Chapin baseball moved to No. 1 in the Class 4A rankings early in the season and stayed there.
The Eagles capped off their impressive season Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory against Airport to sweep the best-of-three state championship series. It’s the program’s 11th state title, but first since 2002 when the Eagles won it in Class 2A.
“It’s about time, huh,” Chapin coach Scott McLeod said. “Somehow, we were ranked preseason No. 1 and we stayed with that the whole time. We never faltered. The kids kind of liked it. I like to be in the back and try to sneak to the front, but to be in the front the whole time was challenging for us, but the kids embraced it.”
Chapin (27-6) used the pitching of sophomore William Privette and timely hitting to seal the championship on its home field under misty conditions.
Privette allowed an unearned run in the complete-game three-hitter. He struck out 10, walked one and hit a batter in the 105-pitch outing. He retired the final seven batters – four on strikeouts, including the final out — after Airport scored it’s only run in the series with two outs in the fifth inning.
“That’s a great Airport team,” McLeod said. “William Privette pitched his rear end off tonight, we played great defense and got a couple of timely hits. It’s kind of been our season. That’s the way it’s been. We’ve gotten the breaks, and it happened again tonight.”
Privette (10-1) stuck out the side in the sixth inning and got a ground ball out to shortstop and pop up to first base to record the first two outs of the final inning before recording his 10th strikeout to begin the huge dogpile just in front of the pitcher’s mound.
“In the final inning, I wasn’t really nervous, I was more excited because that’s probably the best feeling I’ve had in my entire life. I’ve been looking forward to that day for a long time,” Privette said. “Throwing in the bullpen, I felt pretty good. I knew I was going to have a good game.”
Airport coach Tim Perry said the pitching of Privette and fellow sophomore Cade Austin was a big difference in the series.
“They didn’t pitch like 15- or 16-year-old sophomores,” Perry said. “They pitched like 18-year old veterans. They commanded three pitches in the zone.”
Chapin got all the offense it would need with a two-out rally in the third inning. Nick Price walked and scored from first on Kareem Bower’s double to right field that Justin Allen just missed making a spectacular diving catch on.
Bowers moved to third on a single by Tanner Steffy to put runners on the corners with two outs. Steffy stole second, and the throw from the catcher sailed into center field, allowing Bowers to score what turned out to be the winning run.
Airport (26-7) got a two-out RBI single from Sam LaFrage that scored Cam Beckham in the fifth. Privette got out of the inning with a fly ball to right field that stranded runners at first and second.
Bowers and Steffy each collected two hits to lead the eight-hit attack by Chapin.
“This is special. I wanted it for the kids,” McLeod said. “I’ve had mine and I’ve been around for a long time, but I wanted those guys to experience that. Our seniors have been with me 5 or 6 years and put up with a lot of crap from me, so I wanted it for them.”