COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Over two decades of waiting would end with just one sigh of relief.
“It was a really big exhale,” baseball head coach Justin Flake said. “We did it, we got there, we reached our goal.”
After twenty-five years since competing in a championship series the Heritage Academy Patriots are now able to call themselves state title winners.
The road to get to the final was no cake walk, beginning with the team that eliminated them a season ago followed by a battle against rival Starkville Academy.
“Heard a lot of noise for the past year and we just weren’t going to let them beat us,” senior first baseman Parker Ray said.
“It was six hours of baseball. To beat them was special but the main things was we reached our goal and we’re on the cusp of bringing home the title,” Flake said.
In game one, the Patriots would cruise over Wayne Academy, 6-1 courtesy of Mississippi State commit Blayze Berry’s 2-run homer and skills on the mound.
“When he hit that home run it just sealed the deal in game one,” senior centerfielder J.R. Lott said.
It was on the mound that freshman pitcher Cole Ketchum thew the final out of the inning that got Heritage Academy its first ever state title.
“We weren’t surprised. I knew and I told the coaches and kids after game one that cole’s going to show up, perform and give us a chance. He really did that,” Flake said.
“There’s no better feeling especially when it’s your first one and you hoist it up and especially now when you get to see the rings and all,” junior shortstop Banks Hyde said.
The expectations have risen for the Patriots but for now Heritage will sit and marinate in the win.
“Right when he threw that last pitch I just kind of sat there for a second and was like ‘holy cow, we just won it for the first time.’ I watched everyone dogpile and I was the last one to hit and jump on everyone. Probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”