The 2019 Washington Nationals post-season run to the World Series Championship has so many similarities to NC State's national championship run in 1983 it's almost spooky.
Both the 83 Wolfpack and the 19 Nationals were regarded as good, but not great teams. Neither finished in first place in the regular season. They were good enough to make the post-season but just barely, needing late-season runs just to qualify.
The Wolfpack suffered a mid-season slump primarily because of a broken foot injury to Washington, D.C. native Derek Whittenburg. The Nationals suffered an early season slump in large part due to a broken finger injury to their leadoff hitter and starting shortstop — NC State alumnus Trea Turner.
The Wolfpack was the underdog in all nine post-season games they played except one, the NCAA opener against Pepperdine. The Nationals were the underdog in every post-season series except one, the opening round wild-card game against Milwaukee.
The Wolfpack trailed in the second half of every game except one: the national semifinal against Georgia, the last game before the national championship round. The Nationals trailed in every series (including the wild card game) except one: the NLCS, the last round before the World Series.
The Wolfpack came from behind in the waning stages of eight of their ten post-season victories. The Nationals came from behind in the waning stages of all five of their win-or-go-home elimination games.
The Wolfpack played none of their post-season games within the state of North Carolina, finishing the year with a nine-game road winning streak. The Nationals finished their season with a seven game road winning streak.
Both NC State coach Jim Valvano and Washington Manager Dave Martinez adopted the mantra "Don't Ever Give Up." during their teams' post-season runs.
Both the Wolfpack and the Nationals beat teams from Houston in the championship round.
Sammy Kent is an NC State alumnus, class of 1987.