Ceremony recognizes Pride baseball champions - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Ceremony recognizes Pride baseball champions

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Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:00 am

Coach Brandon Buck jogged out to the infield on Saturday morning with a small box in his hands. Inside it was what the players and coaches had been waiting for since their thrilling championship victory over Hamilton High School in May.

Buck started calling the names of the coaches and players of that baseball team, one by one, and the champions finally got to put on those rings.

"I've been looking forward to this day since we won it," Buck told the crowd of supporters at Mountain Pointe High School.

It was the final chapter of the varsity baseball team's magical run at the state championship, which included 17 wins in the final 19 games, leading up to the last game against Hamilton. Their final game was one that won't soon be forgotten by the players, a 7-6 walk off victory courtesy of a Jordan Kipper screamer down the third base line.

"There were so many emotions in that game," said Buck, who won his first state championship in his six years coaching. "To be up three, then down one, and then tied, and into extra innings, it was just an incredible game."

The ring ceremony on Saturday saw many alumni come to congratulate the 2010-11 team. That included last year's seniors who, although they have gone onto college - some still playing ball and some not - say the feeling of victory is still fresh in their minds.

"It's amazing to relive that moment with these guys because we are like brothers," said Quinn Tucker, now a freshman at Northern Arizona University. "We set the bar pretty high (for this year's team). It was good to go out on a high note like that."

They know that repeating won't be easy, but to have won it all does not take away any of their motivation.

"Our guys are still hungry," Buck said. "Everyone here is part of what we did. And having all the guys here, it kind of makes you relive that experience. We've been runner's up twice (since I have been coach) and once you taste it, it's an unbelievable feeling."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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