Hundreds turn out to celebrate Central state baseball championship

Elkhart Central new it had the work ethic and talent to make it happen. They just had to go out and do it.

Monday night, the Blue Blazer baseball team rode on top of a fire truck with the Indiana State Championship trophy in hand as they pulled up to Rice Field to celebrate along with hundreds of fans.

Two days after defeating Cathedral 1-0 for the school's 1st ever state title in baseball, the excitement has yet to wind down.

"It was very special," head coach Steve Stutsman says of the celebration. "Riding on a fire truck and seeing all these fans come out to honor the great team that we had. It's indescribable."

The team features eight seniors, seven of which are playing baseball in college under scholarship, including three at the Division 1 level.

The top star is senior pitcher Tanner Tully who drove in the game's only run with a homer in the 1st and then struck out 13 batters in a complete game shutout.

"It was amazing," Tully said of the celebration. "First time in my life I ever rode a fire truck. Great feeling."

"When we were in Indy, you looked up and you saw a lot of people there," Mental Attitude Award winner Matt Eppers explains. "To come here on a Monday night and have people take time out of their schedules to come see us, it's spectacular."

Players wore their jerseys to the celebration and one still had all the dirt on it.

"I didn't want to wash it," senior 2nd baseman Casey Ianigro says with a big smile. "I want to re-live this every time I see it. That's what I'm going to do--not going to wash it."

Over their necks, players also wore their state championship medals. At times during the celebration, seniors like Kaleb DeFreese just stared at their medal.

'The night we won, I slept with it on," DeFreese said of his state gold medal. "I woke up, looked at it again and said 'man that looks good.' I walked downstairs, made breakfast, put it on the counter and kept looking at it. I've had it on me or just carrying it around ever since we won."

The hardware continues in July when the team will receive their state championship blue rings.

Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore presented the Blazers with a sign that read, "Home of Elkhart Central Blue Blazers. 2013 State Baseball Champions."

Replicas of that sign will be put up at every entrance way to the city, Mayor Moore said.


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