The last game can often be the hardest to win.
The Big Sandy Wildcats, winners of 27 straight and unbeaten in their classification, fell for the first time to a 2A school, as Muenster claimed its first state championship 6-2 Thursday morning at Dell Diamond.
“It is the greatest season in our school's history for baseball,” Wildcat coach Jacob Hooker said. “We have something to build on and we return seven starters. We will be in the mix next year; it has been fun. We had a five-hour rain delay in the Regional Finals, a walk-off home run in the second round, and beating Bridge City during the year — it has been a great season.”
Clay Stevens led the game off with a double down the third-base line. A one-out single by Blayne Jones drove in a run, the game's first.
A leadoff triple by Bryce Holmes was followed with a one-out double by Austin Hendrix to tie the game at one after an inning of play.
Stevens was again a Wildcat nemesis, singling to left. Kagen Danglemayr followed with the same to put runners on the corners in the third inning. Jones, the tournament MVP, collected his second hit, with a single and RBI, but Broch Holmes threw out Danglemayr when he overran the bag at second. Carson Cheaney singled and Parker McGrew tripled to bring in two more runs. A balk by relief pitcher Broch Holmes on his first windup of the game scored McGrew from third for a 5-1 Hornet lead through three innings.
Aaron Thompson took the first pitch of the bottom half of the fourth inning into left for a base hit. Bryce Holmes doubled to score Thompson, cutting the score to 5-2.
In the top of the final inning, Carson Trubenbach walked after working a full count. Reaching third on a fielder's choice and passed ball, an error at third brought in the sixth Hornet run.
Needing four runs in the bottom of the seventh, Duff singled to chase Hornet hurler Jones from the contest. Hendrix was walked by reliever Sawyer Sanders. Broch Holmes singled to center, loading the bags. Kylie Cox and Thompson each came to the plate representing the potential tying run, but it was not to be.
The Wildcats lose four seniors that leave a legacy at Big Sandy. Graduated seniors include Landon Creel, John Slack, Bryce Holmes and Austin Hendrix.
“I am more proud that we have three seniors going to college and another going to diesel mechanic school,” Hooker said. “That means more to me that all four are going to do something and are improving their education.”
Returning will be eight starters (including designated hitter) that are now veterans of the playoff
“We will see if we can one-up it next year,” the coach said. “We will start in the weight room on day one and get after it.”