Auburn’s baseball success boosts morale in community after a month of tragedy

Auburn’s baseball success boosts morale in community after a month of tragedy

AUBURN, AL. (WTVM) - Auburn University’s baseball team is headed to the College World Series. With this success comes a morale boost in the community, which has suffered a lot of heartbreak recently.

“It just seemed like one thing after another," said Teresa Vigueras, owner of University Donut Company in Auburn. "It seemed like maybe we’d recover from that grief, and then something else happened.”

First, there was the loss of Auburn police officer William Buechner, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Then, there was the loss of the voice of the Auburn Tigers, Rod Bramblett, and his wife, Paula.

“For the community as a whole, it’s been a rough time,” Vigueras said.

But in the midst of this heartbreak, Auburn’s baseball team has been a bright spot.

“To have the boys go to Omaha, after the tragedy, it’s like the family coming together and supporting,” one fan, Aubrey Sarkowski, said.

For the first time since 1997, Auburn’s baseball team is going to the College World Series.

Wednesday morning, they boarded the buses to head to Omaha, Nebraska for their next game.

The women’s head soccer coach, Karen Hoopa, said the baseball team’s success personifies what the Auburn family means.

“To watch these boys play and step up and reinvirgorate the Auburn family despite all the tragedy is really impressive,” Hoopa said.

Some community members said they’re crossing their fingers for an opportunity to roll Toomer’s Corner this weekend with a baseball win.

They said they appreciate the baseball team for reminding the community sometimes celebrating success is a way to honor fallen heroes.

“In the middle of loss, they have said it’s great to be an Auburn Tiger," Vigueras said. "We’re part of this family and we’re going to leave a legacy that honors those we’ve lost.”

The Tigers’ first baseball game in the College World Series is Sunday.

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