Championship is special to Sherwood seniors

The close-knit veterans play a key role in leading the Bowmen to the title
by: DAN BROOD LEADERS — Sherwood seniors (from left) Brandon Scott, Justin Davis, Geoff Walck and Cody Carlson are all smiles as they look at the championship trophy following the Bowmen’s 6-3 victory over Wilsonville.

KEIZER - It was a special day for the Sherwood High School baseball team.

The Bowmen won the school's first baseball state title since 1969 by scoring a 6-3 victory over rival Wilsonville in the Class 5A state championship game played Saturday at Volcanoes Stadium.

While that may have been a special day, it was a day long in the making for the close-knit group of Sherwood seniors.

'I'm going to cherish this senior year,' said Sherwood senior Jordan Ramp, who not only was the winning pitcher in Saturday's state title game, but he also was the starting quarterback for the Bowmen football team that captured the Class 5A state title this past fall. 'Most of us have been together playing sports since fourth grade or so. We've always been successful. We rely on each other and we push each other. Things are always competitive at practice.'

'This is huge for all the seniors,' Sherwood senior pitcher Tanner Kichler said. 'The guys on the football team know what this is like. Now we got it for baseball, too. The big thing about us is our chemistry. I think we have the most team chemistry of any team I've been on. We all care about each other.'

The Sherwood seniors' success goes back - way back.

Many of the seniors on the Bowmen squad that won the state title on Saturday played on the Sherwood Midget Federal (ages 9-10) baseball team that won the Junior Baseball of Oregon state crown in 2003.

In fact, some of the Sherwood students in the grandstands on Saturday were wearing the Sherwood Midget Federal jerseys from the 2003 championship season.

'That was back when we were little,' Sherwood senior designated hitter Justin Davis said. 'That was great, and this feels great. Ever since our freshman year, this has been our goal. To pull it off this way is amazing. I think it's because of great team chemistry.'

Team chemistry.

It's a common term used by the Sherwood seniors when describing the reason for their success. It also hasn't gone unnoticed by Bowmen head coach Jon Strohmaier.

'At the beginning, I questioned the leadership of this group,' Strohmaier said. 'But they really came together because of their team chemistry. I think they have more team chemistry than any team I've been around. They really do care about each other.'

The Bowmen seniors may very well care about each other, but they've also had a positive influence on the underclassmen on the squad.

'The seniors are huge, huge role models for us,' Sherwood junior outfielder Connor Munro said. 'They're all leaders and they all work hard. They give 100 percent every day. That rubbed off on all of us.'

And the 11 seniors on the Sherwood baseball team - Cody Carlson, Davis, Connor Hendryx, Ramp, Tyler Rome, Brandon Scott, Michael Balfour, Jake Lawrence, Geoff Walck, Kichler and Nick Lopez - got to finish up as champions.

'It's a great way to go out,' Walck said. 'We set the stage.'

'It was amazing,' Rome said. 'It's a picture-perfect way to finish.'