The Marvin Ridge baseball uniforms tell tales.
The red clay streaks and bits of wet grass, from sliding and diving and a dogpile after the game. The sweat marks lining the brims of blue and orange ball caps, if they hadn’t been thrown in the air yet. But after the Mavericks won the 3A state championship Saturday night, there was something else on their sleeves: tear stains.
A 10-7 win over Topsail in Game 3 of the championship series gave Marvin Ridge its second consecutive state title. The Mavericks scored five runs in the first inning, a cushion they extended and maintained until the last out.
Topsail mounted a charge in the final frame, scoring three runs, but it proved too little in the end. When the final Topsail batter struck out, the coronation commenced.
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Players dove on top of each other in the infield grass, celebrating and hollering. Coach Mark Mennitt, though, didn’t join in the dogpile at first.
He was busy, off to the side cupping his face with his hands. And then, when he finished wiping his tears?
Well, then he couldn’t avoid the team hug any longer.
Three who mattered
Alex Leshock, Marvin Ridge: The junior outfielder was everywhere for the Mavericks. He stole multiple bases, consistently got on base, and had several run-saving catches in center field.
Chandler Castleberry, Marvin Ridge: Castleberry notched two homers in the early game Saturday and a triple in Game 3 en route to MVP honors. He also made several tough catches in right field.
Connor Paul, Marvin Ridge: The second baseman had the play of Game 3 when he dove, spun and still tossed out the runner at first base in the fifth inning.
▪ Demarco Reaves came in for starter Zach Zdimal for the last out of the game.
▪ After scoring just three runs in Game 1, the Mavericks scored 20 in Saturday’s doubleheader.
They said it
“Those nine seniors, they refused to lose and that’s the bottom line.” – Marvin Ridge coach Mark Mennitt.
“She said it would come and it did. Mom knows best.” – Castleberry, on a text from his mother telling him he needed to get his bat going.
“Completely blessed. Back-to-back is insane.” – Leshock.