The Midway Raiders baseball team were heroes before they landed a hard-fought 2A state championship victory over the weekend. Today they are that much more so, having brought honor and recognition to their team, their school, their community and their county with the statewide recognition they both deserve and will now received.
In our eyes — and the eyes of a very supportive community that really extends beyond even the northern district boundary lines — they have been champions season after season. The title they’ve now earned only adds an exclamation point to what we’ve known for years — this team, with their heart, their determination, their athleticism and their strong focus — are winners. And the pride we all have for the team and their outstanding coaches couldn’t be any greater.
Game after game, the Raiders have shown a tenacity that has been matched only by their good sportsmanship, both character traits that define true winners no matter the final score or a tournament outcome.
And these young men have shown that spirit not just this season but in previous years, with their stellar record — and their determined spirit — taking them deep into the state playoffs last season and this year all the way to the championship trophy.
We could talk about the athleticism that abounds on the Raider team, something built from the ground up and improved as young boys are taken from Little League to the middle school and finally to the high school, their knowledge of the game growing along with their skills.
We could talk about their impressive record this season, or even last, and the way they have battled game after game, never giving up and always determined to give each inning everything they had.
In fact, the list of positive attributes regarding this Raider team could fill up pages and be talked about for weeks.
But the most impressive aspect of this team is the way they have conducted themselves on and off the field, something that can be attributed to their parents and other family role models, their school and their coaches, top among them Jason Fussell, who leads this Raider club with class and inspires a winning spirit that has been infectious all season long.
The ball players are exceptional athletes and, equally as impressively, exceptional students. Most importantly they are good kids, courteous even in heated contests, determined but always mindful that how they play the game is far more important than the Ws they might amass.
We know these young men wanted this title they’ve now earned. We wanted it for them. They worked hard to earn it, and they played exceptional games, showing they have the ability that makes them among the best of the best.
With the championship win, they have made a school, a community and a county extremely proud of them, and they did that not just because of the way they played but because of the way they conducted themselves game after game.
Our hats are off to the Raiders for being the kind of heroes we should all learn from day after day.