Mississippi State championship celebrated at M-Braves game

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 9:17 PM CDT
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PEARL, Miss. (WLBT) - The party that started over a week ago in Omaha has made its way to the center of Mississippi.

The newly crowned national champion Mississippi State baseball team was celebrated at Trustmark Park as part of “Maroon” Friday ahead of the Mississippi Braves’ game with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. MSU shortstop and Raymond-native Tanner Leggett and pitcher Preston Johnson of Crystal Springs were the guests of honor. Even after having time to digest the thrill of winning the College World Series, the Bulldo duo still stunned at just how supportive their home fans have been in the time since their return.

“It’s been exciting,” said Leggett in between signing autographs with young MSU fans, “Seeing so many people in the community and the city wearing maroon around, it’s awesome.”

The Trustmark Park crowd got another chance to cheer on both Leggett and Johnson, as the two took the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitches.

Johnson went first and actually sailed his pitch over the catcher and into the back stop behind home plate. It was a shock to the crowd to see a national champion pitcher overthrow a pitch, however Johnson saw it coming.

“I haven’t picked up a ball since I was in Omaha,” Laughed Johnson who obviously threw his pitch from the mound. “I told them I’m going to throw it over his head. I guess I kind of jinxed myself.”

After seeing what Johnson did, Leggett took no chances with his pitch, throwing it from in front of the mound and making sure he got a strike over the plate. It goes to show just how unnerving a first pitch can be, considering that Leggett was in a much more pressure-packed situation back in Omaha and wasn’t fazed. His walk-off single against Texas in the semifinals sent Mississippi State to the championship series, and it’s a moment that, even now, Leggett still runs back in his head.

“Plenty of times,” he said when asked how often he thinks about it. “It comes up in conversation with friends. It’s awesome though, it still brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it. ”

The memories of what they accomplished still fresh, but both Leggett and Johnson are happy to have a little bit of down time now.

The exhaustion of playing 68 games takes it toll and so for them now, it’s all about relaxing with friends and family at home and continuing to bask in the glory of capturing the first ever national championship at Mississippi State.

“It’s something you always dream about and now that you’ve done it, what do you do now?” Johnson said. “we were in Omaha for 16 days and now we’ve been home for a week and the week feels like it’s two days, Omaha felt like it was forever.

“It’s good to be home.”

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