Memorable Moment: Bruins Win 2004 Baseball Championship

2004-2005 George Fox Baseball Team Celebrating

Several times during the 2004 NCAA Division III baseball championship game, George Fox pitcher Scott Hyde took a look at his arm and, speaking to it as if it were functioning independently of his body, asked the appendage a simple question: “What are you doing?”

Hyde’s disbelief was justified. By his own admission he was “pooped,” even before his first pitch that Tuesday in the deciding game against top-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University. And for good reason: He’d pitched two innings of relief just two days before and hurled a complete-game victory in the tournament opener on Friday.

With his Bruin pitching staff depleted because of fatigue, head coach Pat Bailey had planned to give inexperienced freshman Zach Wilson the start. Then he checked the Warriors’ lineup, which included All-American pitcher Ryan DiPietro, and felt he had no choice. He would go with Hyde.

“We were hoping to get three innings out of him,” Bailey said of Hyde, the workhorse who finished the year 14-1 with a 1.99 ERA and a nation-leading 191 strikeouts. “To have him last all nine innings, oh my goodness, it’s unbelievable.”

Hyde gave up three runs in the first three innings but settled down after that, retiring 21 of the final 23 batters he faced. The performance locked up a 6-3 victory that capped off a 40-10 season and gave George Fox its first team championship in any sport at the NCAA level.

The victory was all the more impressive in light of the circumstances: George Fox had played Aurora University (Ill.) the night before in a game that finished around midnight. “We were beat and not too happy when they told us we had the early batting practice time that morning,” recalls then-assistant coach Marty Hunter, now the Bruins’ head coach. “But we battled through it and got the job done.”

Eastern Connecticut State won the first game on Tuesday – handing George Fox its first loss in the double-elimination tournament – but Hyde and company rebounded in the winner-take-all second game that afternoon.

For his efforts, Hyde earned First-Team All-American honors and was named National Co-Pitcher of the Year and Most Outstanding Player of the Division III Tournament. He was later drafted by the New York Mets in the seventh round of that summer’s Major League Baseball draft. Bailey was named the 2004 Div. III National Coach of the Year, and shortstop David Peterson earned First-Team All-American recognition.

Not bad for a team that was unranked during the regular season and needed an at-large bid just to qualify for the 2004 postseason.