SULPHUR – The Ouachita Christian Eagles scored early and often in taking a 12-0 mercy rule win over the St. Edmund Blue Jays to claim the Class 1A title at the AllState Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Baseball Tournament at McMurry Park.
The win for the Eagles was propelled by the offense of Grant Shepherd who finished the game by going 2-for-2 at the plate with two grand slams, eight RBIs, and three runs scored. He was named Class 1A Outstanding Player for his performance.
“Grant Shepherd has done it for us all year long,” Ouachita Christian Coach John Parker said. “He has come through in clutch situations for us and coming up in a big time situation for us today. He came out today with two grand slams and MVP you can’t ask for anything better.”
Ouachita Christian wasted little time starting the game out quick and jumping to an early lead. Jake Slaughter opened the inning with a single. Two batters followed to reach base on a hit by pitch and a walk. Shepherd followed with his first grand slam in the game to take a 4-0 lead for the Eagles. The Eagles scored one more run in the inning to take a 5-0 lead after one inning.
St. Edmund threatened to score in the top of the second inning as Alex Hunt reached base on an error. A walk for Austin Sitting put two runners on for St. Edmund, but a double play ended the inning and a chance for scoring.
The bottom of the second inning saw some runs come across the board for the Eagles. The first came by Slaughter who came all the way around to score on a play with two errors by the Blue Jays. A single by Josh Pennebaker scored Beau Bailey and Shepherd to give the Eagles an 8-0 lead after two innings.
Ouachita Christian put the game out of reach in the fourth inning with another four runs. The scoring came off Shepherd’s second grand slam of the game with two outs. Mavrick Wilhite followed with a triple but was unable to score.
St. Edmund’s main scoring threat came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Singles by Alex Hunt and Jack Brown reached base with only one out. A walk by Aaron Sittig loaded the bases, but Ross Lafleur grounded out to end the inning.
“This is a great feeling to end the season with a state championship,” Parker said. “Ouachita Christian is known around the state as one of the top baseball programs in the state. We are just carrying on the tradition.’’
The Blue Jays garnered only three hits in the game off the Eagles pitchers. Jonathon Suggs picked up the win by pitching three innings.
“I told my kids not to hang their head and hold it up high as they are one of the best two teams in the state,” St. Edmund Coach Scotty Richard said. “They got beat by a really good Ouachita Christian team. I know we are better than that but it wasn’t happening today.”