It wasn’t a big surprise to Wapahani high school coach Brian Dudley when his player Collin Hoots received the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award in 2A baseball.
“There’s no doubt he deserves it. Look at everything he’s done in high school. 4.0 GPA, honor’s society, president of about every club there is,” Dudley said. “Well rounded, great kid, great family, well deserving.”
The senior right fielder had the bat taken out of his hands on numerous occasions this season, a designated hitter coming to the plate for him as the season went on.
“It feels great; everything has led up to this moment; nothing could feel better,” Hoots said. “Having to take on a different role this season and stay mentally prepared, and everything I’ve been able to accomplish throughout high school has been great.”
Hoots has been the class president at Wapahani for the last three years and intends to attend Ball State University in the fall to study Accounting.
Wapahani will receive a $1,000 scholarship in his name.
Despite getting lost while trying to find a place to park, John and Judy Feistritzer, Zack Thompson’s grandparents, were undeterred in their quest to watch their grandson win a state championship.
A walker in her hands, Judy Feistritzer and her husband walked through the concourse to their seats. She attended every Wapahani home game of the season, also went to semi-state and wasn’t going to miss this one.
It was the first time they had been to Victory Field in Indianapolis.
She’s 71, her husband 73, and have both been Wapahani fans all their lives.
“It would be awesome to see Zack win out there,” Judy Feistritzer said.
John Feistritzer added. “Just fantastic”
Normally, it’s easy to tell the competing team’s apart. But when Wapahani and Evansville Mater Dei took the field, fans had to look closely.
Both teams donned white jerseys and pants with red lettering across the front, identically sized red numbers on the back, and red hats.
Wapahani had a black outline around their numbers but other than that, the uniforms were nearly the same.
Cheering them on
Wapahani’s fanbase typically travels well on the road, and the trip to Victory Field was no exception.
The Raiders crowded the first base line, bringing close to double the fans Mater Dei had. While Mater Dei’s fans were typically reserved, the Wapahani faithful were loud consistently, especially after every strike Zack Thompson threw.
They crowded the entrance to the field after the win, shaking hands, high-fiving, and embracing every player and coach walking up the stairs.
Walters and Walters
Wapahani’s Jacob Walters wasn’t the only Walters in the IHSAA to win a state championship on Saturday.
Just a couple hours earlier, Shakamak’s Jake Walters team defeated Rockville 3-2. Both players roam the infield, Jacob Walter donning No. 13, Jake Walters wearing No. 12.