EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Only two teams in El Paso history have won high school state championships in the sport of baseball. Those teams are the 1949 Bowie Bears and 2009 Socorro Bulldogs.

In 1949, Bowie beat Austin, 3-2 in the state championship game to win the city’s first ever baseball state title. That was the first baseball state championships in the University Interscholastic League’s (UIL) history. According to the UIL, it was an eight-team field.

In 2009, Socorro made a run to the state championship game in a 128-team field across four different regions in Class 5A, which was the biggest conference in the state at the time. Class 6A was first introduced in the 2014-15 year.

Socorro went 24-3 in the regular season and went 10-1 in the playoffs to punch its ticket to the Class 5A State Championship game at Dell Diamond Stadium in Round Rock, Texas on June 13, 2009.

Socorro was set to clash with Lufkin High School, the winner of the region two bracket.

“With those kids, I really did not have to give them any motivational speech. They grew up watching Socorro baseball, the understood the tradition. They understood the intensity, the dedication that it took to be a Socorro baseball player,” 2009 Socorro baseball head coach Chris Forbes said on what his final message to his team before the state title game. “I did not want to put more pressure on them. We really kept it lose and they were the ones that actually kept me loose.”

“We had been through a lot as a team. We grew up playing together since we were kids,” 2009 Socorro senior third baseman Bobby Mares said. “We were just focused. We had one game to play and we just wanted to win the last one.”

Socorro fought its way back from a 2-0 deficit after the first three innings of play with high scoring outings in the fourth and fifth innings of the game.

“The fourth inning was usually our inning where we gelled,” 2009 Socorro baseball assistant coach Joe Alvarez said. “I told them ‘I know he’s got a no-hitter through three [innings] but this fourth [inning] is ours and they believed that.”

Socorro’s Cory Falvey hit a two-run homerun in the top of the 4th to tie the game 2-2. Socorro would take the lead after Oscar Sandate stole third base on a wild pitch and then dashed for home after a wild throw in an attempt to catch Sandate stealing by the Lufkin catcher went into left field.

In the top of the 5th, the scoring flood gates for Socorro opened up again. Back-to-back singles from Chris Guzman and Ivan Sigala and a walk for Aaron Olivas loaded the bases for the Bulldogs. Up to bat was Socorro’s power slugger, Cory Falvey, who had already gone yard earlier in the game.

“He was such a great hitter that you knew something was going to happen when he was at the plate.” Forbes said.

“Cory was on the on-deck circle and he comes and tells me ‘Hey, watch this.” Alvarez said.

“I think I told somebody that in the dugout like ‘watch this’ and yeah, it all worked out.” Cory Falvey said.

Lufkin changed pitchers prior to Falvey’s at bat. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Falvey took a hanging curveball deep to left field for a grand slam.

“When he came around third base, he slapped my hand pretty hard, so I knew that we had the confidence.” Forbes said.

That would give the Bulldogs a 7-2 lead and the end of the 5th inning.

Falvey’s grand slam gave Socorro the confidence to tack on five more runs in the top of the 7th and hold off a late Lufkin rally in the final inning of the game to capture a 12-7 win and win the state championship.

“I just remember jumping up and down and next thing you know, I am on the bottom of the dog pile,” Mares said. “That was pretty cool.”

“I remember looking around and thinking ‘I am a kid from Socorro, and I am here to witness this,'” Alvarez said. “We lived it for our community, and this is a great community to be at.”

“All the time and effort we put in from when we were little to finishing the game, all the experience, the days off, all the fights, it all made sense.” Falvey said.”

“When I first got the head coaching job, I would always end our meeting on the first day of the school year with saying ‘the next team to win a state championship from El Paso in baseball will be Socorro and this was in 1985,” Forbes said. “Every year we tried to keep that mentality that it is possible that we can do it even though we are from El Paso and don’t have the resources that everybody else has in Dallas, Houston and so forth, that it could be something that could be achieved.”

To this day, Socorro’s state championship win is something that not only means a lot to members of the team but also the community of Socorro and the entire city of El Paso.

“Every coach, that’s their dream, to win a state championship,” Forbes said. “To be able to do it from El Paso is a big sense of pride for everybody.