For the second consecutive year, St. Luke’s and Shoals Christian met in the Class 1A state baseball championship. And for the second consecutive year, St. Luke’s won Game 1.
But the Wildcats are hoping for a different outcome this year, as Shoals Christian won the final two games on its way to a third consecutive title.
“We’ve got to stop that dynasty,” St. Luke’s center fielder Justin Ware said. “That’s our key thing, we want to be the team that stops that dynasty.”
St. Luke’s used a four-run sixth inning to break the game open in its 6-0 win over Shoals Christian in the first game of the Class 1A baseball championship series on Wednesday at Paterson Field.
The Wildcats (31-8) jumped out to a 1-0 series lead, putting Shoals Christian’s chances of winning a fourth straight title in jeopardy.
Last year, Shoals Christian (27-14) rebounded from a 3-2 opening-game loss to win 14-4 and 12-2.
St. Luke’s has a chance to earn its fourth straight series sweep at 10 a.m. today at Riverwalk Stadium. If the Flame win Game 2, a series-deciding Game 3 will be played immediately after the second game.
“It’s just going to be like a regular playoff Friday,” Flame first baseman Will Bishop said. “You go out and sweep and just take care of business. Throw everything we’ve got at them and come out fighting.”
Ware went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and first baseman Murphy Mostellar went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Winning pitcher Brandon Cook pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that was Brandon Cook’s best outing of the year,” St. Luke’s coach Tim Becker said. “He struggled the last two or three outings, but today, he did a great job keeping great hitters off balance and did a tremendous job for us. I think one of the big things you look at too is there’s a zero up there defensively.”
Christian Shipe took the loss, allowing 10 hits, two earned runs and striking out five in six innings. Shipe also went 2-for-3 at the plate.
“I thought Christian threw it well,” Shoals Christian coach Jason Anderson said. “When you don’t score runs, we didn’t do a lot for him. When you give up that many unearned runs, we didn’t back him up.”