Leggett and Skinner give parents memory of a lifetime
OMAHA, Neb. (WLBT) - Lennon Leggett arrived to TD Ameritrade Park well after first pitch was thrown in Saturday’s game between Mississippi State and Texas in the College World Series. So he was not immediately aware of the magnitude when his son, MSU senior Tanner Leggett, ripped a pitch into the left field gap to send the Bulldogs into the CWS finals.
“I thought we were the visiting team,” said Lennon. “So I thought if he got the run in, we’d play another inning and close it out.”
But then as a host of Bulldog players sprinted from the dugout to mob Tanner over by first base, it quickly dawned on Lennon: he just saw his son etch his name in Mississippi State lore.
“Legs got week,” Lennon recalled of Tanner’s walk-off single to secure a 4-3 victory over the Longhorns. “It’s just a moment I can’t explain.”
That same feeling of euphoria and family pride washing Tamika Skinner and she saw the game-winning sequence play out in her head before it actually happened.
The mother of Brayland Skinner, she knew the second that her son entered the game as a pinch runner at first with one out in the ninth that something interesting was going to happen.
“That kid has so much speed,” Tamika said of her sone. “I knew once he got in the game he was going to steal a base.”
And that is exactly what occurred.
Skinner swiped second on an 0-1 pitch from Texas’ reliever Cole Quintanilla. On the very next pitched, Leggett came through with his heroics and amidst the few thousand MSU fans in attendance losing their minds as Skinner rounded third and slid home, no one was yelling louder than Tamika.
“I couldn’t have imagined for a better person to score the winning run,” she said of her son. “This is just a feeling of joy that I can’t put into words right now.”
Adding to the mythos of what, to date, is probably thought of as the biggest moment in Mississippi State baseball history, is that both Leggett and Skinner came off the bench to provide their heroics.
Both players, who were also teammates at Northwest Mississippi CC, have found it tough to break into a stacked MSU lineup as everyday players this season. And because they are human, that has, at times, led to frustration with their parents serving as personal sounding boards.
“(Tanner) has been putting in hours and hours of work both at home and at school,” said Lennon who was caught on ESPN cameras in tears after Tanner’s hit.
“As a kid he always played out that moment in the backyard, bottom of the ninth, winning run on. For that to actually come up to him was so cool.”
But while there may be no words, there are still more games for Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs are in the College World Series finals for just the second time in program history, still in search of that first national championship. Tanner Leggett and Brayland Skinner may see action in the finals, or they may not, but either way their parents will be their cheering them on and ready to add to the growing memory collection.
“As a parent,” said Tamika, “This is just amazing.”
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