05/22/08 — Trojans view "OnCampus" showing

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Trojans view "OnCampus" showing

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 22, 2008 4:02 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- To the victor goes the spoils.

Two days after clinching the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional championship, the Mount Olive College baseball team was the center of attention again Wednesday afternoon.

The players packed a workout room inside the Pope Wellness Center to view the ESPN show "NCAA On Campus," which filmed an episode on campus in mid-April. The 10-minute excerpt highlighted the team and its successes for the 2008 season.

School administrators, family members, friends and other supporters of the program watched the 700-student school get its moment in the national spotlight.

"It is awesome to see so many people turn out to support us, and to see so many people from the Mount Olive community here," said Trojan shortstop David Cooper. "During the game, we see the people in the stands, but it is nice to get to talk to everyone and meet them up close."

After the 30-minute program concluded, head coach Carl Lancaster took time to thank all of the supporters in attendance, as well as the players for their season-long effort.

"I think everyone here already knows what a great group of young men we have," said Lancaster. "In the classroom, in the community and on the baseball field, these guys have done a fantastic job all year."

The viewing of "NCAA On Campus" is just the first event of a hectic upcoming week for the Trojans. The team boarded a flight at 7:30 this morning for the NCAA Division II College World Series, which begins Saturday in Sauget, Ill.

No. 1-ranked Mount Olive (54-6 overall) opens play against South Central Regional champion Ouachita Baptist at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Trojans are in the same four-team bracket with defending national champion Tampa (Fla.) and Ashland.

"It is kind of crazy around here, but I guess it's not too bad," said Cooper. "I have flown quite a few times before, so to me it really isn't a big deal. It's just a matter of getting up early."

Rich Racobaldo, the regional MVP, is excited about the trip.

"I just can't wait to get out there and see what the field is like," said Racobaldo. "It will be interesting to see some of the other teams play in their opening-round games and to compare our team to them.

"If we play our best, I definitely think we can compete with anyone out there."

The Trojan third baseman also put the World Series berth in perspective.

"We just need to get to Illinois and do the same things that we have been doing, in order to be successful," said Racobaldo. "I know that I have to work the count early, look for pitches that I can drive, and then just put the ball in play with two strikes."

The Trojans will practice Friday at 12:30 p.m.