SULPHUR — The Parkview Baptist baseball team ended it’s season a win shy of its ultimate goal Saturday night, as the Eagles fell 4-2 to second-seeded John Curtis in the Class 3A final of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Baseball tournament at McMurry Park.
The Eagles (23-13) kept it close throughout, but failed to get the big hit to overtake the Patriots (26-3), despite multiple opportunities.
“It was a heck of a ballgame; it really was,” Parkview coach Darron Mitchell said. “You have to tip your hat to John Curtis. They threw it, and they hit it when they had to. It’s bittersweet, but I’m proud of the guys for getting to this game.”
John Curtis took the lead in the second inning, when Patriots senior right fielder Hunter Dale lined a double to right field that scored two baserunners who had walked.
The Patriots’ lead didn’t last long, as the Eagles tie the game on a peculiar play.
With runners on first and second, Parkview senior third baseman Adam Tarver hit a slow grounder to John Curtis pitcher Daniel Cabrera, but he immediately began hopping around as if the ball hit his foot. As a result, Cabrera held the ball until he realized the umpire never called the play dead. He then overthrew his first baseman, allowing Tarver to reach first and the two Eagles to score.
“The umpire didn’t make a call, and we stood around and they stood around and then they made a bad throw,” Mitchell said. “The umpire didn’t say anything, so you have to keep playing.”
But Cabrera took matters into his own hands, this time on offense, in the following at-bat when he hit a solo homer over the left field wall to give John Curtis a 3-2 lead.
The Patriots gave themselves a bit of cushion with another run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Cabrera mowed down the Eagles in order in the top of the seventh, picking up his 10th and 11th strikeouts as Curtis earned the program’s first state baseball championship since 2002.
Cabrera batted 5-for-5 in John Curtis’ two games in Sulphur, and his performance on the mound and at the plate Saturday earned him the honor of Most Outstanding Player of the title game.
“He’s unbelievable,” John Curtis coach Johnny Curtis said. “He is as tough as nails. He does a great job of getting himself refocused, and I think it comes down to his offseason preparation. He prepares in all the scenarios, and it gives him the opportunity to compete.”
Despite his team coming a win shy of winning the program’s 13 state championship, Mitchell said this Parkview team was one of the best he has coached, and that he couldn’t be prouder of his team for reaching the state championship game.
Saturday marked the final game for six Parkview seniors, whom Mitchell referred to as a special group of kids that helped maintain the high standards of Parkview baseball.
“I’m proud of the guys for getting this far,” Mitchell said. “This is truly one of the best teams, as far as coming together as a team that I’ve seen. We had some adversity early in the season, they overcame it, and they came together. We knew that group of guys was going to get us here to the championship game.”