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'A dream come true'

July 8, 2009

Bloomfield Hills’ LeMahieu was key to LSU’s World Series title

Maybe all he needed was 20 hours in a car by himself.

Maybe, after all the hysteria, success and celebrations, that’s what it took for everything he’d just experienced to sink in.

After all, DJ LeMahieu has experienced plenty of good times during his baseball career. A standout for Birmingham Brother Rice and a two-time member of the Dream Team, big moments and big games certainly weren’t anything new to him.

Then again, he had never enjoyed a moment, or game, quite like this.

Less than a week after helping the Louisiana State University baseball team capture the 2009 College World Series from Omaha, Neb., well, it finally began to sink in.

“It’s such a whirlwind while everything is going on; it’s almost impossible to take it all in,” LeMahieu, a sophomore infielder for the Tigers, said while en route from Baton Rouge to his home in Bloomfield Hills. “I guess now that I’ve had the time to relax and actually think about everything that happened, now it’s all feeling pretty real.”

LeMahieu was a catalyst for LSU this season. After starting 67 games at shortstop as a true freshman a year ago, he started in 72 this season in the infield, leading the team with a .350 batting average.

His greatest heroics, however, came in the first game of the World Series.

Trailing the University of Texas 6-4 with two outs in the ninth, LeMahieu ripped a two-run double to tie the game. He would end up scoring the game’s winning run in the 11th inning, finishing the night with three RBIs and two runs scored.

Two games later, he helped the Tigers to an 11-4 victory, a 2-1 series win and the national title.

 “I always watched the College World Series as a kid, looking up to those guys and dreaming of some day being a part of that,” LeMahieu said. “To actually be in that position, on that stage, and win a national title, it’s something you can’t even describe.

“Every college baseball player has that dream of playing in Omaha in front of 20,000 people on ESPN with the whole country watching. It was a thrill, a dream come true.”

“Thrilling” pretty much sums up the 2009 season for LeMahieu and LSU.

The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll, rolled to a 56-17 overall record and won the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles before winning their regional, super regional, and eventually, the World Series.

“Pretty good season,” LeMahieu laughed. “Really, it just kept getting better as the year went on. It’s a season I won’t soon forget.”

Chances are good LeMahieu has plenty of memorable moments ahead of him. Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the second round of this year’s draft, his next decision centers on returning to LSU for a third season or pursuing professional opportunities.

“I’ve got some decisions to make,” he said. “It’ll be tough to leave LSU, but playing pro ball would be another dream come true. Truthfully, though, I’m just focused on enjoying this moment right now. I’ll worry about those decisions when the time is right.”


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