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Demons are real

NC State can close an ugly chapter on Monday night or leave a wound festering.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Arizona vs Coastal Carolina Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

During NC State’s 8-6 loss to Kentucky on Sunday, Elliott Avent was asked by ESPN’s crew how he handled things with his team pre-game given what happened to State the two postseasons prior. Avent was dismissive, said he made no mention of that heartbreak, and noted that a lot of his kids weren’t around for either the meltdown at TCU or whatever you want to call the loss to Coastal Carolina last year.

That’s the approach I would take, too, and we should be careful not attach meaning where none may lie if NC State loses to Kentucky on Monday night. For those on the team who endured both ever-referenced calamities, though, it would be dishonest to say that those demons aren’t real. They are, and that’s baggage this team carries.

It’s been an emotionally taxing few years on the baseball program, which has been so close to following up its College World Series breakthrough with another.

This NC State team isn’t of the same caliber as its 2015 and 2016 counterparts, but it can do something neither of those teams did by beating Kentucky on Monday night. And we could all move on in turn.