From Colleton County to college baseball glory

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) -- In this weekend's super regional, you won't see Savannah State, which is no surprise. But it was a surprise that you saw them in the tournament at all.

What the Tigers did was almost surprise everyone watching the tournament.

The small school, playing in their first ever NCAA tournament, was led by a guy who is small in stature, but big in heart. Colleton County's Darien Campbell ended his career in a 3-2 loss to Alabama in the Tallahassee regional.{}

"I'm not that big," said Campbell. "I'm 160, 5-foot-5. Coming out of high school I was 125 pounds soaking wet. Big schools weren't interested in a guy small in stature but Savannah State gave me a chance. I became a freshman starter and took off from there."{}

When Campbell started at Savannah State, they weren't even in a conference. The Tigers were playing as an independent before they joined the MEAC two years ago.{}

"We thought the chance of us going was slim to none. We needed to play a really stacked schedule and win a majority of games. When we got into the MEAC, we knew going in it was in the balance," said Campbell.{}

Campbell is far from a power source, but is certainly the Tigers' most effective player on defense and a leadoff hitter to fear.{}

"My role, get on base and wreak havoc," he said.{}

Campbell's skill paired with a solid pitching staff and well rounded team worked to perfection for Savannah State. Tied at 0 in the 10th inning of the MEAC conference final, Campbell doubled.{}

The Cottageville native then scored the winning run in the title game to send the Tigers to their first ever NCAA tournament. Savannah State was sent to Tallahassee where they lost to Florida State and then in their second game fell in a tight ball game to Alabama 3-2.{}

"I never thought I'd be on TV in a regional. I felt honored when my name and town came on the screen. Cottageville. A lot of people on my own team don't even know where Cottageville is at," said Campbell.{}

Campbell surely did Cottageville proud, going 2-4 in their final game and ending his career giving quite a scare to one of the biggest schools in the country.{}

"On TV, it's not nerve-wracking. Cameras are not in your face. You play schools you see on TV. When you step on the field there are some jitters," he said. "After the first ground ball, the first pitch, everything felt at home."{}

He's no longer a TV star. He's no longer a college baseball player. His chances of playing professional ball are slim to none. Darien Campbell will go back to being a small town kid, loving the game of baseball and he hopes to attack his next challenge with the same vigor.{}

He's heading to graduate school to become a pharmacist, but he's heading off with plenty of memories of his final season of college baseball.{}