BRANSON MO NEWS: In the middle of the huddle, Joey Lucchesi spoke up.The Southeast Missouri State baseball team faced Jacksonville State in the final game of the 2016 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. The top-seeded Redhawks staved off elimination earlier in the day with a 10-7 win over Jacksonville State, and had to beat the Gamecocks again to win the double-elimination tournament.It was Sunday, May 29. Lucchesi, a left-handed starter, was working on just one day of rest, having pitched a complete-game, 119-pitch shutout against Morehead State on Friday.
Before the game, then-Redhawks coach Steve Bieser summoned his players.“He said something like, ‘Give it your all,’” Lucchesi recalled in an Instagram direct message. “‘No matter what, don’t give in. We’ve been working for this moment all year.’”Lucchesi, a senior, knew it could be his last college game. He thought he had a few innings of relief stored in his otherwise drained left arm. He told Bieser he wanted the ball.“I didn’t want to let that guy down,” Lucchesi said.Lucchesi didn’t.‘Kind of a secret’Bieser had an advantage when it came to convincing Lucchesi to leave behind Chabot College, in California’s Bay Area, and join SEMO.He already had Lucchesi’s catcher on the roster.Before Lucchesi, a native of Newark, California, made the transition from Chabot to Cape Girardeau, Scott Mitchell did it.Mitchell caught for Chabot in 2013 after spending 2012 with Long Beach State, but transferred to SEMO and began playing in 2014. He was the key to recruiting Lucchesi, who, Bieser said, was “kind of a secret.”“Nobody was on him,” Bieser said. “We were lucky.”So Bieser enlisted Mitchell to help coax Lucchesi to the Midwest.“His catcher told him, ‘Hey, it’s not so bad to come from California to Southeast Missouri,’ …
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