The baseball win marks the third state title for Sherwood in 2010-2011
KEIZER - Mottos, creeds, slogans.
They may, or may not, mean something to some people.
But the Sherwood High School baseball team sure seems to take a motto to heart - even if that motto consists of just one number.
Prior to the start of the season, Sherwood High School coach Jon Strohmaier handed out practice shirts with the number 3 printed on the back of the shirt.
The 3 had a double meaning. For one, it meant that the Bowmen were trying for the third baseball state championship in school history - Sherwood won previous state titles in 1959 and 1969.
The number 3 also was to serve as motivation for the Sherwood baseball squad to try and win the school's third team state championship for the 2010-2011 school year. The Bowmen football and volleyball teams both won state crowns in the fall.
'It was corny, but the kids bought into it,' Strohmaier said.
'Our shirts had a 3 on the back of it,' Sherwood senior outfielder Geoff Walck said. 'That was for going for a third title, and we knew we had a shot at it.'
Walck was one of nine players on the Bowmen baseball team that were also on the roster of the Sherwood football team that won the state championship in the fall, beating Marist in overtime.
Sherwood senior Jordan Ramp was in the middle of both of those championships. He quarterbacked the football team and was the winning pitcher for the Bowmen in Saturday's baseball title contest.
'They're both equally special to me,' Ramp said with a smile. 'I'm going to cherish this senior year.'
Other Bowmen players who were on both the baseball and football state championship rosters include senior Justin Davis, senior Michael Balfour, junior Taylor Bonawitz, junior Travis Dyer, senior Jake Lawrence, junior Connor Munro and junior Nate Montgomery.
The connection between football and baseball wasn't lost on Strohmaier.
'The football guys knew what it was like going through the playoffs. They could handle the pressure,' Strohmaier said. 'And I saw a strong correlation between the bracket the football team had to go through and the bracket we had to go through. The football team had to face tough teams all the way to the finals, and so did we.'
That certainly looks to be true. In fact, prior to championship game with Wilsonville, the Bowmen baseball team had to endure three one-run playoff games.
Sherwood opened the Class 3A state playoffs by rallying to score a 5-4 first-round win over Corvallis. In the quarterfinals, the Bowmen held off Mountain View of Bend on the road to get a 3-2 victory. In the semifinals, Sherwood notched a 1-0 home win over West Albany behind the one-hit pitching of senior Tanner Kichler.
'All of those one-run games made us better,' Strohmaier said.
And so did a strong group of seniors. In fact, the state champion Sherwood football and volleyball squads were also led by a core of seniors.
'It's amazing,' Sherwood senior shortstop Tyler Rome said. 'I think we're the best class to ever come out of Sherwood.'
Well, it's sure hard to argue with three state championships.