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By Shay Hudachek, Lone Tree junior
LONE TREE – The 2012 Lone Tree baseball season wasn’t supposed to be the best.
People would say we would be lucky to go .500. The previous year we had two great players who were both seniors, so unfortunately they were unable to come back for the 2012 season.
It always is a downfall when a team loses good players. But with the confidence and the motivation that a group of small-town boys had, we were able to win a conference title and go the district final game for the first time in a long time.
No one had faith in the 2012 team. The only people who believed in the players were parents. They hoped for a good season even with the doubts from everybody else.
They saw a spark in the first first game and the first conference game at Iowa Mennonite, a 7-6 victory over IMS with our ace on the mounds and players hitting home runs and making diving catches. Our ace pitched a great game, which would continue throughout the rest of the season.
After wins over Springville and Wapello, the losses set in – three straight – just like the people predicted. But all of the sudden our team started playing as a team and won seven in row, including six much-needed conference games.
It came down to that last couple of games to determine who would win the SEISC North conference.
We won our last three conference games and were declared the 2012 conference champs. Nobody thought we would win conference title, but with the team playing well together, it was thought maybe we could go a lot farther than just winning conference.
Coming off of a conference championship, we gained a few fans for the playoffs. Game 1 was against Danville, where the Lions fought hard to win a good game, 6-3. The winner of the next game would advance to the district final to play Lisbon.
The Lions played well again and continued the journey with a 5-2 win over Burlington Notre Dame. Now the true test was against the predicted state candidates, the Lisbon Lions, whom Lone Tree already played in regular season and took a brutal beating from.
But, unlike in the regular season, Lisbon would see our ace in the playoffs. We fought long and hard, with players hitting triples and doubles. But it wasn’t quite enough and we lost, 4-1, ending our season.
Lisbon went on to the state tournament, but Lone Tree had accomplished much more than expected. Six players made all-conference.
We had a great – and unexpected – and now we hope to gain many more players in the offseason. We lost only two seniors who will be greatly missed, but we will come back this season with a chip on our shoulder.