Westlake Gives Baseball Team MVP Sendoff to State Tournament

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WESTLAKE, Ohio -- There is quite a buzz in the city of Westlake this week all thanks to teenagers at Westlake High School.  The varsity baseball team is in the final four of the state baseball tournament for the first-time ever and the support from the community has been a home run.

Everywhere you look, "Go Demons," shouted one student from Hilliard Elementary School.

There is a 'Go Demons' sign.

"It's really neat that they finally made it," said Westlake resident, George Heberlein.

The Westlake Baseball team made their first trip to the state baseball tournament in Columbus.

"I think they are the best team ever," another student yelled.

The team got quite the send off Thursday morning.

"Pretty fun," said fourth-grader, Evan Kaiser.

The team bus drove past seven middle and elementary schools in the city as the students stood on the sidewalk screaming and yelling as the bus rolled by.

"Even from this level up to really support.  You saw our preschoolers out here so it's great because that gives them the great future to look forward to and being a part of that team," Hilliard Elementary Principal Kim Conley said.

The support goes beyond the school district.  It stretches to businesses like Center West Animal Hospital, which is appropriate because the Demons are considered the "underdog" in the tournament.

"We see a lot of underdogs here so it's just really fun to get involved," said Kim Manubay of Center West Animal Hospital.

What makes this story even sweeter is that head baseball coach Jeff Short said he will call it quits after 24 seasons in those 24 years he has never made it to the state tournament that is until this year.

"Personally, it's a dream come true, I mean I guess you can't ask for anything else.  It's a good year to go out for me, it's a good year to go out for these seniors," Short said.

The Demons will face Massillon Perry in the state semifinals.

"We just have to play our game," said Short.

And if they can, it will be on to the state title game on Saturday.

"It's been a great ride for our kids and I couldn't be happier," added coach.

No matter what happens at the state baseball tournament this experience is something this city won't soon forget and something the players will take with them for the rest of their lives. 

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