A Dog House at the White House

November 13, 2008 11:56:23 AM PST
The Fresno State baseball team won the College World Series nearly 5 months ago, but one of their biggest rewards came Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C.It's not every day one gets to meet the President of the United States. So when the Fresno State Bulldog baseball team was invited to Washington D.C. they wanted to savor every moment of the experience. One outfielder was almost at a loss of words when he met Mr. Bush.

Former Fresno State baseball captain Stephen Susdorf is a leader and champion on the field but when he shook hands with the Leader of the Free World Wednesday morning on the south lawn of the White House he was clearly out-matched.

"Actually kind of locked up a little bit and started stuttering, got a little nervous but it happens," said Susdorf.

President Bush welcomed the Diamond Dogs along with other 2008 NCAA winning sports teams to the White House for "Champions day."

"So you talk about a team that refused to quit!" said Bush.

Mr. Bush appeared to favor the story of the Central Valley team that silenced many critics, and overcame huge obstacles to win the College World Series.

"I thank you for your willingness to never say 'Die.' You're willingness to keep fighting," said Bush.

"I couldn't wait to get up. We've been thinking about this for some time," said Diamond Dog head coach Mike Batesole.

Batesole led the dogs out of 6 elimination games and into NCAA history.

Pictures were sent to Action News by the team on their trip around DC before meeting the President. Coach Batesole said President Bush seemed to put every player at ease, especially when he received a team jersey with his name on it.

"He was very gracious, very complimentary, he enjoys the kids. You could see the light in his eye when he was talking to the players which was really cool," said Batesole.

"It was really special to get to see all that. Not a lot of people get to do that and it's really a special moment for me," said Susdorf.

Before the President returned to the White House he left the student athletes with one final thought.

"We are glad you are here at the white house. I thank you for being good champions on the field. I thank you for being champs off the field?" said Bush.

Next up for the Diamond Dogs ... In early December they will find out if they win Sports Illustrated's Sportsmen of the Year award.

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