Lakota East parents, fans and state champion ballplayers filled the Hawks Nest at Lakota East High School Monday, June 6, to celebrate the school’s first state championship in any sport. The celebration also included a brief graduation ceremony for the 12 seniors who missed this past Saturday’s graduation at Miami University.
“You come into today and you knew it was going to be big because of graduation, but with the last five days and just when you think it can’t get any better – it does,” Lakota East head coach Ray Hamilton said. “Tonight is a perfect example. What a great way to send our kids off.”
The seniors didn’t mind missing their graduation this weekend, which was actually taking place when the team was playing in the state championship game in Columbus.
“We were all excited. We didn’t really care (about missing our graduation). We would rather win the state championship than attend some boring two-hour long graduation,” senior pitcher Evan Hills said.
Instead, Hills bored Perrysburg batters in a 119-pitch complete game performance in the state championship Saturday, June 4. Lakota East won the game and its first-ever state title by the score of 6-2.
“Hands down, it was the best day of my life,” senior shortstop J.D. Whetsel said of the day his team won the state championship. “Coach talked to us while we were up there and said, ‘there are not a whole lot of people who can end their baseball career with a win.’ We were able to be that handful of 12 guys who get to play their last baseball game and win it.
“To be able to hang a banner for a state championship in a team sport and to win for coach Ham, who has been coaching for 23 years, and finally take him there and win it for (principal) Dr. Kiline, (athletic director) Mr. (Richard) Bryant, all of them – they all really deserve it. It is really cool to be the guys to bring it to them.”
Cincinnati.com reporter Tom Ramstetter attended the title game. For his game story, visit Cincinnati.com’s post “Lakota East baseball wins school’s first state championship.”