SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah Bananas left no doubt as to who the best team in the Coastal Plain League was this year. In a winner-take-all Game 3 of the Pettit Cup, the Bananas battered Morehead City 13-3 to win the league crown for the second time in the team’s short history.
“It’s the first championship I’ve won in college. I got emotional and the guys just wanted it,” Bananas and Georgia Southern pitcher Hayden Harris explained. “With summer ball, guys want to go home as early as they can and get their work in. These guys, no, we all wanted to win something. That’s why I came here and that’s what we did.”
The Bananas won the 2016 Pettit Cup as a brand-new team that flipped the sport on its head with in-game antics and charismatic players. The team is now well-known across the world and consistently performs well in the CPL, but that hasn’t stopped some people from criticizing the Banana brand. The players knew a win tonight, however, could prove a point.
“We get a lot of good criticism, bad criticism and I don’t think any team, any college team in the world, has more pressure on their back than us,” third baseman Nick Clarno said. “We didn’t take that as pressure. We got a lot of people who say we don’t really play baseball, so this meant everything because it shows that we really do play baseball and we care.”
A night of celebration was also a bittersweet one for some of the veterans on the team. Bill LeRoy, who played the last four seasons in Savannah, just put on the Bananas jersey for the last time. He said he will never forget the standing ovation he got walking up to the batter’s box in the ninth inning.
“We have the best fans in the world,” LeRoy added. “Shout out to these guys. They support us no matter what and they’ve had out back the entire season. We wouldn’t have won as many games without them.”
Weekend sports anchor Connor DelPrete will bring you the highlights and postgame reaction on WSAV following tonight’s primetime Olympics’ coverage