State championship celebrations are starting to become a regular thing for Grand Blanc High School.
It wasn’t long ago the Bobcats were celebrating the state basketball title they won in March and Monday they were back at it again, this time honoring the Division 1 state baseball champions.
About 200 people turned out to celebrate with the Bobcats on the front lawn of the high school, where a bounce house, games and a dunk tank were set up. Food, ice cream and drinks – the soft variety, of course – were for sale and both state championship trophies were on hand for fans to take pictures.
And don’t be surprised if the Bobcats are celebrating two more championship next year.
Grand Blanc’s top two basketball players – Ty Rodgers and R.J. Taylor – are returning and the baseball team has seven returning players who appeared in the 8-3 championship game victory over Portage Central.
What are the odds the Bobcats will be back in the state finals next year?
“Pretty high,” said All-State pitcher David Lally, a Notre Dame commit. “Our chemistry is going to be here. We still have a lot of our boys. We’re losing a couple of key links. But we’re hoping our sophomores, maybe a couple of freshman, come up.”
Pitching is always the name of the game in baseball and especially in the state tournament.
And Grand Blanc has three good ones coming back in Lally, the MLive-Flint Journal Player of the Year, senior-to-be Nate Helms, who was the winning pitcher in the championship game, and future sophomore Nathan Fidelino.
“We’re getting back to work already,” Helms said. “I think we have a good shot. We’ve got some good underclassmen coming and some juniors that might not have gotten to play last year.
“We did it for the people who are here so it’s great to see everyone to come out and support us.”
Many high school coaches are reluctant to praise their players too much – perhaps they’re afraid of jinxing them or putting too much pressure on them – but fifth-year Grand Blanc coach Kevin Hubbs admitted his team should be among the contenders to win the Division 1 title again next year.
“We’ll definitely be in the mix,” Hubbs said. “Quite a few kids coming back. Losing a few important pieces (but the) pitching staff returns. A lot of key pieces in our lineup return. We’re not going to sneak up on anybody anymore.
“The kids are still on cloud nine. It’s been a lot of fun all summer. It’s a blast for the kids and community, bringing the community together with their friends. To have something like this that brings everybody together is awesome.”