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CHAMPIONS: Patriots sweep Glenwood to claim crown

Trevor Barron dove across home plate to score the 11th and final run in Pike Liberal Arts’ 11-1 win over the Glenwood Gators in the AISA Class 3A state championship game.

The win gave the Patriots their first championship since 2012. The Gators came into the series having won 22 state championships, including the last two.

“Our guys were ready to go,” said Patriot head coach Allen Ponder. “We worked toward this all year long. From the first pitch of the season, we envisioned this matchup. Our kids have worked their tails off this year to make sure we didn’t end up with the same result. I am so proud of these kids. We are so blessed.”

The Gators have won 8 out of the last 14 state titles, including one last year when they knocked off the Patriots in three games. The Patriots didn’t need extra motivation on Wednesday.

“I didn’t have to say anything to them,” Ponder said. “These guys were ready go on the first pitch of the season. This is what they wanted. This is the matchup they wanted.”

Defense and pitching has been top priority for the Patriots all season long. On Wednesday, the Patriot defense, especially the outfield, turned highlight reel after highlight reel.

“In a game against a team like that, you have to have things go your way,” Ponder said. “Our guys in the outfield have done it all year long. Those are the great plays you have to make in order to win a game like that.”

The pitching staff for the Patriots allowed just one run over the course of the two games.

“Our pitching staff all year long has had plus stuff,” Ponder said. “I thought we came out today and competed on the mound. I can’t say enough about our guys from the seniors all the way down to our eighth grader.”

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots gained the early advantage in game one of their championship series with a 3-0 win over Glenwood School on Wednesday.

The Pike Patriot pitching staff stole the show in game one, led by senior left-hander Reed Jinright. The senior pitched the first five innings of the contest. He didn’t allow any runs and surrendered just two hits.

“I knew I had to come out here and compete,” Jinright said. “I knew my defense was going to do a good job behind me. We got three runs up for me and all I had to do was get them out.”

Drew Nelson hammered out the last two innings without surrendering a run and striking out two batters.

The Patriots scored their first run in the third inning. Cody Hollis smacked a two-out single to right center. He came around to score on an RBI single by Cole McWhorter.

The Gators attempted to tie the game in their half of the third inning. They had the bases loaded with just one out, but Reed Jinright picked up a strikeout and forced a fly out to get out of the jam.

Jinright stranded a total a total of six runners in his appearance.

The Patriots picked up key insurance runs in the fifth inning. The Patriots had two runners reach base with one out on a walk and a hit batter. Trevor Barron drove in the first run with a single to score Wood Jinright. Max Copeland followed suit with an RBI single of his one to score Reed Jinright.

The Patriots finished with four hits in game one by Hollis, McWhorter, Nate Renfroe and Trevor Barron.

The Patriots used a total of four pitchers in game two. Jade Sikes got the start and went just one inning after he let up the lone Gator run in the first. Wood Jinright, Nelson and Renfroe pitched the remaining five innings.

The Patriots picked up 12 hits, led by Barron and Renfroe who both went 3-3. Barron also picked up two RBI.

The Patriots fell behind for the only time in the series when the Gators put up a run in the first.

The Patriots quickly responded with two runs in their half of the second. Max Copeland singled in Renfroe and came around to score on a single by Hollis.

Two more runs came across the board in the third on a squeeze bunt by Reed Jinright and a single by Trevor Barron to put the Patriots up 4-1.

The Patriots scored two more runs in the fifth on a bases-loaded hit-batter and a fielder’s choice to go up 6-1.

The game and season came to a close in the sixth when the Patriots scored six runs to take the 10-run win. The Patriots tallied two walks and three hit-batters in the inning. The game came to a close when Copeland walked with the bases loaded. The fourth ball sailed over the catcher’s head, allowing not just Reed Jinright to score from third, but Barron from second to end the game.

“I am speechless; it’s a wonderful feeling,” Jinright said. “I honestly thought I was going to cry but I don’t think I have enough energy. It’s crazy.”

Jinright, McWhorter and eighth grade pitcher Drew Nelson were named to the all-tournament team. Trevor Barron was named Tournament MVP.

“It’s surreal,” Barron said. “We have waited for this moment all of our lives. Thank God for this moment.”