KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- In Game Two of the Knoxville Super Regional Alcoa alumnus and Tennessee reliever Redmond Walsh put the game to bed for the Volunteers helping punch their ticket to the College World Series for the first time in 16 years. In that final out, a longtime dream for Walsh came to fruition.
Redmond grew up with a baseball and bat in his hand, developing a love for the sport before he could even pronounce it correctly.
“He couldn’t talk hardly, but he’d say I want to be a ‘professionable’ baseball player. He couldn’t say professional,” Redmond’s dad Patrick Walsh said. “It was the only sport he loved growing up.”
Redmond kept a baseball in his hand from T-ball, to travel ball, and in high school for the Tornadoes as a four-year letterman and captain.
The senior southpaw knew he wanted to play college ball in the SEC. Redmond grew up sporting orange and white, so when he got the opportunity to continue his career at the University of Tennessee it almost seemed as if it was destiny.
“It’s just such a great story. Smaller kid, who worked his way up and took advantage of opportunities, fought hard,” Patrick said. “And it’s paid off.”
When the Vols made it to Omaha in 2005 Patrick offered to take Redmond but he declined, he wanted his first trip to College World Series to be when he played in one.
“He said after that I’d love to go other times, but I don’t want to see it for the first time until I’m a player,” said Patrick.
The World Series conversations carried over from the Walsh household into Tennessee’s clubhouse Redmond’s freshman year with the core group of the now-seniors, saying they would one day play on College Baseball’s biggest stage.
“I remember hearing them in their freshman year saying we’re going to get to Omaha. At the time I believed because I heard their enthusiasm, knew what kind of talent they had, knew how hard workers they were, and then when coach (Tony) Vitello came in and the staff, you could almost see it coming together,” Patrick said. “To be honest, I’ve known for the last three, four years it’s going to happen. It was just a matter of when.”
On June 13, those Omaha dreams became a reality. The Vols unleashed on the LSU Tigers, hitting six home runs to help punch their ticket to the College World Series. The final out and the dog pile that ensued was a special moment for everyone at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, but especially for Patrick and the Walsh family who got to see their son be the last guy on the mound.
“It was emotional for me and my family,” Patrick said. “When I first saw him run out there it was emotional for me, then to see the way they finished, the dogpile, thinking about all the stuff he gone through, it really got to me.”