The back-to-back WIAA state titles weren't enough for the Menomonee Falls baseball team.
The Indians also claimed the WIAA sportsmanship award for its efforts in the recently held state tournament at Kapco Park in Mequon.
It is the third such award for a Falls state-level team in three seasons to go along with the boys soccer team in 2014 and the girls soccer team in 2015.
Falls won the state title July 22 with a 6-0 victory over New Holstein in the semifinals and a 2-0 triumph over Marquette in the final. In doing so, the Indians became just the third team in the 51-year history of the summer baseball tournament to repeat as champions.
"We could not be more proud of our community," said Megan Sheridan, director of communications and community outreach for the school district of Menomonee Falls. "This award (the sportsmanship honor) goes beyond our players and shows the true heart of our students, parents and community members."
Falls Athletic Director Ryan Anderson credits these awards to the culture building done at the start of each school year with students and coaches.
"Our fan boot camp has really been an integral part of setting the tone for the school year in athletics," he said. "Students are able to create cheers that serve a dual purpose of revving up the athletes and making our fans proud of our students."
Ty Weber, the WBCA State Summer Player of the Year and Now Newspapers Player of the Year, said the Indians could not have won without the fan support. He said it was especially important in the 2-0 final win over Marquette, during which he pitched a complete game shutout and knocked in the only runs of the game.
He said he wanted to give something back to them.
"I just fed off the crowd," he said. "They cheered as loud as they could for as long as they could. I knew it was all on my shoulders so I really wanted to come through for the community."
He and the Indians did but it took a while to get to that point.
They didn't have a lot of momentum heading into the WIAA tournament like they did last year. Veteran coach Pat Hansen, who passed the 400 wins mark for his career this season, said he wasn't a big believer in teams "turning on a switch" come tourney time.
He spoke to the team after the first-round Greater Metro Conference tourney loss to Tosa East and told them that he felt that the team could make a strong WIAA tournament run again this summer but noted that it would require a maximum effort.
He noted a subtle but important change in the team's demeanor after that.
"I really had to hand it to the kids," he said. "They kept their focus on the next game in front of them. There was no talk about the title, all they worried about was Kewaskum (the WIAA regional final), then Grafton (the WIAA sectional semifinal) and so forth."
Kewaskum was a 4-0 victory on July 15 as Weber pitched six strong innings, his first stretched out pitching effort in two weeks. He would prove to be available for the July 18 sectional and though he played an important role, the difference makers were junior pitcher Logan Roble and junior outfielders Cole Mir and Ryan Piontek, who all came up big in the 2-1 win over Grafton and then the remarkable 10-6 upset of powerful sectional top seed and North Shore Conference champion West Bend West.
The two victories put the Indians back on the doorstep of another state title. Weber said the Indians' veteran status played a huge role in getting them back to Kapco.
"All that experience," he said. "We knew we just had to keep on grinding."
The following state tourney will now become something of a legend in the Falls baseball camp. The roll of the dice with Roble in the state semifinal win over New Holstein as he induced fly ball after fly ball in getting Falls to the title game under scorching hot conditions.
"He was really our 'X' factor," said Weber. "After that win, we had all the confidence in the world."
But it still came down to Weber and his fulfilling of a legacy that had been building ever since he was brought up to varsity as a freshman. He said any pressure he felt had long dissipated. He had proven himself a long time ago.
"I wasn't going to let the pressure get to me," he said. "I'm my own person. The only pressure I felt was a long time ago. It's since comfortably lifted off me."
It certainly showed as he pitched a four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts. Gile provided the final out with a long peg from deep in the hole and, with that, these long-time friends and teammates were repeat champs.
"I always thought about it when we were playing Junior Indians baseball. We would hang around our hotel room talking about playing for something like this," Weber said. '"So to win not one, but two, shows how far we've come collectively."
"On and off the field we were a very tight-knit group," her said. "The chemistry had to be there if we were going to do something like this. Logan (Roble), Cole (Mir) and Ryan (Piontek) all came through when it counted. We needed everyone to contribute."
Hansen, who let out an exuberant shout when he raised the title trophy on July 22 at Kapco, said that was the point.
"There was never any panic in this group," he said. "No matter what, they just kept going. They just kept playing."
A CHAMPIONSHIP SUMMARY
FINAL RECORD: 25-10 (10-6 in the Greater Metro Conference)
HONORS: WIAA state champions (also in 2015); WIAA sectional champions, Weber, WBCA State Player of the Year; Gile, first-team WBCA all-state; WIAA Sportsmanship Award.
SENIORS: Brandon Kohnert, Weber, Joe Plantier, Jerin Frey, Tyler Becker, Kornburger, Matt Emmer and Hunter Ruediger.
CAPTAINS: Weber, Kornburger and Emmer.
Team Batting average: .317. Batting average: Weber (.531), Gile (.431); Matt Emmer (.385). Hits: Gile (47), Emmer (35), Weber (34); Runs: Emmer (35), Zach Kornburger (33), Gile (29); RBI: Gile (25), Kornburger (23), Emmer (23). Doubles: Gile (13); Triples Kornburger (4); Home runs: Weber (2).
Team ERA: 3.13. Weber (7-0, 2.05 ERA, 64 strikeouts, 12 walks); Roble (6-2, 1.64 ERA, 14 SO, 6 BB); Kornburger (4-1, 1.25 ERA, 12 SO, 4 BB).