The Huskies' small private jet wasn't going to make it all the way to the other coast. Not without more gas. So they had to stop somewhere along the way.
It just so happened to be Omaha.
The Washington players never actually got to step out of the plane. But that didn't matter. They hadn't played an NCAA tournament game and yet they were all visualizing a return to college baseball's mecca two weekends later.
“We kind of joked about it,” senior Levi Jordan said. “Hey, Omaha, we'll see you in a couple weeks. We'll be right back here. It was funny. And now we're actually here.”
It seems silly. Had the mad scramble to arrange transportation worked out differently, the Huskies would have taken a more traditional route to the Coastal Carolina regional. But chartering ended up being the best option.
And the way junior AJ Graffanino sees it, every extra ounce of belief helps — especially for a program that hadn't played in a super regional before, much less made it all the way to the College World Series.
“We'd never been there,” Graffanino said. “It was something like, 'Omaha? Well, we'll try.' But we kept rolling and we started to believe in ourselves.”
Now they're here.
It's the same team that began the month of May sitting at 20-19 overall, wondering what exactly could be possible for a group that hadn't yet found a groove.
But they're 15-5 since. There was a walk-off win in the 11th against UCLA. An impressive series victory over Stanford. They came back from a 6-1 deficit to beat Connecticut and win the regional. They went to powerhouse Cal State Fullerton and took two of three in the super regional.
Team of destiny?
Maybe cool it with that kind of talk, coach Lindsay Meggs said.
After all, the Huskies were the ones on the wrong end of a nail-biter in their CWS opener. They fell 1-0 to Mississippi State, losing on a walk-off hit that landed over the head of their right fielder.
But then again, one has to wonder. It's been quite the storybook run for Washington.
“I would never use the word destiny because that implies all kinds of crazy things,” Meggs said. “But this has been a work in progress. So many people have stepped up and helped us get to where we are.”