OMAHA, Neb. – The San Diego kid fired a complete duel with the national championship. His team-mates from Oregon State lifted him onto her shoulders as he held the trophy over his head.
And there Kevin Abel stood on the biggest stage of this sport – a real stage, which was built in the minutes between house plate and the launcher hill He caught Luke Bonfield, who wanted to break the solemn dog pile. Reporters peppered Abel with questions. Team members offered hugs.
Oregon State did not need any late game heroes on Thursday after winning the crucial World Cup game in Arkansas 5-0. It was the third national championship in baseball for the beaver.
Oregon State blinded Arkansas to win the college World Cup. That's how the beavers won the title.
Abel caught a glimpse of his parents Carrie and Rick. They embraced and shared a private moment in the midst of the most public spot that was still on the infield stage following the Beavers' 5-0 win over Arkansas.
"The only word I can think of for this game is extraordinary," said Carrie Abel. "They want your kids to reach their full potential, which is unknown, as a freshman, to come here and do that when he could not find the strike zone eight weeks ago."
Abel climbed the hill at TD Ameritrade Park Thursday night and delivered one of the most memorable pitching efforts in CWS history. It came less than 24 hours after he relieved when the beaver made an impressive comeback to deny Arkansas a championship, and four days after he had shot seven glittering innings for Oregon State through the losers bracket to the final
The real novice right-hander won four games in Omaha, a perpetual CWS record and a rescue for Oregon State, who has not made a good start from top starters Luke Heimlich and Bryce Fehmel in the six appearances here.
"I have no idea," Abel said when asked if he could understand the performance.
Pat Casey had an idea.
"It was pretty special," said the 24-year-old Oregon State coach, now a three-time national champion. "I mean, Kevin was in the middle of the year, [and] we were pulling our hair and trying to get him into the zone because his clothes were so good."
At the beginning of April in Arizona, Abel allowed three runs without scoring two innings in relief leave.
"We always told him how good he is" That could be, "said Casey.
Abel did well this month with regional games in order, with eight innings of shutout work against LSU, the Program that beat the Beavers out of Omaha a year ago.
"I believed in him," said catcher Adley Rutschman, whose play at the CWS was so dominant that he was even named "Most Outstanding Player" via Abel. "I know that everyone else believed in him. I knew he could do it. It's all mental. It's all mental to him. "
" He stepped on the plate and became such a guy for us. "
Abel threw on June 18, there were four innings against Fehmel in Washington, he only let one hit and After a three-hit, one-run berth against Mississippi State on Saturday, he entered the eighth inning Wednesday night in relief Brandon Eisert began and kept the pigs.
In the top of the ninth, Cadyn Grenier and Trevor Larnach put the beaver up
"I stole [Eisert’s] win," Abel said, "He deserves that."
Kevin Abel throws nine goalless innings, the last 20 Arkansas battles back as Oregon State wins its third CWS title.
Nobody else owed Thursday, not even Rutschman who collected three hits to raise his CWS average to 0.567 Record number of 17 hits in the 13-day tournament.
When Abel's 10th strikeout ended, Rutschman raced to the hill and attacked him in football style. The star catcher finally played in 2016 for the beaver football – he is a place kicker – and had to protect his pitcher from the incoming body mass.
"He took most of it, that's for sure, Abel said of Rutschman." Yes, my ribs hurt me. But I loved it. I could not ask for a better group of people piled up on me. "
Abel said he was going to bed with hope on Wednesday Start the winner's finale, he learned of the task on Thursday. And though Casey said he did not expect more than five innings from any pitcher in the final game of the season, Abel never thought about it.
He ran into adrenaline in mid-innings, he said, but retired the last 20 battles after three out of four Razorbacks were reached in the third inning.
"It was stress free all day," said Oregon State pitching coach Nate Yeskie. "He had to shake a little in the third round. But otherwise, it was like a throwback, with the guys pausing on four days in the big leagues.
"I'm sure somewhere, folks like Ferguson Jenkins or Goose Gossage, say, 'This is a way, kid.'
They said it Thursday night in Omaha, San Diego, Corvallis, Oregon and everywhere in between.  "I have never done anything like this," said Abel.
Maybe nobody has in the CWS.