As all eight tickets for the 2022 College World Series were claimed this past weekend, a Division-II baseball champion was crowned and playing an instrumental role was the Big Island’s own, Gehrig Octavio.

The senior second baseman was a big part of a historic title run helping guide North Greenville to the program’s first ever National Championship as the Waiakea graduate earned all-tournament team honors following the Crusaders 5-3 win over Pacific West Conference champion Point Loma in the title game.

“Yeah, it’s definitely a surreal feeling. It didn’t really quite hit me yet,” Octavio told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello. “That’s something that all college athletes thrive for is winning the national championship and to just do it my senior year after coming short a few of the previous years, it just feels good. All that hard work came down to something.”

In his three years with NGU as a transfer from Murray State College, Octavio was the ultimate lead-off man. The Hilo native batted an eye-popping .376 in 119 career games which included a .418 average as a junior.

According to him, it’s a story book finish of a determined journey which is proof that it’s not D-1 or bust when dreaming of making baseball memories.

“I hope I can be that inspiration. If you want to play and better yourself and meet new people and gain experiences that will last a lifetime, you don’t really have to focus on the division or the class or what other people will think. Just go for yourself. I’m just glad that I decided to continue my athletic career and go to college and I mean, I’m a natty champ now so I feel good, I’m proud I did that and the journey was long but it was, I enjoyed it.”

Octavio, who has one semester remaining at NGU will graduate in criminal justice where he hopes to have a career in law enforcement on his native Hawai’i island, but first he is considering a potential pro baseball opportunity in the Czech Republic next spring.