Athlete of Week: Beckwith fuels Coastal’s title run

ccubase-beckwithCoastal Carolina pitcher Andrew Beckwith won all three of his starts at the College World Series, was named Most Outstanding Player, and was even voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week for leading the Chants to the national championship.

But just as Beckwith showed with his dominating performances from the mound, he’s an even better teammate than a pitcher. In the face of all the accolades Beckwith acquired on his team’s amazing Omaha run, he still deflects credit to those around him.

“This coaching staff is unbelievable, and the senior class pushed everyone from the start,” the junior right-hander said. “when we got back from the fall we had just one goal: Go to Omaha and win it all, and we went to Omaha and won it all. We won the national championship.”

Beckwith isn’t the only one who still has to state that at out loud in order to believe it, and his play down the stretch typified the Chants’ late-season surge. He earned the decisive win in relief at the NCAA Regional final in Raleigh, defeating host NC State. In the Super Regional in Baton Rouge, the got the win that sent the Chants to Omaha for the first time.

Beckwith was an even bigger beast in Omaha, pitching back-to-back complete games to defeat No. 1 national seed Florida in the opener and TCU in an elimination match. He allowed only one run in each outing, and was handed the ball for the deciding game against Arizona. He went 5 2/3 innings to earn his third victory of the CWS and improve his nation’s-best record to 15-1.

“It’s just an unbelievable feeling, and it couldn’t happen to a better group of guys,” said Beckwith, who joined in the dogpile at TD Ameritrade Park. “I know the hard work everyone put in to get here and it’s great to see it pay off for us.”

Beckwith was named the Most Outstanding Player of the CWS, and also was given the Olson Award for the Breakout Player of the Year. His side-arm and submarine pitching styles baffled hitters on both sides of the plate, posting 73 strikeouts to only 15 walks on the season and finishing with a 1.94 ERA. Yet Beckwith was happier to deliver the biggest trophy to longtime CCU coach Gary Gilmore.

“He’s been coaching for 21 years, and he deserves every bit of it,” Beckwith said of the National Coach of the Year. “We got him to Omaha and we got him a national championship. The senior class, the hard work in the fall, the dedication of the guys who don’t play much. It doesn’t go unnoticed. It was a full team effort the whole College World Series, and we got it done.”

That’s the best thing about Beckwith winning so many awards: Not only does he deserve them, but he acts like he doesn’t.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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