FORT MYERS, Fla. (WMBB) — The Chipley baseball team won the program’s first state title with a 10-1 victory over Lafayette in the Class 1A state title game.
The Tigers have made three prior appearances in the state final game but had never come out on top until Thursday.
Both teams started the game hot, finishing the first inning tied at 1-1. In the top of the third, Chipley caught fire.
“Seeing our guys just keep it going and going and going,” Chipley senior Parker Smelcer said. “We scored nine. Scored nine in one inning. That’s the biggest rally I’ve ever seen with two outs and to do in the biggest game of the year. It’s amazing.”
In Chipley’s last four games prior to the championship game, the Tigers scored seven runs. In just one inning in the title game, they scored nine runs.
“We really haven’t had that happen all year,” Chipley head baseball coach Andy Compton said. “Everybody just kind of locked in. Not swinging on pitches out of the strike zone and we hit barrels. We’ve got some really good hitters.”
It wasn’t just the Tigers lineup executing, starting pitcher Bryson Howard controlled the game, with six strikeouts keeping the Lafayette who averages over eight runs a game to a single run.
“He’s our guy,” Smelcer said. “We knew he was going to do it. And he did it. We couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Howard pitched all seven innings, reaching the full pitch count of 105 facing the lead-off hitter with two outs on the board.
“He could have hit a ground ball. I would have been out,” Chipley senior Bryson Howard said. “Somebody else would have to come in. I’m glad I could in my senior year the way that I wanted to play.”
It was a no-fly zone in the outfield as junior centerfielder Blaine Woodham made his bid for a SportsCenter top-ten play.
“That guy is athletic and those plays he made I mean he just tracks them down,” Compton said.
The Tigers and the state championship trophy will make the trip back to Chipley on Friday morning.