The word was echoed and repeated during Marsh Valley’s post-win celebration, as players hugged each other, hugged coaches, hugged the state championship trophy.
After all the close calls and oh-so-close seasons, Marsh Valley baseball finally did it.
The Eagles beat Sugar-Salem 16-2 in five innings Saturday to win the 3A baseball state championship at Melaleuca Field.
It was a disappointing end to a memorable season for the Diggers.
“We still definitely made history,” coach Brady Gardner said. “We’ve never ever played for the state championship before in baseball in the history of the school. We went from pretty much a nobody never ever getting here before to definitely the start of building something. I can promise you that Sugar baseball will be around for the next 10-plus years ...”
Marsh Valley’s torrid offense continued through the state tournament and put the title game out of reach by the fourth inning.
The Eagles’ 16-run outing was their 18th double-digit run effort this season and improved an already 3A-best 12.14 runs-per-game average to 12.3. Marsh Valley beat its three state tourney opponents by a combined score of 43-11 and averaged 14.3 runs per game.
Campbell dug one of the final nails into Sugar-Salem’s coffin Saturday with a two-run triple in the fifth inning, pushing Marsh Valley’s lead to 13-2. The four-year varsity catcher went 2 for 3 at the plate with three runs and three RBIs.
Marsh Valley (18-5) only scored under 10 runs five times all season, the most recent in an 8-1 win Friday over South Fremont in the state semis.
“Baseball is an interesting sport,” Gardner said. “They found every single hole you could find. Every hit that they had went not to one of our guys.”
On the mound, Marsh Valley’s James Bodily kept Sugar-Salem off balance with a big, bending curveball. The only two runs Sugar scored were caused by Marsh Valley errors.
Bodily yielded four hits, walked none and fanned three.
For Sugar-Salem (19-12), the second-place finish was a new feeling for multiple reasons.
Sugar-Salem had claimed six state titles this school year entering Saturday and added a boys track and field state championship later on.
“We’ve been on the other end. Every kid on our whole team has won a state championship this year in something,” Gardner said. “It stings. It’s hard to experience it on the other side of it.”
MARSH VALLEY 2, SUGAR-SALEM 2 (5 INNINGS)
MV 1 0 3 7 5 — 16 14 3
S.Salem 0 0 2 0 0 — 2 5 4
MARSH VALLEY — Pitchers: Bodily 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: Campbell 2-3, Bodily 3-3, Holbrook 2-4, Morrison 2-3, Howell 2-4. 2B: Branson. 3B: Campbell. RBI: Campbell 3, Bodily 4, Holbrook 2, Howell, Branson 2, Morrison 2.
SUGAR-SALEM — Pitchers: Curtis Drake 3.1 IP, 10 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 0 K, 1 BB; Tanner Harris 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB; Kyzon Garner 1.0 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 K, 2 BB.