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Patriots enjoy championship celebration on the square

It was déjà vu on the square on Monday afternoon when the Pike Patriots rode into downtown on the top of a fire truck to celebrate their second consecutive state championship.

The Patriots knocked off Morgan Academy in three games earlier this month to claim another title, and Monday the team was awarded with gifts and cheers.

“The City of Troy does a great job and it’s just an honor to be here,” said head coach Allen Ponder. “They put on a great event and it’s very exciting. It’s exciting to win and it’s exciting to have our community here. It’s a great day.”

“It’s unreal,” said Patriot catcher Trevor Barron. “Pike has such a great supporting cast. There is a lot of love in the City of Troy.”

Nothing came easy for the Patriots during the 2019 season. After starting the season 10-0, the Patriots hit a rough stretch of games before ultimately correcting course towards the end of the season. They knocked off Fort Dale and Tuscaloosa in rounds two and three of the playoffs, sending them to their third straight state championship.

After falling in game one in just three innings, the Patriots battled back to win the final two games, clinching the championship.

“We had to have some guys step up,” Ponder said. “The difference between this year’s team and last year’s team is we had to face a lot more adversity this year. Last year was a smooth season, but this season we faced adversity in the middle of the season and then we played a team that was supposedly unbeatable. To overcome the middle of the season and find a way to win, I can’t say enough about this team and its seniors.”

Every championship is special, but to win one as a senior makes it that much more special for Barron.

“Last year was great, but this year we dog piled a little differently,” Barron said. “Last year we beat a dynasty and this year we beat possibly the best team the AISA has ever assembled. They’re both great, but this one as a senior definitely feels a lot sweeter.”

The Patriots have an opportunity to win their third-straight championship next season and even though it will be a tall task, Ponder is excited for the opportunity and the challenge.

“Winning a state championship isn’t easy at all,” Ponder said. “You always have to have a lot go your way to win a championship. To say that we will back next year is great, it sounds great, but we have our work ahead of us.”

Barron believes the 2020 Patriots will continue to find success.

“Pike will be back there next year,” Barron said. “Pike has a great program and the foundation is set. They have great pitching and a great lineup. The thing about Pike is that we are always a team. A team is going to win a state championship. We loved each other and we care for each other and that is what wins championships.”