Even if his University High School baseball players couldn’t see it, coach Chris Estep found the bright spot.
“Our seasons always seemed to end in the sectionals, and we’re finishing in the state finals,” Estep said. “Where we were, where we’ve come from, it’s monumental. I don’t think they understand it right now, but I think they will in a couple of days.”
Daleville edged University 4-2 in nine innings in the Class A state championship game June 16 at Victory Field in Indianapolis. Daleville (22-9) scored two runs in the top of ninth to win its second title in three seasons.
The Trailblazers finished 28-7.
Estep said his team had its chances, stranding 11 runners, as it was attempting to win the Carmel private school’s first state title in any sport.
“It was a great run,” Estep said. “What else could you ask for? It was a great game.”
Estep said it was a huge step for the program, saying the seven freshmen, including three starters, benefited from the extra work.
“In a couple years, they’re probably going to be better than this team is right now,” said Estep, adding that coming so close should make the team hungry to return.
University center fielder Ryan Williams said the team had more than just talent.
“The difference in this team from past teams is our mental game was better than our physical game,” Williams said.
Williams, a Zionsville resident, was named the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Mental Attitude Award winner for Class A baseball.
“I would have liked to win a state championship along with it,” Williams said.
Estep said Williams’ honor was phenomenal.
“If any kid deserves it, he does,” Estep said. “He came to us with just a little experience as a freshman. He has fantastic skills. He is going to be a really good college baseball player.”
Williams, who hit .314, will play for Morehead College next season. Senior third baseman/pitcher Garrett Hill led the Trailbazers with a .461 average. Freshman outfielder Tyler Galyean was next with a .461 mark.