VENICE - On Saturday, the nationally-ranked Venice High School Indians defeated Haines City 14-4, winning their second straight state title. Wednesday night, the city celebrated its champions.
The population in the City of Venice is just over 20,000. It's a small, coastal community known as the shark tooth capital of the world. But Venice is quickly becoming popular for another reason: its high school baseball team.
That team is bringing the community together and giving those residents something to cheer about.
As the sirens roared down Venice Avenue Wednesday, the champs arrived in style on board a hook and ladder truck. “It's exciting to win any state title, but two in a row makes it really special,” said head coach Craig Faulkner.
What's also special for the Indians are the fans; sporting green and white shirts and hats, hundreds lined up to rally around the team like they've done all year long.
“It is awesome to have so much support from the town. Our fans are equal to none,” said player Colton Lightner.
In a town with no professional sports and only one high school, the Indians thrive on popularity. “They have a lot of support. There are people who won't miss a game, whether it's in Venice or across the state,” said Venice mayor John Holic.
“I get to go out and see baseball and get to watch a great team. It's awesome. We have been here two years now. It's been great,” said fan Wesley Wright.
What would also be great for these fans? To attend another celebration just like this one, next year.
“I'm originally from Chicago. We had a team there called the Bulls that did a 3-peat. I have no objection to this team doing a 3-peat,” said Mayor Holic.
The team went 29-3 overall this year, and didn't do too bad in the classroom either.
Collectively, the players averaged a 3.3 GPA.