At the beginning of the season, plenty took the field over West Prairie to win a regional title. As of yesterday, the Cyclones are now regional champs. A season that was defined with Ethan Peterson's game-winning RBI to lift his squad to a 4-3 win over Delavan. They never quit and haven't all season. Their prize? A chance to bring home a state title.
Coach Shoemaker: "These kids do an outstanding job. I owe it all to them. They've worked hard. We started out winning one out of their first seven or eight ballgames. They could have folded it up and they didn't. They won a regional. They played great baseball."
Grant Bland: "It's just like my freshman year we started out a little slow and then we mad it all the way to the regional championship. Today, it was a little different. This year we started out slow and we've really came together like I said. We're a young team. We're picking each other up, teaching each other new things everyday and just getting behind each other and playing like a team, it's awesome to see. Our coach has been fantastic keeping us in games and keeping us up too."
Ethan Peterson: "This is the only part of the season we need to get hot is the part we were looking forward to because we had a tough conference schedule. And here, we're proving how tough our conference is."
Saturday's win was especially big for Chance Dennis. Losing his grandfather earlier in the week, the sophomore provided the Cyclones with some pop in the bottom of the order. His heavy heart driving his hands and arms to put the ball in play, backed by his brothers who have been their to pick him up during this difficult time.
Chance Dennis: "Just being able to come back from this, it was an amazing feeling. I couldn't ask for better teammates to pick me up after this week. This is just an amazing feeling."
Coach Shoemaker: "He didn't even know if he wanted to play, he just felt that bad about it. And I said, I think they want you to play and they did. He's make big plays both games, both games he's made big plays here in Bushnell. I'm just so excited for him."
Bland: "We've really came close together these passed couple of weeks. Chance has been through a lot and I think there was someone special there with him today. Of course all of us being right there behind him and him being behind us was awesome. This is definitely something I'll never forget."
Heading in to sectionals, West Prairie draws some familiar opponents they've gone toe to toe with already this year. Giving them all the confidence in the world to go the distance.
Coach Shoemaker: "It's a conference tournament now. Three of the four teams in our sectional will be out of our conference. They haven't seen us lately, the way we've been playing. We'll have to see what happens."
Dennis: "After our southern illinois trip, after losing all three games down there, struggling during the season and then just being able to come back and prove how good we are is just awesome and proving to the other teams we're more then what we seem."
Peterson: "Our coaches didn't think we'd win a game this entire year and to turn around and win a regional championship is big for us. We can really play with these guys and we believe we can win a sectional title."