One Southeast State has crowned their state champions, while four others are crowning them this week. Here is a look at the Championship weekend ahead.
Louisiana was the first of the state’s to crown their champions, holding the final last weekend.
Defending champion Baton Rouge Catholic was the heavy favorite coming into the 5A tournament, holding the #1 seed as well as being a top 10 team in the PG National Top 50. Catholic got wins over Central Lafourche, Captain Shreve, and Byrd to set up a semifinal matchup with New Orleans Jesuit.
The bottom of the bracket pitted Lafayette and Zachary, with Lafayette picking up an 8-4 win over Acadiana and Lafayette bearing Denham Springs 10-5 to advance. Lafayette earned a title game berth with a 5-3 win.
Jesuit did what no team had done all year; beat Catholic RHP Aaron Nola with Josh Faciane singling with two outs in the 7th to send Jesuit to the state title game.
They kept the momentum going scoring five runs in the first inning before hanging on for a 5-4 win for their 20th state championship.
St. Louis Catholic, the #5 seed, brought home the 4A title with a 9-8 win over St. Michael’s, and Livonia beat early season favorite Parkview Baptist 7-5 to win the 3A title. Other champs were: Evangel Christian in 2A, St. Mary’s in 1A with a 23-0 demolishing of Oak Grove, Forest in Class B, and Hicks in Class C.
Technically in our Mid-Atlantic region, South Carolina is one of the states with their final this weekend, with the Upper State and Lower State champs facing off in a 3-game series.
AAAA Lower State Champ Sumter roughed up Byrnes ace RHP Daniel Gossett in game one scoring six runs en route to an 11-0 win. Byrnes got strong pitching from RHP Zach Bridgeman to win game two 3-2 and set up Friday night’s winner take all championship game, played at Gilbert HS.
The AAA Championship series pits St. James, a member of the PG National Top 50 for most of the year, against Union County who dropped their first championship round game to Greenville, before winning four straight games to take the Upper State title.
Union County kept rolling with a 4-2 win over St. James in a rain-shortened game one with Ricky Rice getting the win on the mound and Cal Arnold driving in a run with a double.
St. James evened the series with a 10-3 win, setting up game three to be played at USC-Sumter after game one and two were played at the home fields of the winning teams.
The AA and A classes will also crown a champ this weekend with Bishop England taking on Broome in the AA finale, and Lake View and Chesterfield squaring off in the A game.
Tupelo ended top ranked Madison Central’s stellar season with a 5-4 win in game three of their series. Petal took down LHP/OF Mason Robbins and George County to earn the chance to defend their 6A title.
Petal took down Tupelo 10-2 in game one with RHP Cody Conkle throwing a four hitter with four strikeouts, and OF Anthony Alford doubled, tripled and drove in three runs. Alford, one of the best football and baseball prospects in the nation, has been on fire since returning from a football injury. The win was the 11th straight for the Panthers.
Petal put 19 players on base and starter Brandon Smith struck out 12 batters, but it was not enough as Tupelo evened the series with a 4-3 win in 8 innings with Connor Carothers homering in the top of 4th to tie the game at three, and then hitting an inside the park home run in the 8th that turned out to be the deciding run.
Game three of the series is Saturday at 4 pm at Truskmark Park with Petal again going with ace Conkle on the mound. Tupelo is undecided on their starter.
Sumrall HS rolled to 8-0 win to sweep Mooreville and claim their 4th straight 3A title. The star was LHP Luke Lowery, who improved his record to 11-0 on the year with an 11 strikeout no-hitter. Only two batters reached base in the game, one coming on a wild pitch on a third strike, and the other on a 7th inning walk.
Sumrall coach Larry Knight was quoted in the Clarion Ledger after the game.
“In my opinion, without a doubt, he’s the best pitcher in the state. He’s a winner and he has only lost one game in his whole career. He is such a bulldog competitor and a huge part of our success over the years.”
Ridgeland wrapped up the 5A title with a two-game sweep of Long Beach, beating them 6-0 in game one and 1-0 in the clinching game. A day later it was announced that Ridgeland coach Brian Rea had taken the head coaching job at Madison Central, replacing Gregg Perry who is leaving to coach golf at Germantown in the school’s first year.
Columbia came back from a 7-1 deficit to beat North Pontotac and win the 4A title game 10-9 in eight innings. In the 2A championship series, Mantachie and Taylorsville faced off in the second game after Taylorsville taking game one 9-5 in eight innings.
North Waiya claimed the 1A title with a series win over Falkner.
Searcy came back from an early deficit to beat Mountain Home 9-2 to advance to the 6A championship game where they will face Jacksonville, who earned the berth with a 12-8 win over Marion.
Searcy looks to have RHP Dillon Howard on the mound for the championship game. Howard, a possible first rounder in June’s draft is ranked #9 in the 2011 class, and has a fastball that has been clocked in the mid-90s.
Top seed Bryant will take on Conway in the 7A title game, while the 5A contest pits Magnolia and Greenwood. Shiloh Christian and Prairie Grove face off in the 4A game.
Jessieville and Elkins will battle for the 3A title, and the 2A and 1A are Junction City/Parkers Chapel and Armorel/Viola matchups respectively.
Huntsville won the school's first 6A title with 6-1 and 10-2 victories over Baldwin County. The Huntsville offense got out to a nine run lead after four innings and LHP Daniel Koger threw a complete game, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out ten. The offense pounded out 12 hits on the day including home runs by AJ Cole and Andrew Dennis. Luke Leeth was named MVP after a stellar pitching performance in the first game. He threw a complete game, allowing five hits, no earned runs, while walking zero, and striking out 13.
Spanish Fort got 6 1/3 strong innings from Rocky McCord and two hits and four RBI from 1B Zac Fowler to beat Cullman 11-6, winning the 5A AHSAA Baseball Finals. Spanish Fort picked up a 16-6 win in game one, Thursday. Fowler also starred in that game with three hits, including a homerun and four RBI. He was named Finals MVP after Friday’s championship.
UMS-Wright won the 4A title, winning the final two games of the series after dropping the opener to Brooks 8-5. Wright won 11-3 in game two, and followed that up with a 9-7, eight inning win in the finale with Chase Williamson being named MVP after being the winning pitcher in games two and three of the series.
Gordo beat Madison Academy 7-3 and 7-6 to win the 3A title. Kainen Sullivan was named MVP, going 1-3 with two RBI at the plate getting the final out on the mound.
American Christian Academy won the 2A title in game three on a Will Hollyhand walk-off double. C Cody Lawrence had a huge game going 3-4 with 5 RBI and was named MVP.
Shoals Christian won the 1A title in a two-game sweep, Taylor Brackin was named MVP.
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