On Friday, the Santa Fe Indians baseball team celebrated a playoff series sweep and their opportunity to move on to the next round of the postseason — exactly one year from the date of the last day before all their lives changed forever.

The night of May 17, 2018, the Indians lost a tough playoff series opener. The pitching was good enough, but the timely hits and defensive stability were not. The next morning, they lost much more.

Eight of their classmates and two of their teachers were killed in the May 18, 2018 school shooting that became the deadliest in Texas history. Thirteen others were injured.

The next day, the baseball team elected to continue their playoff series, and although the Indians came up short in the game, it was an important show of strength for a community in shock and mourning.

Since then, every Indians win has honored the 10 lives lost, and every ballpark experience has provided a happy escape for their fans in the Santa Fe community who may still be coping with the tragedy.

This season, Santa Fe won their district and are now going at least one round further in the playoffs than the team has gone in the two seasons prior. And the Indians have won in the postseason with the defense and timely hitting that at times eluded them in those recent playoff appearances.

Santa Fe’s top starting pitcher Rome Shubert has given the team high quality outings on the mound and a big bat in the middle of the lineup, while starting catcher Trenton Beazley has been key to what has been excellent overall defensive play. A year ago, both were injured in the shooting.

The Indians’ continued improvement in what has for years been a solid baseball program, and their fans’ continued high spirits and support for the team just goes to show that the horrific act that took place at the high school on May 18, 2018 failed to defeat them. If anything, it made them stronger.

Now, Santa Fe is among only 16 Class 5A baseball teams still playing in the postseason. Congratulations to the Indians for their playoff run so far, and good luck to the team as they get ready to tangle with Georgetown in their upcoming regional semifinal series.

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, james.lacombe@galvnews.com or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews

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