Guest Writer: To the Midwest: Another blog about travel to the CWS!

Coming from Les Penn’s perspective! Les and Sanford drove through the night to get to Game One…

OLE MISS, National Champions!

At 3pm on Thursday, June 23rd, Ole Miss played Arkansas for a spot in the College World Series Finals vs Oklahoma. 2 hours and 6 minutes later, Dylan DeLucia had thrown an absolute gem, a complete game shutout and Ole Miss was heading to the National Championship series!

By 6pm Thursday evening, Sanford and I were in the middle of making plans, plotting our travel, and preparing to travel to America’s Heartland. Sanford Moore is a great friend of mine from Jackson, Ms. Even though separated by years of wisdom, we share the same love for Ole Miss Athletics. I finished Ole Miss in 2009, and Sanford started in 2010. It goes without saying, we’ve both been through some heartbreak with our Rebs.

There is no short route from the Jackson metro to the Midwest. Sanford picked me up, and we left my house in Canton, at 9:15 pm, next stop, Omaha, Ne. 12 hours and 39 minutes away, 820 miles. We were on the way… to the as close to perfect trip we could imagine! Around Jonesboro, Arkansas we made our first gas/coffee stop. Not too long after that, was the start of Sanford telling me “alright go to sleep, get some rest, you have to drive soon.” I finally decided to listen and got a solid 45 min nap in not long after we crossed into Missouri.

We swapped, and I started driving about an hour outside of Springfield, Mo., by the time Sanford woke up, Springfield was barely in our rearview and that would be the total sleep either of us would get until after game 1 later that night!

Night turned to morning, and we needed to stop, stretch our legs and get some food. Welcome to Clinton, Missouri. Sanford did a quick google search and we went off the beaten path to a little restaurant called Chel’s: Bakery, Espresso, and Café. To enter Chel’s you walk in the Rent-To-Own appliance store and take a right. By 7:05 we had both enjoyed our Skillets (that weren’t in skillets) and met the happiest people in Missouri. Next stop, Plattsmouth, Nebraska!

We pulled in to Carson’s lake house at 11:02 am, we made it! Freshened up, had Ice Hole Butterscotch “schnapps from up north” for the first time and then Carson, Drew, Sanford, and I jumped in the taxi for a quick ride in to Omaha. First stop, Addy’s Sports Bar (this will be a reoccurring place for the rest of this story!) We weren’t even inside Addy’s yet, and I see Steve Martens who lives 4-5 houses down from, and was in Sanford’s Aunt and Uncles wedding (which was not known to either of us at the time.) Small world!

By 4pm we decided to head closer to the stadium and stopped by Rocco’s (because why not, we had to donate to the shot board!) And then ended up upstairs at Blatt’s until it would be time to go to the game. Note: All the restaurants/bars were shoulder to shoulder Ole Miss fans, as was the stadium. For the 24,000+ fans at the stadium each day, if Oklahoma has 1,000 total in Omaha, I’d be shocked!

GAME 1: WILD

6pm, and most likely the loudest HOTTY TODDY to start a game I’ve heard! We set in right field for game 1 and the best way I could describe it would be sitting in the student section of an SEC football game. Jumping on the Sooners early, the Rebs jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Okla did threaten a little and cut the score to 4-2 but then… well then craziness happened. First McCants, then Harris, then Bench… BACK 2 BACK 2 BACK HOMERUNS! The McCants HR obviously had the place going, then Harris hits an absolute rocket, I believe 430 ft… BOMB! And I’ll be completely honest, I was still celebrating the Harris HR when Bench decided to hit one to, it was all a fog. Pure awesomeness. It was wild.

Rebs win 10-3, one game away from the National Championship!

Sunday morning, we left Carson’s lake house in Plattsmouth and went to their main street area for breakfast. We went to, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND… Mom’s Café. As Midwest as it gets, simply perfection… now back to downtown Omaha, pre-game!

Game 2: We are the Champions!

With a very kind gesture of my Uncle Tom, Sanford and I were able to upgrade tremendously for our game 2 seats. In club seats on the 3rd base side, we watched as Oklahomas ace, Cade Horton, retire rebel after rebel batter. We may as well do two things in this run to the national championship. 1, refer to game 3 against Arkansas as the DeLucia game. And 2, refer to game 2 of the finals as the Gonzo game! In the bottom of the 6th Gonzo started the scoring, hitting a solo shot to give the Rebs a 1-0 lead. The next inning, the Sooners would take a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the 8th, Gonzo tied up the game by singling to right field to score McCants. Gonzo & Bench would both go on to score on wild pitches to give the Rebs the 4-2 lead to end it! The top of the 9th was fast… like really, really quick! Brandon Johnson was as dominant as he had ever been and Okla had no chance.

It was wild, it’s honestly still wild! The Ole Miss Rebels won the National Championship! I wasn’t in Oxford in 2014 when the Rebs beat Bama, but was told by many, they’d never seen grown men cry about sports. I was there for this, and I know what they mean now. After the celebration in our seats with friends we ended up sitting by, we went down closer to field to see others. **Side not: Sanford was at the 2014 Bama game as a student & seen carrying the goal-post out of the stadium on ESPN.

Of course the party was only getting started, we eventually ended up back at Addy’s Sports Bar with Bill & Cossar Morgan for many celebratory drinks, the worlds best chicken wings and the spiciest mix-up on the wing menu! We ended the night at Moe & Curly’s where luckily there was a 2 hour wait on the karaoke list and that didn’t happen.

The next morning, at Sanford’s demand we were up and on the road by 6am, heading for central Ms. I can’t tell you much about the ride through Kansas City, and he can’t tell you much about the ride through Jonesboro. We both decided on the way back it really wasn’t that hard to sleep in the car. (And finding a neck pillow in the back seat!)

*Shoutout to the real MVP’s, our wives, Murray Ann and Hannah. Sanford and I neither one could have just up and left at 9pm Friday night and been gone all weekend without y’all doing all that you did/do!

*Thank you to Mrs Finney for letting us take your car! *Thank you to Carson for the place to stay!

TO THE MIDWEST! Hotty Toddy! Random photos!

Guest Writer: College World Series-Ole Miss wins!

Brought to you by special guest and longtime best friend of Luci’s, Courtney Burrow. This past weekend was one I will never forget! As unexpected competitors, the Ole Miss Rebels played in the College World Series…and WON! The Rebels’ journey to National Champions was a wild one and so was our spontaneous trip to Omaha.

that 7:45 pre-sunburn glow

After the Rebels beat Arkansas on Thursday, Luci, Lyncyn, and I immediately started planning our roadtrip to Omaha, more than eager to cheer on the Rebs to victory. Knowing the championship games were best 2 out of 3, we decided to take our chances and purchase tickets for Sunday’s game. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. We took a chance with no regrets…other than not wearing sunscreen. Here’s how our road to Omaha went…

Piling into Luci’s car, we left Birmingham at 7:45 am on Saturday morning with a 10 hour drive ahead of us to Kansas City, MO. Luci was excited about driving her first time through Arkansas until it felt like we were in the state of Arkansas for 4 too many hours. By the time it hit 6 pm, we became literal road Rebs while driving through Missouri and streamed the first game on Luci’s phone. In the best timing possible, we made it to a Mexican restaurant in Kansas City to finish watching the incredible first game. Back-to-back-to-back home-runs had us screaming at the restaurant’s bar TV. We then headed to our hotel in Overland Park, KS and were more than excited to get to sleep before the big game on Sunday in Omaha.

Road Rebs (shoutout to Luci’s new pop socket, Verizon and Youtube TV)
Our reactions to the back-to-back-to-back homers that would put the Rebels in the series lead 1-0.

Sunday morning at 7 am, I drove the 3 hours to our final destination, Omaha, NE. Our timing to Omaha was perfect giving us the opportunity to park and eat brunch at a local restaurant, Jams. After a couple wrong turns, we walked our way to Charles Schwab Field and met a huge crowd of Ole Miss fans at a local bar, Blatts, across the street from the stadium.

Blatt’s before the game

At 2 pm, it was game time. We found our seats high up under the scorching sun behind 3rd base. The first 7 innings were quite stressful for all three of us due to bad calls, overturned plays, close scores, and singeing skin from the sun. After Oklahoma’s score was overturned, Gonzalez hit a home-run, and OU’s catcher had a couple mess-ups, we were about ready to storm the field as National Champions. The long journey there and journey ahead all became worth it in the 8th and 9th inning as the Rebels secured the National Championship.

After the hugging and cheering had died down, we made our way back to Blatts for a victory drink and food. Morale was high and it was evidential that everyone in Omaha could not be more proud to be Ole Miss Rebels. We couldn’t get over it and kept saying it out loud to make sure it was true: “We’re national champions.” We had heard that Omaha was known for steak and ice cream, since we were already spending an arm and a leg to get to Omaha, we opted to try out the ice cream places instead of the steak houses. After we left Blatt’s, we went to TED AND WALLY’S ice cream place. It was adorable and off the beaten path, so it was not too crowded.

After a good nights sleep in Omaha (shoutout to the Hurst Family), we made our way on the long journey back to Birmingham, Monday morning at 7 am. On our roadtrip home, we were coming back with full hearts and burnt skin, had crossed off some new states (Arkansas {Luci only}, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska) and had big smiles, still pinching ourselves that we were National Champions. We did take an alternate route home in order to prevent driving across the ENTIRE state of Arkansas again. After we stopped for gas a couple times, potty breaks, lunch in Springfield, Missouri (shoutout to Makenna) and dinner in Tupelo, MS we made it back to Birmingham around 10:30 pm.

The whole weekend felt like a dream waking up in Birmingham one morning, Kansas the next, and Omaha the next. Thank you to the Lord for our safety in travel, Luci for planning and being our hype woman, and the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team for an unforgettable experience watching them win the College World Series. The atmosphere in Charles Schwab and Omaha was unlike anything else and left us feeling proud all weekend to be Ole Miss Rebels. Hotty Toddy!!

Sanford and Luci post-game celebrating the Rebs
1952.5 miles! The Best Experience! #HottyToddy
nothing like a mid-game amazon order of aloe…..