By NATALIE PLATT
For the Pharos-Tribune
WALTON — Let’s hope there was a not a fire in Walton Saturday night.
Following a 3-0 victory over Frankton in the Class 2A State Championship game Saturday afternoon, the Lewis Cass softball team was escorted through Galveston and Walton on top of fire trucks at 11 p.m. to a large crowd that had been waiting for over an hour.
Even rain could not ruin the happy atmosphere of the crowd and players as they were welcomed home after a long day on the field. Though the game began at 1:30 p.m. persistent rains caused two delays in the softball game and stretching it to nearly six hours. The team needed only about an hour and 50 minutes to complete its dream season.
The girls’ long journey to their 28-2 state championship season was rewarded as they entered the filled high school gym to the sound of “We Are the Champions,” with their trophy raised high above their heads.
“I think they were a team that would never give up and they won a state championship because of that,” said Becky Comoglio, mother of Lady Kings’ senior catcher Rachel Comoglio.
As parents scrambled to get the best angle of their daughters, all 17 girls saw umbrellas sitting on their chairs, something coach Brent Blinn said, “could have been used a little earlier in the day.”
As assistant coaches Scott Rouch, Greg Comoglio, and Mike Stow followed in their speeches, each one mentioned what hard working and dedicated kids these were and the great commitment the parents have made to make this a state championship team.
Rachel Comoglio took the microphone next, and repeated the team quote. “A true champion never loses sight of her dreams,” and thanked her entire team for making her dream come true.”
Though the Kings had been to the state semifinals in 2001 and 2002, Saturday was their first appearance in the championship game. After five full innings of scoreless ball, fifth-ranked Cass put three runs up on second-ranked Frankton (27-3) in the bottom of the sixth inning then held on for its first-ever state championship.
“We won!” senior Kayla Blinn exclaimed as it was her turn to speak, and turned away from the crowd to address the team how much they all meant to her.
Seniors Samantha Roller and Morgan Baker wrapped up the speeches by adding it was a dream come true and thanked all the coaches and teammates.
After a long applause from the crowd, the girls ran to their to parents and friends to cry, laugh, and make sure this night was really happening.
Many of the fans that had been at the game also turned out at the pep rally to support their team.
“It was awesome being part of it because they never gave up,” said recent Lewis Cass graduate Dustin Schutte. “We even spent the night in a hotel so we made sure we could be there supporting them in the state game.”
Coach Blinn was thrilled with the show of support for his team and just as awestruck as his players that the Kings were state champions.
In his six seasons with the Kings, he had been to the semifinals two previous times but exited before reaching the final game. Earning the victory with his daughter, Kayla, as part of the team made it even more sweet.
“We are really proud to come home to a place like this and we appreciate all of it,” he said. “It is a pretty awesome feeling and it really has not sunk in yet. It has been a lot of emotion and excitement the last couple of days and these girls deserve to be where they are right now.”
In the mass amount of people crowding the gym floor, Rachel Comoglio was caught up with a group of friends.
“I can’t even describe what it feels like,” she exclaimed through laughter. “It’s so much better than Christmas!”
Pitcher Ollmay Wilson, or ‘O’ as she is known to her teammates, was ecstatic. The junior finished the season with an outstanding 23-2 record on the mound and allowed just three runs throughout the entire tournament — all in the semifinal game against North Posey.
Shutting down the Lady Eagles, who won the 2A title in 2000 and also finished as runners-up in 2005, was a high point in her season.
“We were all really pumped and we weren’t that nervous for the game until the last inning,” she said. “I was so shocked to come home and see everyone. It meant so much to our team to see all the people at the school. They say hard work brings great rewards, especially tonight.”
Wilson is one of a strong core of players returning for next season. In fact, only four of the team’s starters will be lost to graduation.
“It is a great feeling knowing I will be back again next year,” said junior Ashley Snider. “It is so awesome and we have a great chance to be back. It was just unbelievable and it feels like this is all a dream. It was so great to see everyone who came out to welcome us home and to support us at the pep rally.”
By NATALIE PLATT
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