The Valley Mills Eagles are playing Linden-Kildare in the 2A State Semifinals on Wednesday, after sweeping Windthorst in the Regional Final.
The last few years, the Eagles have been eliminated in the fourth round, and to make it this far, means a lot to the seniors, particularly Chase Keeton, because his Dad, Shane Keeton, is the head baseball coach at Valley Mills.
The senior pitcher/shortstop has had his mind set on making the State Tournament, since he learned the game of baseball.
“When he was a little kid, took him to the state tournament all the time,” Shane Keeton said. “He’d always say ‘Hey Dad I’m gonna play here some day’ I said ‘buddy it’s hard to get here.’“
“We used to go literally every year, and go watch the state tournament,” Chase Keeton said. “Every year I’d get a foul ball, or attempt to get a foul ball and I’d tell him I was gonna play there, so I think it’s pretty awesome that it’s actually finally happening, and it’s my senior year.“
The father son duo recognize they’re experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“It’s definitely been a blessing, going to state with your Dad,” Chase Keeton said. “Especially as a senior, is pretty unheard, so I’m gonna use it as motivation to finish out our season, and hopefully we can finish it out the right way.“
“I sit back at night, and I just tear up,” Shane Keeton said. “This is it, you know, this is it, you know when he was born 18 years ago, you think, well my kid’s gonna do this my kids gonna do that, you know, they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. Not every coach gets to coach their won kid, and get in a state tournament, so we’re gonna enjoy this.“