RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — At nearly 11 p.m. Saturday, the high wail of police and fire sirens echoed throughout Pirate Drive in Wheelersburg, signaling the triumphant return of the 2012 state baseball champions, the Wheelersburg Pirates.
With a score of 1-0, the ‘Burg boys team defeated Lima Central Catholic at the championship game played in Columbus on Saturday. This is only the second time in Wheelersburg School District history that the boys baseball team has won the state championship. The last time was in 1996, and some of those players are now the same coaches that took the boys back for the state title this year.
When the players arrived home Saturday night, they found themselves surrounded by a proud, cheering homecoming celebration in the high school gymnasium. Hundreds of people from all parts of Scioto County came out to celebrate Wheelersburg’s victory.
Thirteen-year old Keaton Newsome, an 8th grader at Wheelersburg, followed the game by reading text message updates from his sister. He said it felt great to see them bring him the state championship title.
“Congratulations,” he said to the team. “You’ve got your mission accomplished!”
Al Parsley, of Wheelersburg, has a grandson on the winning team — sophomore Camron Parsley. He couldn’t attend the game in Columbus on Saturday, but he was standing outside the school late Saturday night waiting for his Camron to return with the rest of the team.
“I’m tickled to death for this whole school and all these kids,” Parsley said. “These are the greatest bunch of kids around. These kids played great all year, stayed together and worked great as a team. I’ve attended all their games and they’re a great bunch of kids. We knew they could do it.”
Denver Marshall, of Wheelersburg, also came out to support the team and his son, sophomore Nick Marshall.
“This is an overall great experience for my son to be able to be part of something like this. It was something he will never forget,” Marshall said.
After being ushered into the gymnasium, the players and coaches shared a few words with the community.
Senior Brett Hood thanked everyone for coming out so celebrate with them. “A turnout like this is really something special,” he said. “You make us feel so important. I don’t know how it’s possible, but you make this ten-time better.”
Senior Austin Hall took a moment to remember the promise he made to one teacher two years ago.
“We lost the state championship game my sophomore year, and I was sitting there being sad about it, and Mrs. Schmidt came up to me and told me to keep my head up. At that time I promised her that by my senior year we were going to have a state championship.”
Coach Michael Estep said it felt great to see so many people there for the baseball team Saturday night, but he said it was no surprise to him. He said the Wheelersburg community supports their students no matter what they do.
“We had people who met us at the rest stop at Piketon and caravanned all the way through Portsmouth and into Wheelersburg. We had to wait 10 minutes for all those cars to get here. That’s how far back those cars extended. We are blessed to have so much support in this community,” Estep said.
This win, Estep said, was for all of them.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.