By Dave Wagner
Clovis High alum Jason Seefeld never quite made it to the College World Series. Neither did longtime Texas Tech coach and Dora native Larry Hays.
Both are delighted, though, to see the Red Raiders marching into this year’s event, starting Saturday at Omaha, Nebraska.
“I think they have a pretty good chance,” said Seefeld, a 2004 CHS grad who played for Hays at Tech from 2006-08. “They’ve already played (Big 12 rivals and CWS qualifiers) TCU and Texas, so they know how they stack up with them. I don’t think they’re intimidated by anybody up there.”
Tech (45-19) is matched up with TCU (47-16) at 1 p.m. (MDT) on Sunday. The eight teams are broken into two four-team, double-elimination brackets, with the bracket winners meeting in a best-of-3 championship series scheduled for June 23-25.
“Coach (Tim) Tadlock has done an amazing job,” said Hays, who coached the Red Raiders for 22 seasons (1987-2008) and won nearly 1,500 games at the school. “I saw them early in the year and I thought they had some good arms. I didn’t know if they could hit, but I thought they had a lot of good arms and could really pitch.”
The Red Raiders were pushed hard by College of Charleston in last weekend’s best-of-3 super regional at Lubbock, posting a pair of 1-0 wins over the Cougars — the first time that’s happened in the super regional era.
Seefeld, 28, who helped Clovis High reach the Class 5A state finals as a senior in 2004, spent his freshman season at the University of Arizona before transferring to Tech. Now married, he still lives in Lubbock and is in grad school working on a Master’s degree in accounting.
He said he saw a number of Red Raiders games this season.
“They’ve gotten some improvements to the field, and that’s helped,” he said. “Coach Tadlock is a good recruiter and a great coach.”
Hays is most impressed with the Red Raiders’ young pitching staff, which includes several freshmen.
“The best thing about them is they don’t panic,” he said.
He, too, didn’t anticipate at CWS run — at least not yet.
“They finished fourth in the league, or something like that,” Hays said. “I felt like next year might be their year.”