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Abby Hill | | June 14, 2014

Hill: Welcome back, Cardinals

  Louisville fans Abby Broderick and Laura Russo came prepared to the CWS.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Louisville is the only returning team from the 2013 College World Series.

Because of this, Cardinals fans have a leg up on the other fans, because they know what to expect out of this overwhelming experience.

"Oh yeah, I am glad to be back here," self-proclaimed super fan Bob Hecht said. "I thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to come here [last year], and now it's a second in a lifetime opportunity."

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Hecht is a Louisville alumnus who has lived in Louisville, Kentucky, his entire life. Traveling to Omaha with Louisville last year was a dream come true for him.

"My favorite memory from last year was when we arrived, driving down 12th Street and seeing the profile of the 'Home of the Men's College World Series' sign for the first time," Hecht said.

This year, the Cardinals fans are old pros.

"This year I feel like I know the lay of the land and know how everything works," Hecht said.

Laura Russo, another returning Louisville fan, feels the same confidence this go-round.

"This year, I knew to make a sign," Russon said. "I am hoping to get on TV."

"Also, I feel like I know the city more this year."

Russo, girlfriend of third basemen Alex Chittenden, also believes the players have an added confidence about being back in Omaha.

"Last year they were just wide-eyed, like deer in headlights," Russon said. "We have five seniors this year, so I think the team is more comfortable and they know what to expect from the fans."

There is one player from Louisville who has never played in a CWS, but is no stranger to Omaha.

First basemen Grant Kay is from Omaha, so this year is also a return for him.

Kay's grandfather Jim said, "I have been here before, because we are from here, but I am glad to be here to watch my grandson."

As for helping the Louisville players and fans with things to do in Omaha, "We have not really given any Omaha tips, but I think Grant has given a lot of suggestions," Jim said.

The Kays hope the Cardinals keep winning and stay in Omaha for awhile.

Russo will be here. "I plan on being here for a while, because I am here until it's over."

If the Cardinals have their way, the #L1C4 (Louisville first, Cardinals forever) spirit will be a fixture on the streets of Omaha for years to come.


Division I
Baseball Championship
June 14 - 24, 2024
Charles Schwab Field Omaha | Omaha, NE

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