Cars lined the grassy median outside Handley’s Pub & Grub in Carolina Forest on Wednesday night.
Inside, the dimly-lit bar was standing room only - every seat had been taken.
Coastal Carolina University is in the College World Series, and this is the last game of the three-game series. The winner of this game will be crowned the champions.
The game, later canceled, had been delayed by bad weather. That didn’t stop the party inside the bar. Chants of “CCU, CCU” rang out randomly.
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“I’ve never seen it this packed before,” said Ben Andersen, a 2011 CCU alumnus. “It’s pretty crazy. Everyone’s excited waiting to watch the game. It’s a good time.”
He said this series is huge for the school and community. Of course, like everyone else, he says CCU will win.
“This is huge for our university,” said Priscilla Howell, who works in the school’s golf program. “It’s actually huge for the whole state of South Carolina to be honest with you. It’s just amazing, just amazing that we’re in this final right here. Clemson fans, Carolina fans, everyone is a Chanticleer fan right now.”
South Carolina Rep. Alan Clemmons said no matter if CCU finished on top, they’re already winners.
“They’re going to walk away a winner one way or the other,” he said. “The only difference is what color the trophy is going to be.”
He said the series is an opportunity to introduce CCU to rest of the nation.
“I also think it’ll be very meaningful in terms of charitable giving to Coastal,” he said. “They’ll see our program and folks who are interested in being benefactors will be attracted to what they see.”
But folks haven’t seen everything just yet. Around 10:30, word had spread that the game was canceled, and the packed bar began to thin out.
“I think it’s a letdown, because we all came to watch,” said Kevin Langford, who plans to come back to the bar to watch the game when it’s rescheduled. “Some of us will take off work and come down and celebrate, hopefully, a win. It’s the first time anything like this has happened to this college, so it’s something we can get behind.”
Lauren Koonce, who works for CCU, said she was hoping to see the game.
“I was excited,” she said. “Hopefully it’ll be good for the boys and they can get some more rest since they’ve been playing a few in a row.”
But for CCU alumnus and middle school teacher Caitlin White, the storm clouds that caused the postponement had a silver lining.
I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see it, but I was moving tonight, so it actually kind of worked out,” she said. “I’ll get an opportunity to maybe watch it tomorrow. We were literally packing up our house, and as soon as we got done, we were like ‘lets go, we’ve got to try and catch the game. We’ll get to watch it morrow. It kind of worked out nice.”