The Sherwood head coach revels in his first state championship victory
by: DAN BROOD LEADING THE WAY — Sherwood High School baseball coaches (from left) Jerry Ackerman, Jon Strohmaier and Will Brindza helped guide the Bowmen to the 2011 Class 5A state championship.

KEIZER - When Sherwood downed Wilsonville 6-3 in the Class 5A baseball state championship game Saturday at Volcanoes Stadium, there were plenty of smiles to be seen on the faces of the Bowmen players, friends and family.

But the biggest smile very likely was shining bright off the face of Sherwood head coach Jon Strohmaier.

And that big smile didn't seem to go away even once during the Bowmen victory celebration following the game.

'Behind my marriage and the birth of my kids, this is right up there,' Strohmaier said Saturday with that big smile on his face. 'It's amazing. It's a great feeling and I'm as happy as can be.'

And that likely makes the Bowmen players really happy.

'We really wanted to get this for Stroh,' Sherwood senior designated hitter Justin Davis said, referring to Strohmaier. 'We love all the coaches.'

'He's been huge for us,' Sherwood junior center fielder Connor Munro said. 'He's been on us all season and he's a hard-working coach. His philosophy stuck with us.'

Strohmaier, in his 19th year coaching at Sherwood, led the Bowmen to the 2006 Class 3A state title game, where they fell 8-2 in nine innings to Astoria.

Saturday's win over Wilsonville gave him his first state title.

And he was quick not only to give credit to the Bowmen players, but also to his assistant coaches - Jerry Ackerman, Will Brindza, Justin Gabler, Allen Sugiyama and Don Wilson.

'They all do a great job,' Strohmaier said.

Brindza and Gabler are former Sherwood players who played for Strohmaier.

'It's always special when a former player wants to come back here and coach,' Strohmaier said.

Sugiyama, meanwhile, actually played against Strohmaier and the Bowmen in high school as a standout pitcher for Valley Catholic before he went on to pitch for Pacific University in Forest Grove.

Ackerman, who also was an assistant coach for the Sherwood football team that won a state title in the fall, and Wilson have been longtime assistants at Sherwood.

'Those guys believe in what we do,' Strohmaier said.

And the Sherwood players seem to really believe and Strohmaier and the Bowmen coaches.

'He's a mentor to all of us,' said Bowmen senior Jordan Ramp, who was the winning pitcher in Saturday's state championship game. 'He makes you grow up and teaches you values that you'll always keep with you. We love all the coaches.'

'We love them all,' Sherwood senior pitcher Tanner Kichler said. 'We love and respect them. We know we can always go to the coaches. They mean the world to us. They push us to our limits and make us be our best.'

'He makes us work our butts off,' Sherwood senior outfielder Geoff Walck said with a laugh. 'He's a great coach, and the last four years, we've got really close with him.'

And that closeness showed following Saturday's victory, as Strohmaier got hug after hug from Bowmen players.

'I think I'm really going to enjoy the last two weeks of school,' Strohmaier said with a smile.

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