clemson,
needing two wins over their bitter rival to reach the CWS
national championship series. All eyes back in Prince George,
Va., will be watching.
So will a proud high school coach.
“It doesn’t surprise me he’s doing as well as
he’s doing,” Roberts said. “The kid really wants it.”
(photo courtesy of South Carolina
Media Relations Office)