The Bears of Holy Innocents, playing at home, scored 17 runs on 16 hits to beat defending Class A State Champion Wesleyan 17-11 in a game that saw both teams hit three home runs each.
"It absolutely was a slug fest. Wesleyan is a great team. They're a power house that has won the last three state championships," said Holy Innocents assistant coach Cameron Lane.
"They can really swing the bats. We just had to fight with them and stay with them. Luckily, we were able to bust out of our slump a little bit and put some runs on the board as well."
Lane was coaching the game in place of Head Coach Dylan Deal, who was with his wife who had given birth to their new baby earlier in the day.
Wesleyan scored one run in the top of the first to take the lead, but Holy Innocents exploded with eight runs in the bottom half of the first. The Bears' lead off batter, Will Small, doubled to start the inning. Jake Maziar singled and drove in Small. Sky Bolt then reached on a bunt, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Mitchell Davis.
Sam Luckens singled, scoring Bolt. Wes Simons then singled, followed by Garrett Sizemore drawing a walk. Two batters later, John McKay singled, followed by Small drawing a walk. Then Jake Major trippled, driving in two runs. After all was said and done in the first inning, Holy Innocents had an 8-1 lead over the Wolves.
Wesleyan starting pitcher Will Anderson was replaced by Jerome Shirley, but the hits would keep on coming for the Bears.
But, the Wolves showed why they are the defending state champions as they rallied in the top of the third to score five runs in the third and one in the fourth to get right back into the game.
Alex Thykeson led off the third inning with a double, followed by shortstop Josh Dobbs, who drew a walk. Mason Colquitt then singled, driving in Thykeson. Gardner Heaner then singled, driving in two more runs. Then left fielder Drew Widner cleared the bases when he hit the first of his two home runs and Wesleyan was right back in it, trailing 8-6.
The Wolves got another run in the bottom fourth when designated hitter Pierce Ostwalt doubled, followed by another double from Thykeson to make the score 8-7 Holy Innocents.
However, the Bears still had more fire power left in their arsenal. In the top of the fifth inning, Luckens drew a lead-off walk, followed by a single from second baseman Simons. Two batters later, shortstop Howard Joe hit a three-run homer to extend the Bears' lead to 11-7. They weren't done scoring. McKay and Small both drew walks. Then Maziar hit a three-run homer of his own and the Bears were up 14-8.
The Wolves answered in the top of the sixth. After a lead-off single by Colquitt and a walk from Gardner Heaner, Widner hit another three-run home run and the Wolves only trailed 14-11.
Holy Innocents answered by scoring three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Simons doubled, followed by a single from Garrett Sizemore. Then Joe hit the second of his two home runs and the Bears went on to win 17-11.
"We hit the ball well. We fielded the ball well, but we didn't pitch very
well...a lot of walks," said Wesleyan's head coach Michael Shaheen. "Our pitchers got behind in the count, and when you do that, guys are gonna hit home runs."