On Monday afternoon, Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy and city clerk Debbie F. Smith stood on the second floor porch outside city hall attaching a CCU banner to the railing.
A man in a car stopped at a light on Main Street.
“Yea Coastal!” he yelled through his open window.
“Go Coastal! Blain-Bellamy called back.
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On Monday night, Coastal Carolina University played the first game of the best-of-three College World Series finals against Arizona in Omaha, Nebraska.
The city rallies
“The city of Conway is overwhelmed with pride and joy that our team is performing so well in Omaha, Nebraska,” she said. “We’re not at all surprised, but we’re delighted at the outcome and very hopeful that we’ll walk away with the win.”
Blain-Bellamy earned an associate’s degree from CCU in 1972, when it was still a two-year junior college that was a branch of the University of South Carolina.
The city of Conway is going to celebrate the success that the baseball team has shown us.
Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy
“I could not have envisioned a day when we would have a full-force university with 10,000 students with a huge beautiful campus and whose baseball team is now competing in the College World Series,” she said. “Whether they win the final championship, or should they fall slightly short of that, because we’re already in the top two in the nation, the city of Conway is going to celebrate the success that the baseball team has shown us.”
She said the city is still working out the details of the celebration, because officials are not sure which day the team will arrive back home, or whether or not it will return as the national champion. But she says that city will “pull out all the stops” for the team so Conway, as well as Horry County, can help celebrate.
Already, the city has put up CCU flags down main street to support the team from home.
The sales go up
Supporting the team has become fairly trendy since CCU made it to Omaha.
Ace University Bookstore co-owner Rusty Elvington, also a CCU alumnus, said he’s seen at least a 300 percent increase in sales since CCU has advanced to the finals of the College World Series.
It’s about time for me to support my school. It’s been a while.
Normally, he said, people who have family and friends at CCU will occasionally come in and buy gear during the summer. But this summer is different.
“Everybody is coming in and buying the teal to go home and watch or go to a local restaurant or bar to watch,” he said.
Lagary Grant plans on graduating in the fall with a degree in sociology and pre-law. He said he was buying his first CCU shirt since his freshman year.
“We’re going to the world series, I’ve got to support my school,” he said. “It’s a big deal for us. It’s about time for me to support my school. It’s been a while.”
The CCU watch party
During the game, Coastal Carolina held a watch party in the school’s movie theater.
Staff member April Betsch said she’s been watching the team at home and at friends’ houses, but wanted to come and support the students during the first game. She thinks CCU will win the series.
It’s kind of a historic moment for our school.
“They have a blast out there,” she said. “Think about the pressure that they’re under and they’re still able to have such a good time. They still are staying focused. They’re definitely going to win.”
Ridge Moss, a junior at CCU, was at the watch party for the “calm and chill” atmosphere, instead of a rowdy bar.
Like almost everyone else in attendance, he believes that CCU will prevail.
“It’s kind of a historic moment for our school,” he said. “We want it more than Arizona. They’ve been there, done that.”