Aug. 12—Call it one last hurrah; a return to the roots of the game.
Not that the Columbus Cornerstone Insurance Group Seniors were about to take the summer lightly, but for the last months ever together in the dugout and on the diamond there was more about the game than simply winning and losing.
With the pressure to make a state tournament at some point in their careers off their shoulders, Cornerstone players, who've always enjoyed each other's company regardless of the results, did even more so in May, June and July.
As the most accomplished group of baseball players, likely in Columbus history, they deserved at least that. But maybe it was that connection all along that made them so successful all these years.
"Let's enjoy it while were here," coach
Cornerstone was 20-13 over the course of the summer, won the Omaha South Tourney in early June and went 10-2 overall in tournament action.
After a 2-4 start the team won eight of the next 10 and never slipped under .500 the rest of the way.
In league play, Columbus split with every team other than a sweep over South Sioux City and a doubleheader loss to Gretna. In the Area Tournament, Columbus went 2-2, alternating wins and losses before being eliminated by Fremont in the semifinals.
Fremont and Gretna, the two teams that handed Columbus losses at the Area Tournament, won the National and American Division Legion state titles a week later.
Cornerstone was led by
On the mound, Flyr,
Rivera, who missed the spring season, had Schilling taking his phone out and recording his pitches the first day of practice because he had never seen the left-handed Cuban throw before.
With so many players that have been regular playmakers for years, that duo added another dimension to the mix and generated even more good times.
Rivera will be back next year, as will pitcher
But while the future is bright, the summer was about appreciating the moment rather than looking too far ahead.
"They know they've done quite a bit. I love them all to death. Some of those guys I've been coaching since they were 14, 15," Schilling said. "When someone like
Columbus was looking for two state tournaments in a row after ending a 68-year drought in the varsity spring season, but it was a year everyone can be satisfied with short of playing at state.
Most importantly, it was a chance for nine members to do it all together one last time.
"I watched (Junior Blues coach
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