HOUSTON — The West Lauderdale High School baseball has claimed a North State championship.
A day after defeating Houston High School, 11-1, the Knights claimed a 3-2 series win and punched a ticket to the Class 4A state finals next week at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
“We’re very excited,” Jerry Boatner said. “This group has never played for a state title. They’ve gone through some tough luck, but we finally got it done. We’re excited about going (to the state title) and playing for a 13th state championship.”
The Knights were led by pitcher Ryan Lane (11-1), who turned in a strong pitching performance. The senior tossed seven innings, allowing zero earned runs, while striking out eleven batters.
“He did great for us,” Boatner said. “He got ahead of the count and threw strikes.”
At the plate, senior shortstop Will Stokes smacked two base hits and scored a run. Chase McClelland and McKain Ortlepp chipped in with a run-scoring hit. Lane contributed with a base hit as well.
Additionally, Luke Miller provided speed on the base paths, swiping two bags as a pinch runner and scoring a run. With the game tied, 2-2, the Knights attempted a squeeze play, but the batter missed the bunt attempt. The runner on first drifted off first base too far and the Houston catcher fired a throw in attempt to pick the runner off. Seeing an opportunity to score, Miller dashed towards the plate from third and touched home before the return throw could be made in time, which proved to be the game-winning run.
West Lauderdale (31-2) will play Purvis High School at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the state finals.
“I don’t really know much about Purvis,” Boatner said. “We haven’t played them in about three years. But I’ll get on the phone this weekend and find out everything I need to know, but i do know they have a great program.”
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