GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (WJHG/WECP) - The Chipola baseball team heads back home from Grand Junction on Monday. When they step off the plane, they'll still be celebrating.
The Indians finished the season with 51 victories, saving the best for last. Chipola beat San Jacinto twice in the championship series, outlasting the Gators 15-6 on Saturday night to claim the national title.
Although the final score depicts a blowout, it was a back and forth affair for the first half. The lead changed six times and it wasn't until a three run sixth inning and a four run seventh that the Indians pulled away.
Down to the final innings of the season, Chipola showed the same perseverance we've come to expect in big games.
"You win it out of the winner's bracket and you feel good about that, that's the easy way to win it. But this group comes out of the loser's bracket, plays six straight days, plays seven total games and wins this thing. It's special," said head coach Jeff Johnson. "It shows the character and the heart and the desire they have. They've battled all year long."
Even when trailing early, the team never lost confidence.
"Our pitching struggled a little bit, but I had no doubt in my mind we were going to come back," said designated hitter Max Guzman. "Our hitting, once we clicked in the second game, I knew there was no doubt in my mind our one through nine would hit the ball over the fence and we'd score runs and do our job."
Jose Caballero earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award.
The team's homecoming celebration is scheduled for 1:30 Monday afternoon at the baseball complex.