VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - A big celebration took place Tuesday morning in Vancleave to honor a history-making athletic achievement.
The Vancleave community loves their bulldogs, and this celebration showed that loud and clear. The excitement was pretty to see at this celebration in honor of the first state championship in baseball in Vancleave High School history.
A parade led the athletes to each school as students lined the streets cheering on the team. The procession ended in the baseball stadium where the coach and team were honored to stands packed with students, teachers, administrators and parents.
In his first year as head coach, Daniel Best was beside himself, and he knew his athletes were proud, especially the eleven seniors leaving this strong legacy behind. "They've been working for it their whole life. To get one before they get out of here is awesome," said Best.
Coach Best said a lot of the success came down to the team's mentality. He taught them to treat each game the same. "It's just another game. It didn't really feel like the state championship while we were up there," said Gavin Martin.
These players said that mentality gave way to celebration after the last out that secured the title. Then, of course, there was the dog pile on the field. "Great time. Never forget it. That's what we worked for every day in practice and we went out there and put the work in," said Jonathan Knight.
According to senior Evan Keith, the team stayed pretty confident all season long. "We all knew we had the possibility to do this. We had the talent. We've had it for the past four years and got good help from Coach Best to get us to where we need to be," said Keith.
Coach Best said it made it all better to have such a foundation of fans behind them every step of the way. "Teachers, community, everybody's been behind us and supporting us and it's been a great experience my first year as the head coach," said Best.
With the bar set at an all-time high, Coach Best and his team are looking forward to what can be accomplished next year. Not only did the Bulldogs win the 4A state championship, they were also the only team in any division to go undefeated in the post-season.