Rocori Ends Historic Season in State Championship
Before the start of the 2018 season, the Rocori Spartans baseball team announced a motto heading into the start of another year with high hopes.
That motto was Heart Over Hype.
As the season began, Rocori was focused on not feeding into any hype, but rather having the heart they play with showcase itself with every pitch, every at-bat and every out.
Throughout the course of the year, it's safe to say the Spartans lived up to that motto, displaying nothing but heart while putting together a historic season that came to a close in the state championship game.
Rocori fell to Mahtomedi 5-1 on Saturday night in the Class 3A state title game in Minneapolis, claiming second place in the state for the third time in school history.
The Spartans finished the season with a record of 22-6 overall, and their journey throughout the year - especially at the end of the season - that ultimately led them back to Target Field was and will forever be one to remember.
Rocori, much like teams all across the state, faced adversity right out of the gate to start the season in dealing with weather. That didn't slow them down.
The Spartans found themselves with a shortened yet busy schedule and had a few injuries along the way. They didn't make any excuses.
Rocori found itself dealing with adversity in the section playoffs, needing to string together a handful of wins over the course of a few days. They never gave up and advanced to state.
The Spartans put together a historic season in 2018. And although it didn't ultimately end with a state championship, it resulted in a trip back to the state title game and a display of perseverance and determination when many counted them out.
Rocori lived up to its motto it introduced before the journey of a new season began. The Spartans showed tremendous heart over any and all hype.
"I told our boys they have to be proud. They played their hearts out," Rocori head coach Jeff Illies told the St. Cloud Times. "I'm extremely proud of them for what they accomplished this year. Like I told them, they will look back on this day and they will be extremely proud at some point and be happy with the great run we had."
Throughout the course of the historic season, the 2018 Rocori team made their onto some impressive all-time program lists.
The Spartans finished with a record of 22-6 on the year after Saturday's state title game. Those 22 wins ranks third-most in school history, trailing only 1992 (25 wins) and 2010 (24 wins).
As a team, Rocori had 79 stolen bases, which is tied for fourth (2010) in school history.
Individually, Jack Steil finished with six home runs on the season, tying Bryan Hennen (2002) for second on the single-season home runs list.
Dylan Tebrake, who pitched a total of 19.1 innings to start the year, set a new school record (minimum of 15 innings) with a perfect .000 earned run average on the mound.
Following the conclusion of Saturday's game, three Spartans were named to the All-Class 3A State Tournament Team.
Those players include Mason Primus, Brandon Gil and Jack Steil.
Along with those three players, another Rocori player earned some recognition for his work this season.
Eli Emerson was named to the Class 3A All-State Team by the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association.