Clark: Baseball championship run adds intrigue to already impressive year

For the better part of the last month, I’ve used this weekly space to give sports fans some sort of look into what awaits Oregon athletics this spring.@@yes…yes, you [email protected]@

During that time, we’ve seen more than our fair share of memorable events. From Pac-12 track and field titles to the first Women’s College World Series berth in more than two decades, there hasn’t been much to complain about in Eugene recently.@@no more on what to look forward to in oregon athletics this spring!can’t…take…any…[email protected]@

But on Friday, the Oregon athletics faithful get yet another opportunity to witness history when the fifth-seeded Ducks baseball team kicks off the Eugene Regional against Austin Peay at 6 p.m. The first postseason action in PK Park’s four years of service is filled with intrigue @@[email protected]@and figures to have a great turnout over the next three days.

And regardless of the sport — whether it be the NBA playoffs, the Stanley Cup Finals or the Women’s College World Series — there is an undeniable tension in this postseason heightening the importance of every play, every pitch and every moment. Each possession, each period and each inning can make or break a team at this point in the year, and that’s what makes it so intriguing.@@[email protected]@

Like most students, I’ve made my way over to PK Park only a handful of times since the program was reinstated in 2009. Rarely, if ever, does it sell out, and Eugene’s “spring” has been blanketed in rain and mostly uninviting weather. The walk over is long, parking isn’t great and, before this season, the product on the field left something to be desired.

I don’t consider myself much of a baseball fan anymore, though there was a time when it was the sport of passion in my life. These days, the NBA and college football fill most of my competitive needs, but that won’t take away from this monumental weekend that’s about to begin.

Oregon had a breakout season this year, one many people around Eugene have been expecting (fair or not) for the last four years. The team nearly won the coveted Pac-12 title, are hosting a favorable Regional round and will have a very good shot at playing at home again for the Supers next weekend.

To me, this weekend is exactly what both the team and the fans truly need. A full house will be on hand Friday, (though, I’ve heard the beer garden will be closed down, per NCAA rules) and Pac-12 pitcher of the year Alex Keudell will be doing his thing.

This probably doesn’t sound a whole lot different than the typical Friday night game, but in the postseason, it’s so much more than that.

For Oregon baseball — win or lose — Friday will not define the rest of this season. They are the favorite, after all. But what will be different for this group is the intensity of the postseason, understanding that they’ll be treading on win-or-go-home waters in these coming weeks.

From what I know of the Ducks, they’re a mature group with a strong veteran core and an extremely talented sophomore class who will be making its postseason debut Friday evening.

I expect the environment to be nothing short of electric at PK Park. The energy that’s been mostly lacking over the years could potentially live up to original expectations. And by and large, you can bet on seeing a valiant performance from one of the best pitchers in the country.

I’ll see you there, fans.@@that’s [email protected]@

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