PEARL, MS (WLOX) - First-year head coach Daniel Best guided his Vancleave Bulldogs to the top of the 4A State baseball ranks, blanking New Hope 3-0 to clinch their first state championship in program history.
"It's awesome," Best said after the game. "You can see the crowd here tonight, biggest crowd I've seen here for any game. We brought our first (state championship) home this year in girl's volleyball. To bring another one home in the same year is huge for the team and for the community."
Senior right-hander Hayden Robb pitched an outstanding game for the Bulldogs, striking out seven and scattering three hits in a scoreless complete game.
"Oh my goodness, it's amazing," said an emotional Robb. "Ever since we were kids, we've had people telling us that we can do this, we can do this, and to finally just put it into action, it's an amazing feeling."
"Man, he was awesome," Best said of Robb. "(He) struggled a little bit through the year with consistency, but in the playoff he stepped up and pitched like he did all last year and competed every inning."
Colton Hipp hit a blooper to left field, it dropped to the turf, placing Bulldogs on first and third in the top of the first inning. That led to the Bulldogs breaking the ice on the scoreboard with a rather bizarre play.
The New Hope pitcher bounced the ball to home plate, Vancleave's Justin Stokes was able to hit the ball on a check swing. On the play, Jonathan Knight scored on a fielders choice to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. Vancleave plated another in the second on a bases-loaded walk and an insurance run in the sixth to give them their final 3-0 margin.