This is much like a few years ago when the Casey County girls basketball team made the state tournament semifinals and earned respect for the 12th Region that could have played a role in Rockcastle County finally winning the state title this year.
What the Mercer baseball team did helps not only the Titans, but it gives credibility to 12th Region baseball because going into postseason play, I guarantee you that West Jessamine, Danville, Somerset, Boyle County and maybe others felt they could beat the Titans, who did lose nine games during the regular season.
But coach Jeremy Shope pushed all the right buttons in the postseason before his team just ran out of pitching in the final game against a hard-hitting and talented Central Hardin that stunned St. Xavier in the semifinals.
Mercer fans were right to hold a post-state celebration at the high school Saturday night when the team returned because the Titans had an extraordinary season. The players deserve to be patted on the back often by Mercer Countians in the weeks ahead for almost making what seemed like an impossible dream come true.
For far too long it seems like Mercer has had a team good enough to win the 12th Region baseball title only to have something go wrong. Shope never publicly complained, but I¿know he had to feel snakebit that his teams could not win the regional.
This year Mercer not only won the regional, it showed everyone across the state that players like Clay Cinnamon, Matthew Honchel, Colin Buckner and others could more than hold their own with hotshots from Louisville,¿Lexington or anywhere else.
Sure, getting so close to a state championship and losing hurts. Actually, it has to hurt a lot.
One day, though, these Titans will realize how proud they should be of what they have done and not let anything that happened Saturday night tarnish the memory of their remarkable season.