Both St. Joseph and Spring Hill entered the state Class 2A baseball title games on four-game winning streaks.
Spring Hill (25-9) put a sudden halt to St. Joseph’s with a 5-0 victory Saturday at Baum Stadium at Fayetteville.
Pitcher Kaleb Blair shut down the St. Joseph offense for five innings and reliever shut the door later on the Bulldogs, combined for only four scattered hits.
“He (Blair) got his nervousness out in the regional tournament last week,” said Spring Hill coach Rusty Winfield. “He had his confidence this week.”
The Bulldogs’ only threat came in the top of the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out. Featherston came on and got a force at home on a grounder, then struck out Austin Parker and Staton Holbrook to end the inning.
Both teams entered the championship game as No. 3 seeds from their region, then got hot.
“Our kids kept battling and coming through, at bat and on defense,” said Winfield, whose school is near Hope in southeast Arkansas. “We won in northeast Arkansas (the first rounds of state at Lepanto) last week and then we got to northwest Arkansas this week. That’s some long bus trips.
“We started to really believe when we won three games last week.”
The Bears took control from the beginning, scoring one in the first on singles by Will Phillips, Featherston and Blake Waller Waller then tripled to the wall in the third and scored on an error. Phillips tripled to the gap in left center in the fourth to drive in one run and another scored on a hit batsman to make it 5-0.
Phillipa was 3 for 4 with two RBI. Waller was 2 for 2 with two RBI.
Timmy Coney had two hits for the Bulldogs, who finished 17-10. Holbrook and David Beck got the other hits.
Beck allowed seven hits and struck out four in five innings and made a superb sliding catch of a foul ball after he switched to first base. Daniel Lee Kordsmeier did not allow a run in the sixth.
It was Spring Hill’s first state title. St. Joseph won in 2013.