SULPHUR — John Curtis started Saturday night’s state baseball title game like a team destined to cap the school year with a sixth title in the past seven months.
But Curtis fizzled the rest of the way and suffered a 6-4 loss to Evangel Christian in the Class 3A championship game at McMurry Park.
“They fought their butts off,” Patriots coach Johnny Curtis said. “You have to credit Evangel. They made some good really good swings in crucial times. I think it was a gutsy performance by both teams.”
Curtis finished 31-7.
Evangel (28-8-1) won its second straight title after claiming the 2A crown last season.
“It feels great,” Evangel coach Tim Hulett said. “Every state championship is different. Last year was a great game to send the seniors off, and this year we had a lot of seniors as well. It’s good for them to reach their goal and win this game.”
Early on, it looked as if it would be Curtis winning its first title since 2002.
The Patriots scored first. After Daniel Cabrera walked, Calvin Linden followed with what should have been a routine out to the pitcher, but an errant throw scored Cabrera. After Jacob Bordelon walked, Harry Chairs blasted a three-run homer over the left-field wall to give the Patriots a 4-0 lead.
“You have to tip your hats to John Curtis,” Hulett said. “They came out and were ready to play. They put a four-spot on us really quick, and it really put our backs against the wall. The guys came into the dugout and you just see that deer-in-the-headlights look. It was at that point as a coaching staff that we were saying, ‘This guy is not going to beat us; this guy is not going to beat us.’ Then all of a sudden we got a spark and scored some runs. Then it was a ballgame.”
That spark came in the third inning when the Eagles sent 10 batters to the plate. Chairs, who started on the mound, gave up a double between a pair of walks before being replaced by Colin Perez. Ryne Ray, named Most Outstanding Player, hit a two-run double, and Chance DeFriend followed with a two-run single to tie it. John Michael Boswell then belted an RBI single to give Evangel a lead that it would not relinquish.
KINDER 2, CATHOLIC-NEW IBERIA 1: Sophomore Welles Cooley’s game-winning RBI single propelled Kinder in eight innings. KHS pulled off the rare feat of winning football and baseball state titles in the same school year.
Kinder (29-7) loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth after Brandon Norris singled. Austin Pickle walked and Zach Rider singled. With the bases loaded, Cooley singled, bringing Norris with the game-winning run.
Rider was voted the Outstanding Player also was the winning pitcher for Kinder after tossing a complete game, allowing only one run on four hits. He struck out seven and walked one.
LSU commitment Dylan Poncho was the big hitter for the Yellow Jackets as he had a solo home run in the fourth inning. Courtland Parr was the losing pitcher for Catholic New-Iberia (20-13).
CEDAR CREEK 5, SACRED HEART-VP 1: A four-run fourth inning powered Cedar Creek to its title.
Tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, Cedar Creek (30-5) pushed across four runs on three hits to take control of the game.
The Ruston-based Cougars were led by Grant Clary who scored two runs, Cole Frasier who picked up two hits, Aaron Hunt who had an RBI single and Huff McIntosh who also drove in a run.
Clary was the winning pitcher, going 4.1 innings allowing only one run on six hits and struck out one. Andy LaFleur took the loss for Sacred Heart (21-9).
FAIRVIEW 5, GLENMORA 4: Title-game Outstanding Player Garrett Lavergne came on with a 2-0 count and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh and recorded the final two outs to finish off the win in the match-up of District 5-B teams.
Hunter Dowies got the win after allowing seven hits and striking out seven for Fairview (20-9). Dowies also was 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a triple.
Nick Stark was 2-for-2 and both his hits were singles. Dowies tripled and scored what proved to be the winning run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Garrett Lemeiux.
Kylar Martin finished 3-for-4 with and scored a run for Glenmora (20-6). Cameron Strother was 2-for-4, including a double.
NORTHSIDE CHRISTIAN 7, CLAIBORNE CHRISTIAN 6: Jordan Monte’s game-winning RBI in the eighth lifted Northside. Christian Morgan led off the eighth for Northside Christian (22-5) with a walk and stole second base and scored on Monte’s single.
Senior Joseph Trahan led the Warriors with two RBIs and a triple.
Bradley Ancelet picked up the win for Northside Christian with .2 innings of shutout relief while Landon Meador was the losing pitcher for Claiborne Christian (19-7).