(Carroll) -- St. Albert baseball is on top of the state for a fourth time and first in 22 years.
“We finally got it done,” senior Cy Patterson said. “We’ve been working our tails off from the beginning.”
The Falcons’ 35th win of the season doubled as a state championship clincher, as they held off a late rally from Kee, Lansing to win their first 1A title, 7-5, on Thursday.
“We finally got over the hump,” Coach Duncan Patterson added.
Finally. Both Pattersons expressed relief after failing to win a game in their last two state appearances. Not only did they break that streak, they outscored their three foes in Carroll by a combined 26-8.
“We tell the guys to compete and get after it every inning,” Coach Patterson said. “Every batter. Get it to the next batter. That’s how we rolled all season.”
The Falcons certainly were rolling through five innings on Thursday, building a 7-1 advantage thanks to a pair of runs each in the first, second and third innings and another in the fourth.
Cy Patterson delivered a two-run double in the first for his 71st and 72nd RBI of the season. In the second, St. Albert took advantage of two Kee errors and an RBI knock from Jeff Miller — his fifth of the tournament — to score twice.
Two hit batters and a two-out two-run bloop single by Daniel McGrath made up the third, and Colton Brennan doubled and scored on back-to-back passed balls in the fourth. The sophomore second baseman, Brennan tallied his third three-hit game of the week.
“I’m just really seeing the ball well,” Brennan said. “I was able to put the ball in play, make the defense work and run it out.”
After posting 14 hits in a win over Lisbon Monday and another 10 on Wednesday against Alburnett, the Falcons finished with 13 more against the Kee Hawks.
Patterson had a pair of doubles while Brett Klusman and Miller had two hits of their own. Isaac Sherrill, Jaxson Lehnen, Carter White and McGrath added one apiece.
Another sterling offensive performance came behind another strong outing on the mound from Luke Hubbard. The senior right-hander went 5 1/3 for his second win of the week and eighth of the season. He struck out five, walked three and allowed just one earned run on four hits.
“My arm felt good the whole way,” Hubbard said. “Just trying to locate my fastball and get guys swinging. Then get them to chase my curveball.”
While Hubbard expertly worked around baserunners and stranded eight in the first five innings, the sixth was a different story.
After a leadoff groundout, Cameron Lind singled and Brayden Mathis was hit by a pitch. Dalton Dibert then hit a groundball to short, but some miscommunication allowed the Kee leadoff man to reach.
A throwing error on a tailor made grounder to second brought two runs in before St. Albert brought in left-hander Eric Matthai. A pair of wild pitches brought in another run and struck out Tyson Cota, who reached base on a dropped third strike. A walk to Buddy Hill chased Matthai and brought in Cy Patterson.
Most pitching meetings and changes are made by pitching coach Richie Moore, but it was Coach Patterson that handed the ball to his son.
“I had to go out, tell him to shut the door and get this championship,” Coach Patterson explained.
Patterson listened. He struck out Chance Colsch and then threw two pitches to Chris Wagner before Kee made an error of their own. Cota was caught between bases and made it to third, but he then got himself in another rundown between third and home. McGrath applied the tag to end the threat.
Patterson, who doubled to start the bottom half and was stranded at third, got a pair of fly outs and a strikeout to work around a one-out error and secure the championship.
“I just filled it up with fastballs,” the younger Patterson said. “There was a little panic at the beginning, but I knew we would bear down. It’s a great feeling.”
“He’s a very confident kid,” Coach Patterson added. “When he wants something, he’ll go after it.”
With the championship secure, the Falcons bring home their first 1A trophy, joining a 3A title in 1981 and a pair of 2A championships in 1996 and 1999. Coach Patterson joins two-time champ Ken Schreiber and one-timer Rick Wahl as state champion baseball coaches at the school, which is now a perfect 4-0 in baseball championship games.
“Everybody is ecstatic,” Coach Patterson said. “We’ve been (to state) before, and we finally got over the hump. It’s a pretty special moment.”
View complete video interviews with both Pattersons, Brennan and Hubbard and hear the final call below.