Asian America may never again see a Division I college baseball team anything like the 2007 Oregon State University nine which captured it’s second consecutive College World Series championship Sunday in Omaha. Five players on the star-studded squad are of Asian ancestry—All Pac-10 shortstop Darwin Barney, spectacular second baseman Joey Wong, outfielder Mike Lissman, designated hitter Jason Ogata and defensive specialist Koa Kahalehoa.
The quintet, supported by assistant coach David Wong (yep, he’s Joey’s dad) and team trainer Keita Shimada, helped lead the Beavers to conquer strong contingents from Arizona State, CSU Fullerton, Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina and Rice University on their way to a rare back-to-back college baseball championship.
Barney, a smooth-fielding 5-10, 175 shortstop, was the Pac-10’s Player of the Year and a fourth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs. He blasted a two-run homer in the decisive game against the Tar Heels and stroked two RBI singles against UC Irvine.
He also provided the Beavers with steadying leadership on and off the field, contributed offensively and started what will be remembered as the play of the series.
In Game 4 of the CWS against a surging CSU Fullerton with a runner on first and one out, Barney, who was once considered too small to play big-time baseball, scooped up a slow roller, submarined the ball to Wong who, while airborne and perpendicular to the ground, flipped the ball to first baseman Jordan Lennerton to complete an amazing double play. ESPN featured the Barney-to-Wong-to-Lennerton play as one of its Plays of the Week.
Bona fide slugger Lissman, who led the Beavers in round trippers, homered against Fullerton and blasted a three-run shot as OSU destroyed Arizona State in Game 8. He hails from Ontario, Oregon, where his mother Margie Yasuda owns a Japanese restaurant.
Wong and DH Ogata had three hits apiece against ASU.
Along with the Derek Jeter-like Darwin Barney, Wong, Ogata and Lissman are considered legitimate MLB prospects.
- OSU Baseball Homepage
- 2007 College World Series Wrap Up, ESPN
- Joey, David Wong Feature, Salem Statesman Journal
- Darwin Barney Feature, Portland Tribune
- Jason Ogata Feature, Portland Tribune
- Pre-College World Series Feature, Beaverton Valley Times
- Mike Lissman: “I’m here to play baseball.”
- For the haters, Mike Lissman Charged, Argus Observer
- NCAA Kicks Blogger Out of CWS Press Box, NPR