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A skiing accident meant the likely end of his high school baseball career. Until this happened.

Governor Aufranc put a cherry on top of 12-seeded Mercer Island's title run: 'He faced one batter, got one out to end his senior year and win a state championship. I don’t have the words'

PASCO, Wash. — When Mercer Island pitcher Governor Aufranc first received the prognosis, all he could think about was his senior high school baseball season.

It was a January 2022 and he’d suffered a broken leg and a torn AC joint in a freak skiing accident and faced a long road back to the mound.

“Essentially it was ‘out for the season,’ looking at a three or four month recovery to even look at getting on the mound again,” Aufranc said. “I was very depressed but I was excited to get back on the mound as soon as I could.”

In his head, the the left-hander ran through all the scenarios that might allow him to return and pitch one last time for Mercer Island. He knew it would likely require a deep postseason run.

Mercer Island thumps Kennewick to completes 'magical' ride from 12-seed to Class 3A WIAA state baseball champion

As the 12-seeded Islanders’ run through the postseason, and the possibility remained alive, he held out hope. After losing in the 3A KingCo tournament, Mercer Island won five consecutive loser-out games to reach Saturday’s Class 3A state championship.

Then the Islanders jumped unto a 7-1 lead over 3-seeded Kennewick. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, head coach Dominic Woody made a pitching change.

As Aufranc, who is committed to play at Pacific University, took the mound, Mercer Island fans rose to their feet and cheered — both because of the stakes, and the significance of his appearance.

“I was definitely soaking it in,” Aufranc said.

His first pitch? A ball. The next two? Both strikes.

He then stepped back off the bump, pumped his arms, took a deep breath and struck out the Kennewick batter swinging to secure Mercer Island its second state championship in program history.

“I’ve been (dreaming about) this moment all year long and the second I got injured and they told me three-to-four months I thought, you never know, maybe I’ll get the last inning in the champo game,” Aufranc said.

“It came true.”

Added Woody: “He faced one batter, got one out to end his senior year and win a state championship. I don’t have the words.

“He’s been working his butt off and we’d just been talking about hypotheticals like if we get here, maybe, maybe, maybe. For things to present themselves that way today is absolutely amazing.”

Throughout his recovery, Aufranc battled through pain, hanging onto the sliver of hope that he could make a return, even if just for one inning, one batter, or one pitch.

Belief and circumstance turned into a storybook ending.

“Should be a movie,” he said.

--Andy Buhler; @AndyBuhler.