Remarkable fan support continues to be trademark for Marietta baseball

Allison Fouss has loved Marietta College baseball since 2007.

That’s when her soon-to-be brother-in-law, Nathan Eschbaugh ’10, joined the Etta Express.

Now she and her family almost never miss a game.

She doesn’t plan to miss a game of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships in Grand Chute, Wis., either.

“I knew they would make it to the World Series, so I started working on my parents early to miss graduation,” Fouss said. “When the Pioneers win the national title my graduation cap will be thrown into the air for all to see.”

That’s right, Fouss is scheduled to graduate from Marietta High School on Sunday, May 29. But she prefers to be at Fox Cities Stadium with approximately 500 other Marietta College fans.

The top-ranked Pioneers (42-3) begin their quest for a record fifth national championship at 2:15 p.m., Friday, against Salisbury (33-12). The tournament championship is played on Tuesday, May 31.

“Since (2007), every spring some of the baseball players come to my house to fish, have a bonfire or eat dinner with my family,” Fouss said. “I’ve met most of the boys’ families and honestly consider many of the players to be like big brothers to me.”

Larry Hiser, Marietta’s Director of Athletics, agrees this is a special group of young men heading to Wisconsin.

“This is a team that does the little things right both on and off of the field,” Hiser said. “Our guys aren’t looking for compliments, they understand what it takes to achieve greatness and are always working hard to represent the school in a positive manner.”

Despite the majority of the College’s students vacating campus for summer break, the team has had no shortage of supporters in the stands. The successful season has ignited Pioneer fever among the Marietta community and the faculty and staff at Marietta College.

Wendy Bartlett, Instructor of Geology, is a huge fan of the baseball team and is so proud of the way the team performed this year.

“I’m thrilled for our baseball team, that all their hard work, training, practices, and skills paid off for them,” Bartlett said. “My only regret is that the season was affected by bad weather and there weren’t more home games to attend.”

Marietta College has always had the support of the community in the surrounding areas, but this year people really feel the excitement surrounding the trip to Appleton.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have a television station, radio station and a community that want to cover and support our team,” Hiser said.

The players know this team and the support they are receiving from the community is special.

Evan Brockmeier ’13 (Marietta, Ohio) says playing for the 2011 Pioneers has been different than any he has played on before.

“This is one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of both in talent and character,” Brockmeier said. “The community support has been amazing as well and it helped so much to know that teams had to play us on our turf and face not only our team, but our fans as well.”

Despite the successful season, Brockmeier said the Etta Express will not be satisfied until they are the last team standing. “We have accomplished a lot to this point, but our task is not finished and we are very focused and driven to finish what we started out to do: win a national championship.”