Locals travel to Omaha for CWS

Published 12:10 am Sunday, June 15, 2014

NATCHEZ — When Matthew Hall watched Ole Miss beat the University of Louisiana-Lafayette 10-4 in the Super Regionals, it was a no-brainer the Natchez native would travel to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series.

“There was no doubt,” Hall said. “Even before this year, I told my wife if we ever make it (to Omaha), I’ve got to go.”

Hall said he was always a Rebel at heart, and has always been a fan of Ole Miss.

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“I grew up a fan my whole life, went to college in 2006 and graduated in 2010,” Hall said. “(After high school) I applied to one school and one school only.”

In his four years at Ole Miss, he witnessed the Rebels get as close as five innings away from Omaha, but they never seemed to be able to get over the hump.

“We’ve been so close in 2006 against Miami and 2009 against Virginia, we always felt pretty snake bit,” Hall said. “But to see we were going to Omaha was a relief and then exciting.”

With Ole Miss’ fate decided on Monday, Hall had less than a week to plan a 14-hour road trip to Omaha before Ole Miss plays Virginia at 7 p.m. today.

Hall was able to gather up a few friends from Jackson, and a lifelong friend and Natchez native, Mattie Smith, for the ride.

Smith said she knew she could count on Hall to make the strenuous trip.

“As soon as we won the Super Regionals, I kept saying ‘I’ve got to go to Omaha,’” Smith said. “I knew Matthew (Hall) wouldn’t miss it either.”

To make the trip more than a just a drive, Hall said the group of friends would make stops on the way to Omaha and enjoy food and entertainment from other parts of the country.

“Prices are way too high to fly, but we’re going to stop at places in Kansas on the way,” Hall said. “But it’s going to be a straight shot back.”

Hall and Smith said they’re hoping to be a part of a intense atmosphere of Rebel-spirited fans in Omaha.

“I think it’ll be a great atmosphere,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’m hoping the Rebels can pull out a couple of wins.”

Regardless of win or lose, Smith said she is proud of the progress the baseball program has made within the past few years.

“The team has really come around, and I think we’ll definitely be coming back to Omaha soon,” Smith said. “I don’t think we’ll have to wait another 42 years.”