Stony Brook junior William Carmona was walking around the streets of Omaha earlier this week when he was stopped by some strangers.
“Do you play for Stony Brook?” … “Are you Willie?”
It’s a moment Carmona will never forget.
“I come from a pretty bad neighborhood,” said Carmona, who’s from Hempstead, N.Y., which is just east of Queens. “For a kid that grew up with very little to come to a place and everyone know him, it’s unbelievable. Shocking.”
Stony Brook was a fan favorite in Omaha from the moment it clinched its first-ever College World Series berth. The bandwagon was so large, one player’s parent studied the Seawolves fans sitting in his section behind the team’s dugout before Friday’s opener and quipped, “I don’t recognize anybody here.” Usually it’s families-only, he said.
The Seawolves couldn’t live up to the hype, though, getting out-scored 21-3 in two losses. They were eliminated by Florida State on Sunday.
But the support they received helped them cherish the event.
Junior outfielder Travis Jankowski said it exceeded his expectations. Coach Matt Senk expressed his gratitude in the press conference after Sunday’s game.
Said Senk: “It would be completely remiss of me not to thank the people of Omaha. We heard how they root for the underdog and take a team on. It was very clear from the moment we got here that they were on our side. I want to thank all those people on behalf of my team and our university.”