White Earns Landmark 200th Win in Unlikely Fashion
Coach Mike White celebrates his 200th win at BC
April 5, 2012
Bluefield baseball manager Mike White earned his 200th win as a coach after the team picked up a 5-4 come-from-behind win over #7 Tennessee Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon at Bowen Field.
The Rams (19-16, 3-10 AAC) fell behind 4-0 in the third inning to the visiting Bulldogs (27-8, 10-1) in the first game of a doubleheader.
Mike White with Assistant Coach Ryan Lambert following White's 200th Career Win
Still trailing by four in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Rams were finally able to get some offense against Tennessee Wesleyan left-hander Josh Culler. Bluefield centerfielder Alex Riley singled and advanced to second on a throwing error.
After Kyle Long was retired on strikes, second baseman Zac Russell-Myers singled to centerfield on the first pitch he saw, bringing Riley in to score from second and giving the Rams their first run of the game. Joe Gatewood followed with a double tucked down the third baseline to score Russell-Myers.
After Corey Collins was brought in to pitch for Tennessee Wesleyan, Kaleb Long singled to score Gatewood and close the deficit to one run before the Bulldogs were able to put a stop to the sixth-inning rally.
The Rams trailed 4-3 heading into the bottom half of the seventh and final inning. Collins got two quick outs, retiring Andrew Dickerson and Joey Andrews in just three pitches.
With Bluefield down to its final out, Riley singled to left field. The next hitter, Kyle Long, snuck a single up the middle just out of reach of the middle infielders. As Long rounded first base toward second, the return throw from the Tennessee Wesleyan outfielder sailed over the head of his cutoff man and bounced down the first baseline into right field. Riley was able to walk in from third to score the tying run and Long came around to score the game-winning run.
Long, who was 0-3 on the game before that at-bat, said he was just looking to hit the ball hard.
“Thank God they booted it,” said Long. “I was coming around second base and they threw it away. I knew then I was going to try to score and try not to give out rounding third base.”
The game marked the first conference loss of the season for Tennessee Wesleyan.
“There’s not many people in the league that’s going to beat those guys,” said White. “They’re just so talented and play so hard and are so well coached, getting a win against those are going to be few and far between. They’re going to be hard to get.”
With the win, White earned his 200th career win at Bluefield.
“He was thrilled to get it like this, especially from a really good team,” said Long. “The way we took it away from them, it was a great moment.”
White said the win was even more special because it came against Tennessee Wesleyan. The Bulldogs are not only the perennial toughest team in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, but their coaching staff is full of former Rams. Assistant coach Stephen Baker played at Bluefield and was an assistant under White. Their manager, Billy Berry, was a standout baseball player at Bluefield and coached the team for two seasons before White was hired.
“Coach Berry is one of the reasons I’m actually here,” said White. “He was the one that pushed me to actually take this job seven years ago when he left.”
White has built an impressive resume since he took over coaching duties in 2006. In 2009, Bluefield won 39 games en route to the school’s first ever NCCAA World Series national championship. The same year, he was named the NCCAA National Coach of the Year.
The following season White led the Rams to their most wins in school history, going 41-16 and making a second consecutive appearance in the NCCAA World Series Championship Game.
He has also propelled players into professional baseball careers.
As White neared his 200th win, his wife, Michele, came up with an idea to celebrate the event.
“Coach (Ryan) Lambert texted me earlier this week when they won game 198 and asked what I was going to do for game 200,” said Michele White. “I woke up the next morning with an idea. His favorite charity is St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, so I decided to raise $200 in honor of his 200th win.”
The initial goal of $200 was far surpassed. She said donations have already topped $500 and more were still coming in.
White and the Rams will be looking to continue to add to the win total as they work to keep their record above .500 and stay eligible for postseason play.
Tennessee Wesleyan won the second game of the doubleheader 4-0.