The Island Coast High School baseball team had a pep rally Friday because the champs are here!
Beating Jensen Beach Wednesday ended a century-long drought. In 1922 the FHSAA first sanctioned high school baseball. Since then, no public high school in Lee County earned a state championship trophy. That ended Friday.
The celebration capped off a storybook season for the Island Coast High School Gators.
In his junior year, Kevin Martinez, the Gator’s third baseman and pitcher said, “I felt it was like I was still 8 and I was back at home watching one of those kid baseball movies.”
And while a movie or tv series on this season would be nice. The Gators championship is carved in stone. They’re very proud of ending the century-long drought and making Lee County high school sports history.
The Gator’s head coach, Clint Montgomery said, “just to see how surprised they are that it took a hundred years to get a state championship. And that sinks in your head, a hundred years? And you go that’s really something to be proud of.”
Back at school on Friday, the team got a well-deserved, heroes welcome. This is a team that prides itself on being warriors and not being intimidated by any challenge.
But a motto is just words, did they prove what they stand for? They absolutely did! The Gators blew the lead in the championship game. Still, not intimidated. Fighting back, the Gators came from behind to win in extra innings 8-7.
Head coach Montgomery said, “we had one bad inning and we almost lost the whole thing. Jake Mueller pitched those last two innings with a torn labrum in his shoulder. ”
Pain, struggle, and sweet, sweet victory. With medals around their neck and getting fitted for championship rings, the Gators feel they put their school on the map.
“We were really looked down on by a lot of people. We’re really not anybody’s first option,” Martinez said.
“Boe Rodriguez, the Gators shortstop said, “we played with a chip on our shoulder all year because we knew the talent we had. We were confident I know from the beginning coach always told us this is the team, this is the year to do it.”
The Gators are already looking ahead to next season. Because the only thing better than winning the championship once is winning championships back to back.