Former CSU players remember a national championship 15 years lat -, GA News Weather & Sports

Former CSU players remember a national championship 15 years later

(Source: WTVM File) (Source: WTVM File)
(Source: WTVM File) (Source: WTVM File)
(Source: Paul Stockman/WTVM) (Source: Paul Stockman/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It’s a day a player never forgets— winning a national championship.

Fifteen years ago, the Columbus State baseball team clinched what is so far, their only title on a sunny June afternoon.

Our Paul Stockman caught up with a few members of that Cougar team and shares the story of a bond that’s lasted a decade and a half.

“Two outs in the bottom of the 9th. Two-run Cougar lead.”

Fifteen years have passed, but they remember the moment without hesitation.

They had their best hitter up, three-hole hitter, winning run on base, said catcher Andrew Ginther.

I threw that last pitch and he hit it and honestly I didn’t know where it went until I kind of turned around and saw Shawn Sewell running after it,” said pitcher Jason Burdette.

Everybody takes in a deep breath and is like “Oh God.” Shawn runs under it and makes the catch and its pandemonium from there.

“They’ve done it! They’ve done it!”

“I just ran out there. Didn’t know if I was going to have enough energy to jump up in his arms or what, so I sat there and grabbed him and before I knew it, the dogpile just landed on top of us and it was awesome,” said Ginther.

“It’s kind of like an out of body experience. Everything leaves you and you go blank. You come back later after the game sometimes,” said shortstop Chris Gilstrap.

“I never really jumped on the pile, I just went out there and met all the guys, but it was fun to watch,” said Head Coach Greg Appleton.

“The Cougars are the National Champions.”

Unable to forget a historic day, now 15 years later, they return to Ragsdale Field, where the magic season began.

Swapping stories, reliving old times, and strengthening a bond more than a decade old.

“It’d be just like old times because we were one big family,” said Gilstrap.

“We just pick up where we left off,” said Koon.

A trophy in the case, an outfield wall dedication— both great reminders of a dream season.

But these moments are the ones they’ve cherished since that warm June afternoon.

“That was probably the most special thing about this team is you never saw one or two of us, you saw 15 of us,” Gilstrap said.

“Just remembering the anniversary of the World Series and just telling stories of things I’ve forgotten even over time,” said Appleton.

Fifteen years have gone by, and their bond will grow stronger for the next 15.

A couple of guys on that team went on to become coaches themselves— Chris Gilstrap is at Hardaway, and Northside’s Dee Miller also enjoyed a slice of the championship pie that season.

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