The baseball and softball title game cap off a big year at Horizon Christian
by: JAIME VALDEZ SOPHOMORE SENSATION — Horizon Christian sophomore Willie Brucker lets loose with a pitch during Friday’s Class 3A state championship game.

Friday was a good day.

It was an especially good day if you are a Horizon Christian fan.

It was a bright, sunny day and, to make things even better, both the Horizon Christian baseball and softball teams were playing for state championships.

The Hawks softball team started the day by facing Glide in the Class 3A state championship contest played at the Oregon State University Softball Complex in Corvallis. Later in the day, the Hawks baseball squad battled Bandon in the Class 3A state championship game held at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer.

'We feel like this has been a blessing,' Horizon Christian athletic director Dave Brown said prior to the start of the state softball game. 'Today is just huge for the school. We've got a rooter bus coming here and then we're all going up to Keizer.'

Horizon Christian fell 5-2 to Glide in the Class 3A state softball championship game to start off the day. Later on, the Hawks triumphed 7-2 over Bandon to claim the school's first ever baseball championship.

The baseball championship also capped off a banner sports year for the Tualatin school that is only in its fifth year of existence.

In addition to the baseball state title, the Horizon Christian won its second straight Class 3A state basketball crown. The Hawks have played in the past four boys basketball state championship games.

The Horizon Christian boys track and field team placed fifth at the Class 3A state meet, after winning the state track and field championship the year before.

The Horizon Christian football, girls soccer and girls basketball teams all qualified for the Class 3A state playoffs during the 2010-2011 school year.

Not bad at all for a school that is - by far - the smallest Class 3A school in the state.

'We realize that it's a miracle of sorts to be able to do this in five years,' said Brown, who also is the school's boys basketball coach. 'I know we've been working hard for the past four years. And credit to God. He's blessed us with good kids and good health.'

And everything has seemed to come together for Horizon Christian this year.

'We have a very large senior class this year,' Brown said. 'There's 42, that's the biggest senior class we've had, but a lot of our teams are still young.'

The school also has what looks to be a talented coaching staff, including such proven veteran coaches as football coach George Crace and Brown as well as young, talented coaches such as girls soccer coach Cory Hand and girls basketball coach Matt Simpson.

Brown also gives a lot of credit to the school's trainer, Scott Olson, who also serves as the school's track and cross country coach, for helping keep the Horizon Christian athletes healthy.

And, Brown says, Horizon Christian seems to be the right place for some students.

'It's a great school and it attracts good people,' he said. 'People forget that we have only about 130 kids in the high school. We're small. For some kids, that's a negative, but for some, that's a positive thing.'

Sophomore Willie Brucker, who was the winning pitcher for the Hawks in the baseball championship game, says Horizon Christian has been the right place for him.

'I love Horizon,' Brucker said during the Hawks' baseball victory celebration. 'It's not a 6A school, but it's a great environment. It's a lot of fun here, and everyone is together. We're all playing for one. And God has carried us the whole way.'

'It's God,' said Horizon Christian junior softball pitcher Anna Dempster in regard to the school's athletic success.

'This has been great,' Brown said in regard to the 2010-2011 school year. 'It's been a crazy, good year.'

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