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The Horizon Christian standouts shine as seniors

by: DAN BROOD - LEFTY HEAT -- Horizon Christian senior Willie Brucker fires a pitch to the plate during Friday's Class 3A state championship contest.KEIZER — For Willie Brucker and Zack Selland, things have almost come full circle.

After all, the Horizon Christian High School seniors first took the baseball stage at a statewide level as sophomores, when they each played key roles for the Hawks squad that won the Class 3A state championship.

When Brucker and Selland were juniors, the Hawks made an earlier-than-expected exit from the state playoffs.

But, as seniors, they, along with their Horizon Christian teammates, made it all the way back to the Class 3A state title tilt.

Unlike in 2011, Brucker and Selland didn’t leave Friday’s title game as state champions, as the Hawks fell 7-6 to Pleasant Hill in eight innings. But they did leave with smiles on their faces, and with some special memories.

“It’s been a great season,” said Brucker, a left-handed first baseman/pitcher for the Hawks. “It’s been a great four years.”

“It’s been great,” said Selland, who is a pitcher/third baseman for the Hawks. “Coming to Horizon has been the biggest blessing of my life. Through thick or thin, I couldn’t be happier than I’ve been here.”

by: DAN BROOD - ZACK ATTACK -- Senior Zack Selland was a three-sport star at Horizon Christian.Selland has found plenty of success in athletics during his time at Horizon Christian. He’s been a record-setting receiver during the football season. He’s played on the Hawks boys basketball team that has won Class 3A state championships two of the past three seasons. And, of course, there’s been his success on the baseball diamond.

“I’ve been fortunate,” said Selland, who went 2 for 4 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBIs. “God blessed me with the talent to be out there on the fields and court. It has been a real good run,”

Brucker also has had a good during his time at Horizon Christian.

As a sophomore, he was the winning pitcher for the Hawks in their 7-2 win over Bandon/Pacific in the Class 3A state title game. There wasn’t the same victorious glory after this year’s championship contest, but that didn’t really seem to matter to Brucker.

“This was the greatest season I’ve ever been a part of,” Brucker said after Friday’s game. “We had great guys on this team, and we had great unity. That’s what’s most important.”

Brucker is planning on continuing his scholastic baseball career next year as a first baseman for Clark College in Vancouver, Wash.

Selland will play college football, as a receiver and punter, at the University of North Dakota.

Taylor Grimmett and David Lindsay are the other two graduating seniors on the Horizon Christian squad.

“We couldn’t have done it without them,” Horizon sophomore Trent Pihas said of the team’s seniors. “They really care about the game, and we’re going to miss them.”

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