SULPHUR — The wait for the first state baseball championship in Kentwood High history is going to have to be at least one more year.
No. 4 Kentwood saw its season come to an end, falling to No. 6 Oberlin 9-1 Tuesday afternoon in the LHSAA AllState Sugar Bowl Class 1A state championship game at McMurry Park.
The trip to the state championship game is a culmination of an impressive three-year run for the Kentwood program, which only started playing varsity baseball in 2016.
“Couldn’t be more excited about the program and the direction it's headed,” Kentwood coach Taylor Abdalla said. “Each of these three years we have taken a positive step forward, and we just played for a state championship in 2019. Didn’t perform how we have shown we are capable of in this game, but I couldn’t be prouder of all my guys and their effort.
“I started with this 2019 team when they were freshmen and we were playing junior varsity. We built this thing. We got everyone from the community involved and got them behind the program. Not everyone was behind us at first, but now they are and are supporting this program. Now the goal is to build on this, get even more kids to come out and play baseball and continue to build this program up.”
One of those seniors, Trey Palmer, who signed with LSU to play football, said he was proud to be part of the beginning of the Kangaroo baseball program.
“Ever since all of us were little playing this game, we wanted to play for a state championship,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work, but the fight these team had, we showed what we are capable of. We just couldn’t get it done today, but it was a great run.”
The Kangaroos (13-11) had no answer for Oberlin right-hander Kellon McCleon, who allowed one run on five hits, striking out 10 in a complete game. He was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player.
Oberlin (15-10) scored early and often, with five runs in the first two innings. RBI singles by first baseman Alex Fontenot and Levi Peloquin combined with five Kangaroo errors gave Oberlin a 5-0 advantage. The lead increased to 7-0 on a sacrifice fly by McCleon combined with another Kentwood miscue.
Kentwood’s lone run came in its final at-bat. Anthony Holden reached on a two-base error to lead off the seventh and scored on a double by first baseman Radarrian Robbins. It was the only true threat for Kentwood as only three runners reached as far as third base.