Mitch Bigras says it was a fun ride.
The Boston College sophomore and his teammates came within a whisker of the school’s first trip to the College World Series in nearly five decades.
“I enjoyed every minute of it,” said the 19-year-old. “We had a great season overall.”
After advancing through the first round of the NCAA tournament with victories over Tulane and Utah, the Eagles needed to win a best-of-three series against the favoured University of Miami Hurricanes to punch its ticket to Omaha, Nebraska and the most prestigious tournament in U.S. college baseball.
Miami was ranked second in the nation going into the series and Boston College 20th.
Boston College lost the opener, but Bigras came up big with two hits and two RBIs in a Game Two victory to force a third. The deciding match provided fireworks in more ways than one.
Bigras and his teammates took exception to excessive celebrations by Edgar Michelangeli of the Hurricanes after a seventh inning grand slam home run that punctuated a 9-4 win by the Canes.
The Miami third baseman ran halfway down the first base line before flipping his bat, and then pounded his chest and got in the face of the Boston College catcher before stepping on home plate.
Bigras didn’t have a problem with the bat flip, but said the rest of the celebration was over the top.
“I walked right over and had some words to the (Miami) bench,” which led to both dugouts emptying and more verbal jousting between the two squads.
“It wasn’t appropriate,” said the lanky first baseman. “So I was going to stand up for my team and my team was right behind me as I knew they would be,” he added.
The former member of Canada’s national junior baseball team hit safely in seven his last 10 games for the Eagles, who ended the season with a 35-22 record overall.
Bigras hit .261 with five doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs. He also drew 13 walks and scored 14 runs. He was also stellar defensively, committing just three errors in 313 chances in 32 starts at first base, and was part of 24 double plays.
Bigras will hone his skills the next few months with the Thunder Bay Border Cats of the Northwoods Baseball League. The Border Cats are the only Canadian entry in the summer league for U.S. collegiate players.
“I’m still learning a lot and hopefully I can keep building off this (past) year,” said the son of Jim Bigras, a mainstay in Sarnia Braves baseball circles.
The younger Bigras is eligible for the Major League Baseball draft in 2017.
He got a taste of that when one of his Boston College teammates, pitcher Justin Dunn, was selected by the New York Mets in the first round of the 2016 draft this month. The team watched it together online.
“It was a pretty cool experience,” Bigras said.