It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, but if you can look past the six errors, it was certainly an entertaining way to decide a state championship. In the end, the 8-7 final for the Class 2 baseball title proved to be more exciting for the Hallsville Indians which beat the Mansfield Lions to win its second straight championship.
Grant Phillipe’s RBI single in the first inning gave Hallsville the lead, but Mansfield responded with three of their own in the bottom half of the inning to make it 3-1. Mansfield center fielder Taylor Thompson and third baseman Tom Brazeal drove in runs and Thompson scored on an error.
Hallsville’s bats came alive in the second with a five run rally, four of which came with two outs. Matt Frevert, who started as the shortstop and ended the game as the final pitcher, capped the barrage with a three-run homer to give the Indians a 6-3 lead.
The ping-pong match continued in the third inning when Mansfield tied the game with a three run burst. A walk, a balk, an error and a hit made the game 6-6. Then in the fourth, the Lions took the lead when Thompson doubled down the left field line to score catcher Kendall Findley.
Hallsville trailed until the top of the sixth when first baseman Wes Mahoney ripped a double to left field and center fielder Drew Phillipe scored the tying run. Mahoney scored the go-ahead run on a grounder off the bat of left fielder Matt Barnhart.
Frevert pitched the final two innings of the game by allowing one hit and recording six strikeouts for his fifth save of the season.
Hallsville finished the season 24-5 and Mansfield was 21-5
While the Class 2 title game was an offensive roller coaster, the Class 1 championship was infinitely more conservative as Plato won its first baseball crown with a 1-0 win over defending champ Archie.
Neil Sponsel drove in the game’s only run when he ripped a double in the top of the fourth to score starting pitcher Thomas Vesley.
Vesley was practically untouchable on Thursday night, as he went the distance for a three-hit shutout and struck out nine batters. The win ended a perfect season for Vesley who finished 8-0 with an ERA under one. The Eagles finished off their championship campaign by winning their last nine games and finishing the season with a 23-3 mark.
Archie’s attempt to repeat was the Cinderella story of the tournament. They were 9-9 before winning their district tournament, then topping Humansville and Santa Fe in the playoffs. The Whirlwinds finished the season 14-10.