OUR VIEW: What a season, Panthers

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, June 8, 2022

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LaGrange College’s baseball season ended on Monday night, following an incredible run in the NCAA Division III Championship.

The Panthers were two wins from playing for the national championship, finally running out of gas after several late nights. One of their games didn’t even start until after midnight. And, of course, the trip from LaGrange to Cedar Rapids, Iowa is no cakewalk.

Of course, baseball was the easy part for the Panthers.

The team was good all season, one of the highest ranked teams in the country. This edition of the LaGrange College baseball team made history, becoming the first to host a NCAA Championship on its campus.

It also overcame tragedy in the loss of pitchers Jacob Brown and Stephen Bartolotta in a deadly car crash several weeks ago. LaGrange native Rico Dunn also died in that crash. All of the state’s media came running to LaGrange to tell that story — the loss of three men who died way too young. It was heartbreaking.

Very few outlets stuck around to explain what happened next, such as a community coming together for a candlelight vigil to celebrate all three men. Or the Panthers putting their gloves back on and getting back on the baseball diamond.

For many, everything that happened would be too much to overcome. There’d be too much emotion. But the Panthers dug deep, and they made a heck of a run toward a national championship.

The truth is it’s been a roller coaster ride for LaGrange College the last few weeks. And yes, everyone in LaGrange would’ve loved to be celebrating a championship right now.

However, some things are bigger than winning and losing. The Panthers left it all on the field, overcoming more than any other team on the diamond. The season is over, but we encourage the Panthers to keep their heads up and applaud them on an amazing season.