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OREM, Utah — A trophy wasn't the first thing the Snow Canyon Warriors raised above their heads after defending their 3A state baseball championship.
It was a jersey with the No. 6 instead.
The memory of their late teammate K.J. Harrison inspired them to an improbable run to a another 3A baseball title.
"Every time we get on the field we say K.J.," says senior Jake Linsdey. It's big. We love him"
K.J. Harrison was a sophomore on the 2012 Snow Canyon baseball team that won the state championship. Just weeks after the 16-year old celebrated that championship with his teammates Harrison he was on a boy scout trip to the Supai Canyon on the west side of the Grand Canyon. While swimming beneath a waterfall the undercurrent pulled him under water. When he was finally pulled to shore efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
The news was devastating to the community and even more so for his teammates. They keep his memory alive and made him a part of another championship by bringing his jersey to every game.
Snow Canyon gave up a 4-0 lead over Desert Hills on Friday and lost to the Thunder for the third time this season. The loss forced the Warriors to win three games on Saturday in order to defend their state title including two wins over the Thunder.
"It was tough but in 2007 Snow Canyon did that," Linsdey says. "That's what Coach told us about this morning and last night so we leaned on that and we leaned on KJ."
The Warriors opened the day by defeating Spanish Fork 5-2 after a two and a half hour rain delay to earn a shot at Desert Hills in the championship.
In the first game against Desert Hills Jake Lindsey hit a two-run home run and had 5 RBI as the Warriors crushed their rivals 16-6 forcing a winner take all rematch.
Pitching was the key to victory in the second game as Clint Gates went the distance allowing just one run on four hits. He also helped himself by hitting a solo home run in the 6th inning of a 7-1 victory.
Snow Canyon had completed the difficult task of winning three games in one day including two against their rivals.
"Winning three games today, two against Desert Hills it is the greatest feeling," says Chandler Day who had a combined 6 RBI in the three wins.
As the team celebrated back-to-back state titles the No. 6 jersey made it's way onto the field and cheers quickly turned to tears.
The team raised the jersey into the air. Players could be heard shouting "we love you K.J." as they all took hold of K.J.'s jersey.
Before they accepted their championship trophy they broke the huddle by saying his name one more time.
They did it for K.J.