MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you’re looking ahead to the upcoming season, sometimes the best thing you can do to prepare is to look back into the past.
And for most of last season, Henry Sibley High School’s baseball team was awful. With two games left in the regular season, the Warriors had a very un-Warrior-esque record of 4-14.
“After that last game, our coach pulled us aside and he said, ‘You know what? You guys can either give up, or you can go out and make the most of what we can still do. I believe in you guys and I know you guys believe in yourselves, and we can make something magical happen,'” said pitcher and outfielder Sam Gantman. “Obviously we wanted to make something magical happen, so we chose the latter.”
Coach Greg Fehrman says his team never felt like it was time to throw in the towel.
“I can tell you that we as coaches never had that sense that the season was over,” Fehrman said. “We always felt that we can play the game better, that we’re capable of playing the game better. And we just needed to play the game better. And we did. We ended up playing the game better.”
Out of nowhere, Sibley proceeded to win 11 of its final 12 games, storming through sectionals and then the state tournament — all the way to the 3A state title.
They finished the season 15-15, setting the record for the most losses by a state champion in state history. And they learned the kind of lesson you can’t help but carry with you going forward.
“The obvious story is never give up,” Gantman said. “We were not a good team going into the tournament, and I mean, look what happened. Cinderella story.”
It’s a lesson their coach hopes they’ll carry with them beyond baseball, into life.
“Sports do teach you a lot about life, and, you know, you get knocked down, and the idea is you’ve got to get back up,” Fehrman said.
So if Sibley starts out 4-14 again this year, look out. They’ve got the rest of the state right where they want them.
“As a coach, I’d rather go the conventional route if we could this year [laughs]!” Fehrman said.