Seniors Branndi Melero, left, and Morgan Estell helped send Auburn to its first College World Series
By Charles Goldberg
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Carlee Wallace had such a good time at the College World Series that she plans to come back next year.
With her teammates. On another business trip. With the idea of winning it all.
"It's such a blessing to the part of something this great," said the Auburn catcher after her Tigers won two of their first three Series games before being knocked out by defending national champion Florida 3-2 in extra innings Sunday.
It was a wild tournament for Auburn, including a first-round loss, a win over rival Tennessee, 10-inning 11-10 win over UCLA that took more than four hours to play and a loss to the defending national champion Gators on a play at the plate. Auburn made it to the World Series Final Four along with LSU, and Florida and Michigan, which will meet for the national title.
Did Wallace have fun? Must have. She went 6-for-13 with six RBIs during the week and made a nice spin tag to get Francesca Martinez at the plate in the eighth inning Sunday after a catch and great throw by outfielder Morgan Estell. Ah, but the real fun came Saturday day, and Saturday night, in two wins against Tennessee and UCLA.
"I think I can speak for all of us when I say we all had a blast," Wallace said. "That's what you live for.
"I think from here on out we will be draw from this experience. I think it bound us as a team, and that's something no one will be able to take from us."
It was a record-breaking season for Auburn, with those 56 wins, an SEC Tournament title, its first Super Regional and its first World Series.
"I think we did a pretty darn good job for not ever having been here," said pitcher Lexi Davis. "It was a season of firsts for us. We came in with nobody really expecting us to do anything, and I think that really propelled us to prove people wrong.
"We knew with the coaching and the talent we had, we knew we could do it. That's what we went out and did."
As for the season, "it's one we'll never forget."
Coach Clint Myers promised there's more where that came from.
"We'll be back," he said after the game.
Myers should know. He took Arizona State to seven World Series in eight years and won two of those, before coming to Auburn before the 2014 season. He's seen results on the field, and off of it, saying the World Series experience will pay dividends.
"It's not the end of the world, as I explained to the girls, because it's really the start of something new," he said. "We told them at the very beginning we're going to start a legacy at Auburn. Our plan is now an expectation: To be at the College World Series each and every year.
"Commitment, achievement to a legacy."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine