By Paul Hines
Webber's baseball run ended on Saturday with a loss in the 1A state championship, but it's going to be a long time before anyone associated with the program forgets this team.
“A week from now, a month from now, five years from now, this is a lifetime memory for our whole community for each of these kids and I'm glad to be a part of it,” Webber coach Sam Root said.
Eleven players and three coaches took the Trojans to historic heights this season.
“I guess we had the right 11, didn't we,” Root said. “I wouldn't have taken anybody else, 12. That was our 11. I would not have wanted 12 or 13. That was the right combination.
“Hopefully we made Southern Illinois proud because we gave them everything we had today and throughout the whole year.”
Webber notched numerous milestones along the way. The Trojans made it five straight seasons with 20 or more wins. The winning stretch comes after Root won five total games his opening season in charge. Webber won its second straight regional title. The sectional and super sectional wins were a first for the Trojans baseball program.
“These players never even thought this was a possibility,” Root said. “A lot of people, parents did not think this was a possibility even though we've had a lot of success.
“It's been an amazing two weeks.”
Along the playoff road,Webber won three extra innings games and were down to their final strike in the regional title game.
The Trojans gave their fans a memorable matchup in Friday's state semifinal against New Athens. The two teams battled until the tenth inning before Webber won. The Trojans entered the championship as an underdog against an Illinois Lutheran team which had lost just twice this season.
Webber capped its season with a celebration at the high school on Saturday night after returning from Peoria.
People outside the Webber baseball program might naturally be tempted to forget about the things this team accomplished as time inevitably rolls along.
One thing is for sure though.
The Trojans took their fans on a wild ride this season, and there is no way they will ever forget. Sure the Trojans ended the tournament without the ultimate prize, but what Webber accomplished is something to be extremely proud of.
Paul Hines is the sports editor at the Register-News.