CORVALLIS -- It would have been very easy for Oregon State right-handed pitcher, Dylan Pearce, to give up on his childhood dream of pitching for the Beavers. After all, at 5' 9", he was overlooked by every major college in the country when he graduated from Crater High School in 2015.
Pearce went to Southwestern Oregon Community College where he put his workhorse mentality to the test. It worked. He caught the eye of Oregon State and after two years at SOCC, he signed with the Beavers for his final two years of college.
"There was a point in time I didn't think this would become a reality," Pearce said, "Fortunately it is and now I'm going to a place that not many people in the world can say they've gone to."
He is, of course, referring to Omaha, home of the College World Series. It was watching games the Beavers played there that helped him fall in love with the back-to-back national champion Beaver squads of 2006 and 2007.
"I remember hearing Mike Parker say, 'Tyler Graham is underneath it. The Beavers have won again,'" Pearce recalls, "It was cool to see that and I always wanted to play there one day and I knew that if I worked hard enough, I'd be able to be there."
It's not enough to just be a piece of the Oregon State team, Pearce has been a staple in the bullpen, striking out 26 batters in 27.1 innings while pitching to a 3.62 ERA in 23 appearances. He very well may be called upon in a late-inning situation on college baseball's biggest stage. The Beavers open with North Carolina Saturday, a team they beat on the way to those titles in 2006 and 2007.
"North Carolina is a great team and we're going to see what we can do," Pearce said, "It's a great rivalry. We've beaten them in the past on the way to winning the World Series, so that would be great to get back there, face an old rival and be able to solidify that first win there and keep it rolling."
After being overlooked for so long, Pearce isn't being overlooked anymore. He's a key piece on one of the best teams in the nation. He also gets to represent Southern Oregon at the College World Series, in a place most from a town like Central Point can only dream of visiting as a player.
"To know that someone from that area is going somewhere that very few people in the world can say they've ever been to, it's an honor," Pearce said, "It's awesome to show my hometown colors and be a guy from a small town that's able to go to such a big place."
"It's pretty cool."
Never one to shy away from dreaming big, Pearce, who watched in awe as the Beavers captured back-to-back titles 11 years ago, may play a big role in getting Oregon State its latest crown.