Navajo All-Stater, Braden Box has already had a summer to remember.
Box competed in the small school All-State game as a member of the West team and threw 2 scoreless innings while striking out 4 as the West ended the East 10 year winning streak.
Since I have no words to capture the absolute joy Braden conveys as he tells the story, I will let his words do the talking.
BOX: “All-State was my favorite two days I’ve ever had around baseball. Just being around all the big names you hear about and play against and now I was getting to know them and play with them. It was great. It was laid back, go have fun and play baseball. However, that was day one. When it was time for the game, everyone got serious. No one had to tell us it was game time. We took the game very serious. The East team was on a 10 year win streak and we didn’t like that very much and we really didn’t care too much for the East team because they were arrogant towards us. So, we came out to play and Cal Castle started and threw two scoreless innings for us to set the tone. Our bats came out swinging and we jumped on the East’s, Blake Watts, and scored 3 early. I came in with a 3-0 lead and threw the 3rd and 4th and even though I walked a couple and gave up a couple of hits, I struck out 4 and no one from the East crossed the plate.
Our offense continued to bang hits off of East pitchers and Gabe Littlejim came in to close the game for us. He gave up the only two runs the East got making the final 8-2. After Gabe struck out the last out from the East, I got to do something I will never forget. We stormed the field and dogpiled like champions. I’ve always wanted to do that. It was an amazing game and so much fun around all those great guys.
The OCA made it really special by calling out all the players with their coaches before the game and honoring them. Coach Winters even won Coach of the Year. I was really proud that he was my coach. They gave him that award after the small West game.
Also, after the game they finally gave us what we all had been waiting for and that was our rings. That ring is what helped me push this whole past year and I finally had it on my finger. I was so happy to have it. I could have never made it without my coaches and teammates pushing me to get better everyday.”
If you read that without a smile on your face, then you may be without a pulse. Box’s All-State experience came just one day after he was part of his American Legion State Championship. Since, that story contains more local players than just Box, I will give that story it’s own space on Sunday.
Congratulations Braden. Hard work pays off.
Reach Brad Gilbert at 482-1221 ext.2076