Sunflower Slate hustled and got ESU hero Kellen Lane on the phone Thursday night (thanks to a little help from Josh Slaughter) after his dramatic, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth sent the Hornets to Saturday’s NCAA Division II College World Series title game in Cary, N.C. Lane, a senior from Borger, Texas, played junior-college ball at Odessa (Texas) College before coming to Emporia.
SS: What do you remember about hitting the homer?
KL: I was just looking for a base hit. I wasn’t running that hard because I knew it was either going to be caught or we just won the game. I got to see it go out. I was thinking fastball and I got my hands started then it winded up being curveball and I poked it out. My first thought was that my teammates give me a hard time because I don’t hit home runs. I told them I saved it for the big one.
SS: Ever hit another game-winning HR?
KL: First-time ever. You always dream about it as a little kid. You dream about it but you never think it’ll actually happen.
SS: Have you talked to your family yet?
KL: My dad, my aunt, my uncle and my grandma were here and my mom and stepdad just flew in today. It was awesome. A lot of them haven’t seen me play in a couple of years — seeing their reaction was awesome — they were ecstatic. My aunt and my grandma cried. My mom, I don’t ever think I’ve seen her cry, but she was so happy she couldn’t even talk. My dad always has words of advice — he kind of knew I was going to get a base hit but he didn’t expect that either.
SS: What has this run been like? You guys really turned it around after a hot start and a shaky finish, including the MIAA Tournament.
KL: It’s amazing — completely turning it around after the conference tournament. We had to kind of become a family again. We managed to get some good things going and now we’re rolling. It’s not over yet.