For Kaden Hepler, it seemed like only yesterday that he watched teammate Brandon Rauhauser catch the final out of West York's state championship-clinching triumph.
The truth, however, is that moment happened way back on June 15 to cap off a 9-6 victory in the PIAA Class AAA baseball title contest vs. Lampeter-Strasburg.
Maybe that's to be expected, however, considering the emotional high the Bulldogs have been riding since the history-making win.
"It doesn't seem like a month ago," Hepler said after he and his teammates were honored with a parade and a ceremony in the high school gymnasium Thursday evening.
While Hepler was amazed with his team's championship season, he was just as enamored with the support the West York community gave the program. Several hundred fans lined the streets around the high school, waving at the players and coaches in appreciation of the team's accomplishments.
"To see how the community supports us and gets behind us 110 percent ... it means so much to all of us," Hepler said. "We just want to say 'Thank You' to everybody."
Lest anyone believe that the Bulldogs' journey to a title was easy, Coach Roger Czerwinski showed a short video to those in attendance of a preseason training regimen that each and every player on the roster endured.
The 5-minute, 13-second footage displayed the players not only throwing, fielding and hitting baseballs, but also lifting weights, jumping down the school's halls and running up and down stairs, in addition to various other strenuous conditioning drills.
Czerwinski was quick to point out that those events mostly occurred around 5:30 in the morning on school days.
"It wasn't easy," he said to his players -- all of whom wore their PIAA gold medals -- during the ceremony. "But the reward is right there around your neck."
Hepler, for one, is a believer that the team's hard work was a major reason behind the team's success.
"It's funny how everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that," said Hepler, who finished the season with a 14-0 pitching record.
Hepler dished a heavy dose of praise upon Czerwinski, who has helped the program reach never-before-seen heights since taking over in 2008. Two years ago, Czerwinski led the team to its first PIAA playoff berth, and now the team is sitting atop the state AAA baseball world.
Czerwinski, who is also the school's athletic director, probably wouldn't be the team's coach had circumstances not prevented the team's former coach from continuing on a few years ago.
"What happens, happens," Hepler said. "We might not know the reason for it now or 20 years from now or you might never know. (Coach Czerwinski) coming here has been a blessing, not only for the baseball team, but for all the sports teams. He's just great overall."
The night's festivities also provided a farewell of sorts to the team's five seniors -- Hepler, Jesse Bortner, Brock Gladfelter, Jerrin Toomey and Ryan Dellinger.
While those five will all be in college next year, Czerwinski is optimistic that the program can be just as good next year.
"We have eight starters coming back next year," he said. "It's going to be difficult to replace the leadership of those five, but the experience that we have coming back is very strong."
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.