ROUND ROCK, Texas – Being second to Dallardsville Big Sandy was something to cry about, but Linden-Kildare had no reason to be ashamed.
The Wildcats (36-4) won back-to-back 2A state championships Thursday at Dell Diamond by defeating L-K, 7-1.
“We battled hard throughout the game,” said L-K coach John Roberts. “We just ran into a really good team. Big Sandy really hits the ball well, probably the best hitting team we’ve seen. They had a lot of arms. We saw two lefties today that were really good.”
Sophomore Mason Johnson started on the mound for the Tigers, and ran into trouble early. He gave up three hits in the second inning, and hit two batters that resulted in a 4-0 lead for Big Sandy.
That was more than enough for senior southpaws Broch Holmes and McKane Maxwell. Holmes started, and went five innings for his tenth victory of the season. He allowed two hits, while walking two and striking out eight. Maxwell threw the final two frames, allowing two hits.
Linden-Kildare (21-10) scored its only run in the fifth after Dalton Alford singled to right with one out. He moved up on a wild pitch, scoring when the catcher threw the ball into the outfield.
“Getting runners on base wasn’t a problem, we just couldn’t quite put an inning together,” said Roberts. “We didn’t hit the ball like we have the past few weeks, but their pitchers did a really good job. We hadn’t seen many lefties this year. Maud had a really good one, and Rivercrest had one.”
Dallardsville had eight returning starters
Dallardsville entered the state tournament with eight returning starters from the 2018 championship team. They had nine seniors in uniform, while the Tigers only had four. It was the Wildcats’ third straight appearance in the state tournament.
Holmes was named MVP in the game. L-K fans will be surprised if the Tigers don’t have some players on the all-tournament team to be selected over the weekend. Jacob Owen is a good candidate for sure after leading the Tigers with two hits Thursday. He was the winning pitcher in Wednesday’s 5-0 win over Valley Mills.
“It has just been an unbelievable season,” said Roberts. “To go from where we were at the beginning of the year (1-4), to putting together a district championship, and then battling through the playoffs. We had three consecutive three-game series, just to get to Round Rock. It’s been an amazing season.”
Third baseman Bryan Duff and left fielder Brayden Lenox led the Wilcats’ eight-hit attack with two hits each. Duff drove in two runs, and so did second sacker Case Sutherland. Holmes contributed a hit, and scored twice. Alford and Johnson also had singles for L-K.