When Jacob Sprague was a freshman in 2009, the Randolph Union High School baseball team went 3-14. A year later, in Ross Caswell’s freshman year, the Galloping Ghosts posted a 5-11 campaign.
Part of Randolph’s resurgent this spring, the duo helped the program end a title drought Monday night.
Sprague tossed a complete game, Caswell, the catcher, smacked a key two-run single in a fifth-inning rally, and No. 2 Randolph ended top-seeded BFA-Fairfax’s perfect season with a 3-2 win in the Division III state championship game at Centennial Field.
Behind Sprague’s strike-first approach and timely hits from Caswell and Zach LaPerle, the Galloping Ghosts claimed their first crown since 1989. It’s also the first title for 20-year coach Mike Czok.
“Coach Czok is extremely happy, he’s been here 20 years and to finally get him here and win a championship really makes me proud,” Sprague said.
Sprague threw 60 of his 90 pitches for strikes, working efficiently against a high-powered Fairfax lineup. Sprague walked three batters and struck two, including the final out with a runner on second base.
“That’s what I do all the time. I’m not a very fast pitcher, I don’t have a lot of junk to fool guys,” Sprague said. “I just make them put the ball in play and when you do that, it’s a lot easier to play.”
Ben Pomichter took the loss for Fairfax (19-1), issuing seven walks and hitting a batter in four-plus innings of work. Kyle Combs had a sacrifice fly and catcher Asa Hoover hit an RBI single as the Bullets took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.
The Ghosts (16-4) rallied in the top of the fifth, with Caswell driving in Ben Jickling and Brandon Keyes for the tying runs. Zac Roy relieved Pomichter and nearly escaped without further damage before LaPerle pulled a pitch between third and short for the go-ahead run for a two-out single.
The Bullets couldn’t muster much of an attack against Sprague. A leadoff walk in the sixth didn’t produce a threat. In the seventh, Hoover singled with one out and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Up strolled Tanner Benoit, the hero of the semifinals with a game-winning double. Benoit, a sophomore, struck out swinging.
“It came down to the fourth and fifth inning swing. I’m proud of the fact that we got the tying run on in the seventh inning,” said Fairfax coach Mike Brown, who praised Benoit’s approach. “We were trying to win this ballgame today, dominate the day today. We were in it, we were focused — it just didn’t go our way. When we reflect back on this season, there’s a lot to be proud of. It was a tremendous year.”
For the Ghosts, the turnaround was complete.
“Our team just came out this season with a bunch of energy and during basketball season it really started, and then it carried over …,” Caswell said. “It’s been a great journey the last three years with these seniors.”