Trophy in hand, the Charles Henderson baseball team paraded toward its fans at Riverwalk Stadium.
The Trojans were in full celebration, thanks to Thursday’s 7-2 win over Brooks and the Class 4A championship that it meant.
But, as they showed off their trophy and screamed themselves hoarse, two underclassmen veered off to a corner of the dugout. Junior John Johnson and sophomore Austin Ingram went for the water cooler and soon zeroed in on coach Derek Irons.
“They got me a couple of weeks ago when we broke the school record for wins,” Irons said. “I didn’t want that one, but I was ready for this.
“It was pretty good.”
Sophomore Chase Smartt, whose dad made memories with two NCAA Division II national championships at Paterson Field, formed his own at Riverwalk with six RBIs on Thursday.
Senior Tripp Blackmon (9-0) threw a five-hitter and conjured up childhood memories of his own.
“When I was 5 years old, in the backyard playing around, I remember thinking, ‘My senior year, I’m going to win state,'” Blackmon said. “It really is a dream come true.”
Smartt gave the Trojans a 6-0 lead, which was plenty for Blackmon, who didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning.
Smartt, hit a two-run double in the first and a grand slam in the second. He knocked in two runs Wednesday in a 7-4 series-opening win.
Smartt’s dad, Troy assistant Mark Smartt, wasn’t at Thursday’s game because the Trojans were playing at South Alabama.
“I want to take this memory back and share it with him,” Chase Smartt said. “When I tell my dad, I’m going to tell him I had six RBIs, and I had a perfect day. It was a great day.”
Charles Henderson won just the second state championship in school history. The 2004 baseball team won Class 5A.
The top-ranked Trojans won their final 12 games, eclipsed the previous school record of 35 victories and averaged eight runs in their 10 playoff games.
“I’m still letting it all soak in,” Blackmon said. “Right now, I don’t know what happened. I’m still in shock.”
Said Irons: “I’d call it a dream season, but it’s better than that.”