EAST PEORIA -- Most figured a roster littered with juniors meant the Alleman softball team was a year away from being a true state title contender.
Next year, the Pioneers will try defending their Class 2A championship.
Inside the dugout, everyone believed the time was now for a title. What carried Alleman to its sixth state championship during the season was a mentality that everyone -- no matter their experience or abilities -- would be a part of this.
"A total team effort," Alleman head coach Mike Ebner said after a 9-3 win over Teutopolis in the Class 2A state championship game at the EastSide Centre on Saturday. "Everyone had their job and everybody did their job every game."
There were no holes on this team.
"That makes it unbelievable. That's why we were so successful," Mr. Ebner said. "Some teams have a couple hitters you stay away from and don't give them a chance. We had everyone who could (produce)."
The Pioneers always believed each player and coach could be a part of something special.
"We're a team," Alleman junior second baseman Lexi Ferrari said. "We always communicate very well. We never bicker or fight. We just work together well."
Because of that mentality, they were able to do something no one outside the program thought could happen this year.
A team built on talent, trust and togetherness found a way to overcome four deficits in seven postseason games. When things seemed to be at its worst, Alleman rallied when it mattered most.
Along the way, the Pioneers won their first Western Big 6 Conference title in 14 years and ended a 16-year state championship drought. Alleman's six state titles tie it with Moline for the second-most total in state history.
"We have faith in each other," Alleman senior left fielder Anna Wetherell said. "This team, we always tried staying as positive as we can."
All the good vibes produced a reward. Being a state champion a year early seems pretty good.
Following a season-long script, Alleman did it together.
"Everyone," Ms. Ferrari said, "had a part in this."
Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation. 1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.