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Walk-off State Title win for Owyhee Baseball Coach

11 State Titles and 38 years of memories
Posted at 9:34 PM, May 20, 2024

MERIDIAN, IDAHO — Saturday, Owyhee High School won its third straight State Title, and Head Coach Russ Wright's 11th. Wright is calling it a career after 38 years.

  • Owyhee beat Rocky Mountain in the 5A State Title game 5-4.
  • This is the Storm's third straight Title.
  • Owyhee has now gotten a Title in all three years of its existence.
  • Coach Russ Wright is retiring from coaching after 38 years at the high school and college level.
  • This is Wright's 11th Title as a coach.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

The Owyhee baseball team has gone back-to-back-to-back in the 5A State Championship. I'm your neighborhood reporter Alexander Huddleston and I met up with the man behind the three-peat and the team's success.

"There is no way they are going to win it their first year. We did it. They can't repeat. Well, nobody three-peats," laughed Head Coach Russ Wright.

But, if anyone can its Owyhee High School.

Coach Wright played back the final play of the championship game explaining, "When the ball was hit, I'm just screaming get them out at first or get them out at second. I didn’t even watch Nate turn it. Then I turn and Gage is throwing his glove in the air, then it hits me. Oh crap. We just won it."

"So I just made sure to secure it and toss it to him and he did the rest," said shortstop Keagan Kelly.

The Storm had their inaugural season three years ago. Each season since Wright and his team have taken home the State Title.

Wright said, "I'm just happy for our kids to be honest. I remember what it was like to win one as a player, it's very memorable."

But, after 38 years of coaching and 11 State Titles, Coach Wright is hanging up his cap.

"Will I miss the group of kids, my coaches, the Friday night thing? Absolutely," exclaimed Wright.

Kelly said, "We said we weren't going to lose because it is his last year."

I spoke with Kelly and Gage Haws about the effects Coach Wright has had on their lives.

"He has been a great role model. Helped me through everything. He has been super influential to the whole team," explained Kelly.

Haws continued by saying, "A huge legacy. I think the culture. From the beginning that is what you have to instill."

The player's biggest takeaways from playing under Wright? How to handle adversity.

"Not everything is going to go our way. We are always going to have ups and downs," finished Kelly.

Haws added," Always got to go inning by inning. Pitch by pitch. Keep pressing because you never know what is going to happen."

Even if he won't be in the dugout, Coach Wright says he will always be the team's biggest supporter.

"I'll be in the stands next year with my granddaughter and watch them win a fourth, you know? At 61 it's time to do those things," smiled Wright.

Coach Wright leaves a great legacy with the club, and speaking with the players, they want to keep that winning culture alive.