Before Kyle Percival continued to rejoice along with his Andrew Jackson teammates, the senior ran again close to the sting of the infield and picked up a baseball.
It was the baseball Percival caught in his glove at first base for the ultimate out Saturday that clinched Andrew Jackson’s 9-0 win over Gray Collegiate within the deciding sport of the best-of-three Class 2A championship collection.
It was the Volunteers’ first baseball state championship at school historical past and the primary title in a boys workforce sport since a 1980 basketball championship.
“I gave it to my coach and said, ‘Guard this with your life,’ and he said, ‘Nobody is going to touch it,’ “ Percival said. “That ball will be back in my hands when we are done here. That ball is special. It is a symbol of what we accomplished. It took all of us to accomplish it and be with each other every step of the way. It was tough but we did it.
“It still doesn’t feel real that we are state champs. We were there last year and fell short. We came back this year and we are state champs now.”
The celebration continued for the Volunteers after the trophy presentation. Percival grabbed the trophy after a fast image, took it towards the big group of Andrew Jackson followers who packed Francis Marion’s Sparrow Stadium and yelled, “This is for you!”
Andrew Jackson (31-2) misplaced to Legion Collegiate in final yr’s championship, dropping the ultimate two video games after profitable the opener. The Volunteers had been preseason No. 1 workforce in Class 2A coaches ballot and can end within the high spot.
“Just to get back to this is so hard to do, but these young men, since Nov. 7, it has been their drive to get back here,” A.J. coach Mike Lucas stated. “… I am so proud of them, first-class students and just so impressed with them.”
Percival, the Class 2A Player of the Year, had an enormous position within the championship collection. The North Carolina signee received each of the Volunteers’ video games, pitching six innings in every look.
Percival allowed 4 hits, walked two and struck out 9 Saturday. He fanned 22 batters in 12 innings throughout the collection and in addition went 2-for-3 with an RBI within the clincher.
The loss ended essentially the most profitable season in Gray Collegiate baseball historical past. The War Eagles completed 28-7 and had been making their first look within the state baseball championship collection.
Gray was seeking to full the baseball-softball championship sweep. The War Eagles softball program received its first state championship Wednesday by sweeping Latta.
After dropping the baseball collection opener, Gray bounced again and received second sport 6-4 to drive a deciding sport. But AJ’s six-run second inning put a giant damper on the War Eagles’ possibilities.
“Getting here is part of the process. Andrew Jackson has been here and earned the right to win this game,” Gray coach Charles Assey Sr. stated. “I firmly believe we have to take baby steps to get here, and I firmly believe we will be back.
“This group set the standard for all of this. The six seniors have been with me for four years and set the table for this. Our underclassmen are pretty darn good and hope to be back here next year.”
Andrew Jackson took management of the sport within the second inning. With one out, Percival reached on an error and Foster Sims doubled to place runners at second and third.
Brady Jackson and Brady Williams adopted with back-to-back RBI singles to make it 2-0. One batter later, Bryce Helms reached on an error on a miscommunication by two Gray outfielders and two extra runs scored to make it 4-0.
Andrew Jackson added one other run on a handed ball and Ashton Phillips delivered an RBI single to make it 6-0.
“We knew we had to play a perfect game,” Assey Sr stated. “The six runs in second inning were result of a couple plays. And if we make those plays, we could be talking about a different ball game.”
The Volunteers scored three extra within the fourth, two approaching Clemson commit Skylar Heglar’s two-run double.
WP: Kyle Percival LP: Brent Stukes. Hitters: GC: Brent Stukes 1-3; Gavin Creede 1-3; Kendrick Wright 1-3; JT Edwards 1-3. AJ: Landon PEavy 2-4; Ashton Phillips 2-4 RBI; Skyler Hegler 1-3 2 RBI; Kyle Percival 2-3 RBI; Brady Jackson 1-3 RBI; Brady Williams 1-3 RBI