All hail the Rally Banana for it hath struck again.
Sports, especially baseball, are labeled as unpredictable heavy doses of insanity – you never know what’s coming next.
But the best, most improbable stories, the ones that will live on through generation after generation, they develop an aura of predictable madness in the biggest moments.
Mississippi State baseball and the rally banana-inspired postseason run has reached that point, and honestly, they’ve been in that rare air for several games now.
Early Tuesday morning, before the sun had even fully climbed near its usual heights for a game in TD Ameritrade, under a cloudy, rain-puzzled sky, Jordan Westburg blasted the latest chapter in the rally banana saga.
North Carolina starter Austin Bergner had breezed through the first four outs, commanding a plus fastball and changeup, before a bloop single, an error, and Luke Alexander-laced single loaded the bases. Dustin Skelton struck out swinging for out number two, Bergner’s third strikeout in the five outs recorded.
He was going to get out of it, or so it looked, but then came Jordan Westburg. Westburg is the mastermind behind the rally banana craze, and there was just a feeling of inevitability – a feeling that he was going to do something for the record books and folklore.
Something was done, alright (a grand slam counts as something, right?). Westburg, who had one home run on the season, pulverized a 1-2 hanging breaking ball, depositing it over the left field bullpen and into the stands.
TD Ameritrade is a pitcher’s park, but Jordan made it seem small. His eyes widened as he saw the pitch coming – he knew what was at stake.
Bergner rebounded, retiring the next sixteen batters in order, but his one mistake – a breaking ball that forgot its wipeout – lifted Mississippi State to an early lead, leaving Bergner only able to mouth “oh shit” as he watched the grand slam sail out of the park.
The Bulldog offense was silent for the next five innings, but they exploded for an eight-run eighth, capped by a bases-clearing double from Jordan Westburg, who finished the day with seven RBI.
Mississippi State, behind a suddenly scorching bat from Banana President himself, Jordan Westburg, the starter of the banana craze, is now just one win away from advancing to the championship series.