Community shows support for state champions with celebration

·2 min read

Jun. 19—Residents lined the streets of Farina Friday night to honor the South Central baseball team after the Cougars defeated Father McGivney to capture the Class 1A state championship.

Thursday's win marked the first state title the school had ever won, and a celebration was due, even though South Central head coach Curt Jones wasn't surprised once he got word of the festivities that were in store.

"We've always had a good following here," Jones said. "Like I told everybody here, we've watched other towns [make state runs] and how exciting it is for them, and I prayed that we would hopefully do that with our South Central community. To finally get to do it, it's been awesome."

A parade kicked off the evening as coaches and players toured through St. Peter, Farina, Kinmundy, and Alma on a school bus, while police escorted them.

Then, after the tour stopped at Lions Field, the team received a warm welcome from the community as they stepped off the bus with their new state championship shirts and medals wrapped around their necks.

For Jones, it was a dream come true. The one thing that eluded him for so long was now in his hands.

After years of almost getting to the state tournament, his 2021 team finally got him over the hump.

"Personally, as a coach, it's something that you want to try to attain," Jones said. "You want to get to a state tournament, but it seems like the older I get, it's more and more about the kids. The more it is about teaching them life. In the old days, it was, 'We got to win.' We've had such good teams over the years and never could get over the hump. Finally, this year, we did. You got to be a good team, and you got to get a lot of breaks, and that happened for us this year."

One former player that has seen those breaks go against his alma mater over the years saw history happen from a different vantage point at Duffy Bass Field in Bloomington.

Tasked with calling the game for WJBD, Craig Holmes said that it was a moment he will remember for the rest of his life.

"To be there in the booth calling the game, no one was in my way; I had a perfect view of the game, and it was just an amazing day," Holmes said. "It is something that I'll always remember."

Holmes added that the season ending with a state championship was the perfect way to cap off a milestone-filled year, which included Jones winning his 800th game and the school winning their 1,000th.

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 217-347-7151 ext. 124 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com

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