The Diamond Heels are in position, as will be their biggest fan.
What happened last season notwithstanding, Carolina is in great shape to win two games this weekend in the NCAA super regional and make a seventh trip to the College World Series under Mike Fox.
The Tar Heels rolled through the regional with three straight wins, and those same bats that came alive against N.C. A&T and Houston will have to be just as hot against a good pitching staff from Stetson. But this is what they have played for all season, a top seed and the home-field advantage.
Roy Williams, who is as big a baseball fan as there is in Chapel Hill, will be in his familiar seat behind home plate taking in every pitch, no matter the extreme heat or threat of storms. Ol’ Roy held forth last weekend, as the temperatures drove most fans under the grandstand roof. Williams stayed put in his seat.
He and Fox are good friends and Roy has made every trip out to Omaha to cheer the Diamond Heels on to win one of those dad gum national championships. They both hale from the Asheville area, and Fox was also a JV basketball player here in the 1970s and stared for the Diamond Heels.
Williams was already gone home to coach high school basketball and did not come back to join Dean Smith’s staff until the year after Fox graduated. But they reconnected when Williams returned to Chapel Hill, and the lifelong Yankees fan now calls Carolina his favorite baseball team.
Stetson has some stud pitchers, according to reports, but I cannot believe the Heels are going to let another David beat them this year in their own ballpark. Although baseball season can be long and slow, when those ACC opponents start showing up at The Bosh in April and May, fans starting coming in droves.
Another sold-out crowd will be making some noise from the first pitch, and it won’t subside until well after Fox’s team punches its ticket to Omaha for the first time in five years.
And if the Diamond Heels make it back, Williams will be there again pulling for his pal to get the big trophy that has somehow eluded him. Something that really stands out about UNC athletics is how all the coaches help each other in recruiting and pull for each other to keep the karma going.
This is a big weekend to do just that. You’re already home, Heels, so bring it!