LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – Back on June 8, 2023, the Hornets defeated Johns Hopkins 7-6 in game three of the NCAA Div. III Baseball Championship.
“I think my instant reaction at least internally was like man how do we get this thing home right. They give you box for it which I didn’t know and I’m like freaking out because I’m like are we going to have to check this thing or does this thing come on the plane. How do other teams do it,” said University of Lynchburg head baseball coach Lucas Jones.
It took six seasons at the helm of the Hornets for Coach Jones and his team to claim the schools first ever Division III national baseball title.
“That peak that climax of the season being able to play to the very last day and having that opportunity to perform in the national championship and fortunate to come away with it. Yeah, I think surreal is what I would put. But I would also say that it wasn’t out of context it wasn’t far off to what we believed we could do as a program.”
It’s been a season full of firsts for the Hornets and after their championship win, according to Coach Jones, the team continues to make history.
“We were very proud to represent the ODAC and then when you win you find out that ‘A’ we’re the first ODAC baseball team in the history of that conference to win a national championship makes it even more gratifying.”
Coach Jones has been a part of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference for the majority of his career. He says you can never know where you’re going without knowing where you come from.
“Being an alum playing in 04, 05, and 06 then just remembering the teams that I played on just remembering the experiences of the guys that I competed with. The string of ODAC jobs between Washington and Lee and Lynchburg and being a player in the ODAC. I think we went out to Iowa with obviously the great representation of our university but also very proud to represent the ODAC and baseball means in the state of Virginia.”
For Coach Jones the journey wouldn’t have been possible without the player who continued to buy into the program.
“We did get knocked down some and I think the fact that these guys got up off the mat and continue to kind of learn as you fail but also learn as you have success. As a coach, you look around and you’re so grateful for it and I’m grateful for those guys saying yes.”
With all the success the team has found this season. The national champions look forward to defending their title next year.