Bowling Green's 10-year-old all-star baseball team originally didn't expect to win a state championship.
Perrysburg was seeded fifth for single-elimination play, while West Branch was seventh and Upper Arlington was eighth.
But the longer the state tournament went on, the more confidence the team developed and its expectations grew.
And winning a state championship eventually became a reasonable goal.
BG turned its dream into a reality as it won the Nations Baseball state tournament recently in Grove City.
The team finished the tournament with a 7-1 record, including six straight victories in the single-elimination portion of the event.
The team won four games on the final day of the tournament, including an 11-5 victory over Upper Arlington in the championship. BG also was a 15-12 winner over West Branch in the semifinals, a 5-3 winner over Perrysburg in the quarterfinals and a 12-2 winner over Union Post in the round of 16.
BG was seeded 21st after posting a 1-1 record in pool play. The team beat New Albany (15-6) and lost to Pickerington (8-3).
BG won its first two single-elimination games, beating Olentangy (14-6) and Worthington (5-3).
The state championship also earned BG a chance to compete in one of Nations Baseball's World Series starting this weekend in North Ridgeville.
The team is ranked fifth nationally by Nations Baseball. The rankings are based on a team's record and its strength of schedule.
"To win something of this caliber is something totally unexpected," said Steve Messenger, the team's head coach. "We went down there thinking we just wanted to win more games than we lost, and play as many games as we could.
"Clearly, we didn't say 'let's go down there and win this thing' because we didn't think that was an option from our standpoint. The whole weekend was a just a great experience, both in terms of the baseball and the players and parents bonding by spending so much time together."
Although it has a deep and talented roster, BG was at a disadvantage going into the state tournament because it doesn't play regular travel rules all season.
The travel rules are similar to Major League rules where runners can lead off and steal, and pitchers must learn to hold those runners on and catchers have to throw them out trying to steal second and third.
But BG's players play on separate teams during the week in the BG Pee Wee League, which uses traditional Little League rules where runners can't leave their base until the ball passes home plate.
The BG players then come together to play as a weekend all-star team that will play in four tournaments this season. The team had played just one major league rules tournament this season, that coming Memorial Day weekend at Carter Park.
The BG Pee Wee League doesn't start travel baseball until age 11, but the league still has weekend tournament teams in the the 9- and 10-year-old age divisions.
BG won the Select Division, which is primarily for teams with players from just one school district.
"There's a big difference between the two," Messenger said. "It's a big adjustment and we were a deer in headlights Memorial Day weekend. Teams were running circles around us because they knew what was going on. We were still learning how to lead off, how to steal, how to hold runners on."
BG was 2-3 in that tournament, advancing to the semifinals. The team then held several practices before the state tournament.
Brett Rich had a .625 batting average for BG in the state tournament, while Adam Furnas had a .545 average and Preston Morman had a 391 average. Cody Rogowski had a .792 on-base percentage and Dylan McCarty had a .500 on-base percentage.
Rich, Furnas, Elijah Richardson, Alec Brown and Clayton Brown handled most of the pitching. Each pitcher was limited to 27 outs in the four-day tournament.
The other players on the team were Blaine Brown, Andrew Merrill, Alex Messenger and Noah Nietz.
The other coaches were Mike Furnas, Terry Morman, Todd Brown and Doug Merrill.
"We didn't know what to expect when we got there," Messenger said. "But as each game went on it got more exciting and we gained more and more confidence because we realized.
"We played well most of the tournament. The pitchers threw strikes, the defense made a lot of great plays and it always seemed like we had two or three guys on base. We had all 12 players contributing."
Bowling Green won the Nations Baseball 10U State Tournament last weekend. The team finished the 47 team tournament with a record of 7-1 and now advance to the national tournament. Team members are Andrew Merrill, Clayton Brown, Dylan McCarty, Blaine Brown, Alex Messenger, Alec Brown, Adam Furnas, Brett Rich, Cody Rogowski, Noah Neitz, Preston Morman, Elijah Richardson. Coaches-Steve Messenger, Mike Furnas, Terry Morman, Todd Brown and Doug Merrill.