PEARL, MS (WLOX) - St. Stanislaus took aim on a second Class 4A State baseball Championship since 2010 and a strong contingent of Rockachaws fans were in the stands.
In the top of the first, the Houston Hilltoppers had a man on third base... Reid Carter hit a grounder to St. Stanislaus shortstop Greer Holston and the junior threw a bullet to homeplate where catcher Luke Logan tagged out the runner. That was a big defensive play for the Rockachaws.
St. Stanislaus grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Holston led off the inning with a double to right field and he slid safely into second base.
Noah Nicaud hit a sacrifice fly ball, Holston raced home and St. Stanislaus was on the board.
The Rockachaws added their second run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Chase Rhodes belted a triple down the right field line, Ryan Pitalo scored.
St. Stanislaus senior pitcher Jonathan Artigues was pitching a no-hitter until the top of the fifth inning. Garrison Howell smacked a RBI single to left field. Denver McQuary raced home, cutting the Rockachaws lead in half.
Hilltoppers pitcher Tanner Smith ran into trouble all night long with his control. He would walk the bases loaded twice in the bottom of the sixth and a wild pitch resulted in a third run in the inning. Those runs gave St. Stanislaus a 4 run cushion as the teams headed into the top of the seventh.
Artigues got the first two Hilltoppers batters out and it looked as if the Rockachaws would enjoy a quick inning and easily win the title.
Not so fast.
The Hilltoppers took advantage of a single and a hit batter. Garrison Howell stepped up to the plate and he belted a double into the right field gap. Houston plated two runs on the big hit and the Hilltoppers had momentum trailing 5-3 with a runner on second base.
St. Stanislaus head coach Mark Logan decided to make a pitching change and brought in junior standout Greer Holston who posted a 3-2 win over Houston Wednesday night by tossing a 3-hitter.
Holston was greeted by Reid Carter who drilled a deep fly ball to right field. Howell easily scored to make it 5-3 St. Stanislaus and Carter attempted to leg out a triple. But right fielder Adam Guillot made a great throw to second baseman Noah Nicaud, who made a perfect relay throw to third base where Patrick McRaney tagged out Carter for the final out.
The Rockachaws raced onto the field and celebrated the 2015 Class 4A State Championship.
Coach Logan said, "I honestly don't know how to describe it. You always talk about getting here. I don't know if this is my 20th year, 19 or 21. For the longest time you don't think you will make it and we talked about it before the game. There's a lot of good coaches, good players who never make it to this point. And we've been lucky to do it twice and have been lucky enough to win both times."
Winning pitcher Jonathan Artigues said,"They capitalized on my mistakes. They started hitting the ball, made some mistakes, but it happens. That's why we've got teammates to back us up."
It takes pitching, fielding and hitting to reach the top of the mountain and St. Stanislaus won-it-all doing all three phases of the game all season and especially Friday night in Pearl.
Congratulations on a job well done! Go Rockachaws!