Will the streak continue?

Elder baseball goes for its eighth straight decade with a state title


Elder has won at least one state title in baseball every decade since the 1940s. Without a state title in this decade, Elder has two more chances to keep the streak alive.

Former baseball coach and current Elder athletic director Coach Espelage said, “That dubious honor of winning it every decade is just that: a dubious honor.”

He continued to say that it is not something the Elder teams set out to do. Obviously Elder tries to win a state championship ever year, but they do not purposefully space them out, so they happen every decade.

Coach Espy emphasized that this streak is talked about more and focused on more by the alums and fans than the people in the baseball program by saying, “Is it talked about among alums and fans? Yes. Is it talked among people in the program? Not really. It’s not a focus. There is really nothing you can do other than do your best and hope for the best.”

from The Enquirer
Elder celebrates their 1999 State Championship

It is still stressful for the players and coaches, as they get closer to the end of a decade without a state title. Coach Thompson, Elder’s head baseball coach, began coaching at age 23 in 1990. “I do know in ’99 it was very very stressful because that was Coach Thompson’s first decade, and so that’s a lot to deal with,” said Espy.

1999 was Elder’s only state title that year, and Coach Thompson was receiving a lot of pressure from the Elder community to get that title. He was an unproven coach at the time, and he was in a very proven baseball program. “The ’99 team was not the best team he’s ever had, but they peaked at the right time and played great baseball at the right time. You take it one game at a time,” said Espy.

Pullquote Photo

That ’05 team…those were special kids

— Kevin Espelage

Espy was a coach on the 2005 state championship team, so he was able to give a first person point of view insight into what it is like to coach a team that did not lose to end the season. “Our ’05 team was the best team in the state. Our ’06 team was better and didn’t win it. That ’05 team… those were special kids. That ’06 team a year later… They were more dominant, but they got tripped up in the tournament… After ’05, it’s not like we are looking for the next batch of kids between 2010-2020. Who’s going to be it, and what can we do to be ready for it? We’re an established program. We have a great reputation. We got great kids, great players, great parents. The west side of Cincinnati has always been a hot bed for baseball.”

Elder just tries to win the state championship every year. They do not win it in one decade then think they need to save their next state championship win until the next decade. They also don’t put extra pressure on the players as they get closer to the end of a decade without a state title. “You can’t add that kind of pressure to any team or any player. Does he think he has a good group of kids this season? Yeah. Does he think he’ll have them next season as well? Sure,” said Espy.

from ehsports
The 2005 Elder baseball team

Elder sets out to win it all each and every year. They never go out one year thinking they do not have to work as hard just because they already won the state title in that decade. Elder just takes it one game and one season at a time. “If they continue to be Elder baseball, we always have a chance. The type of kid we have here always gives you a chance. They work hard. They play even harder. They’re well coached and supported. They’re good students and good athletes. A lot of these guys aren’t baseball only guys. I still think we are that rare bird that gets it done the right way, with hard work and team work,” said Espy.