Dave Davis, News On 6
OWASSO, Oklahoma -- Whenever a group of underdogs wins any type of championship it makes you feel good, but when you see what a group of kids from Owasso had to overcome to win a tournament, it may bring a tear to your eye.
"If they'd had Vegas odds on it, we would have been five thousand to one," said Chris Shew, coach of the Owls.
The Owasso Owls are celebrating a championship; they recently won the USSSA state tournament.
But to really understand the Owls' journey, you have to go back to the early morning hours of May 20, 2011.
Iain Bell was riding his motorcycle to work when he was hit head-on by a suspected drunk driver. Iain was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Just broke the news to me right away. I jumped up running through the house bawling. Waking up my wife. Just a very, very bad day," said Chris Shew.
Shew coached the Owls with Iain Bell this year, and was one of his best friends.
Coach Shew bought a batting cage for the team, and Iain had built it the next day. That goes with the team's baseball diamond, which Iain had also built and maintained himself.
"He did more for Owasso youth sports than anyone I know," said Chris Shew.
Bell is memorialized with a T-shirt. It shows Grumpy the Dwarf sitting on a bucket yelling "Go!" Coach Bell was nicknamed Grumpy by Coach Shew and was best remembered for sitting on his bucket, occasionally yelling "Go!" to his youngest son, Jason, as he rounded the bases.
And then there was Jason's performance in the state tournament. He got a hit 26 out of 28 times at the plate, making only two outs. It's still too painful for Iain's wife Pam to talk about her husband, but after watching their son Jason's amazing performance, she thinks maybe a higher power was involved. And she's not alone.
"I see somebody upstairs, sitting beside the big man, on his bucket saying, 'Give these guys a little break,'" Chris Shew said.
The pain of losing a father, husband, friend and coach has brought the Owasso Owls and their families together as one big family. And it's a family that will never forget the man who always had the best seat in the house.
They qualified for nationals with that win and they won't be going to that, but the Owls do plan on playing together next season.