Spain Park baseball takes state championship
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor
MONTGOMERY — History has been made.
The Spain Park Jaguars captured the first baseball state championship in school history, taking down the Sparkman Senators in the AHSAA Class 6A state finals May 17.
After taking the opening game win, 2-1, May 16 at Paterson Field, the Jags took on the Senators at Riverwalk Stadium in a doubleheader May 17 to decide the title.
In the opener, a big inning by the Senators gave them a 5-0 win. Both teams played strong defense early, as neither team scored until Sparkman took a 1-0 lead in the first. A three-run bottom of the fifth proved to be the difference in the game, as the Sparkman cruised to the win.
With the championship on the line, the Jags delivered in game two. With two outs in the first, Austin Haight and Tyler Wise both singled, with Haight scoring on the Wise hit. A Josh Rich double scored Collin Walker — courtesy running for Wise — and Rich scored on a Parker Hall single to put the Jags up 3-0.
Three Spain Park errors in the bottom of the inning allowed Sparkman to climb back into the contest and take a 4-3 lead.
With the bases loaded in the top of the second, Wise was struck by a pitch to bring in Matt Berler to tie the game.
Tied at 4-4 in the top of the third, Jaguar right fielder Jon Sumner made the play of the game —and the season— when he drilled a triple to right, scoring Alan Desantis, Dalton Brown and Berler in the process to put Spain Park up 7-4.
The Jags added two more in the top of the fifth when Desantis scored on a Sumner sacrifice fly, and Brown scored on a Sacrifice fly by Haight to put Spain Park up 9-4.
It was all either team scored, and the Jaguars took home the title.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” Spain Park head coach Will Smith said. “I felt like in the first game we took the mind set not to lose instead of winning. I’m proud of the way our guys bounced back.”
Sumner was named game MVP for his efforts, going 1-for-3 with four RBIs. Brown and Desantis each went 2-for-4 with 2 runs scored and Wise posted two RBIs.
Tristan Widra tossed a gem on the mound, giving up no earned runs on three hits in seven innings of work. He gave up three walks while striking out seven in the win.
Spain Park finished the season with an overall record of 38-17.