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Runner-Up, It’s a hard pill to swallow

With Saturday’s 11-10 loss to Hokes Bluff in the final game three of the AHSAA State baseball Championships, there came to mind only one word that best describes this year of sports at Demopolis High, Runner-Ups.

That might sound like a harsh word and may be difficult for many to swallow, but the reality of it is that, being a runner-up leads to being a champion. You must crawl before you can walk and though being the runner-up is tough, Demopolis is learning how to be a champion.

Believe me, Hokes Bluff knows that DHS will be back, and they know they won a close game against a very good team. “We knew Demopolis was good, but we didn’t know they were that good a hitting team,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Mike Estes. “They’d have to be good to hit Mitch Miller like they did.”

The fact is, Demopolis is a great team, but we played game one and game three with this state championship cloud over our heads, which prevented everyone else from knowing just how good we truly are.

We thought about being a champion, we wanted it, perhaps too much, but we didn’t play like a champion. The same happened earlier this season with the DHS girl’s basketball team. They were a great team as well, probably better than Deshler, but when you play the final game with that cloud over you, the best you can expect is to be runner-up.

We are young and inexperienced in the ways of state championships, but it is important for the future of this team to know what it feels like to play in a game of this caliber. There are plenty of brighter days ahead for DHS, not only in baseball but in all sports. This year has taught these teams what it takes to be a champion. Let’s just hope that we learn the lessons and become those champions come next year.

Making it to that state championship game requires talent, but to be a state champion requires a mental attitude that stands out above all others. Hokes Bluff had it, Deshler had it too. Were they really the better team? I don’t think we really have to answer that, because we know who the better team was.

We have the talent at DHS in all sports, and hopefully after a year of being runner-up, the mental talent will grow stronger from the experience and enable us to be champions soon.