By SAM McGAW | Photos by KINDELL MOORE
In a roller coaster of a postseason, all Brentwood baseball coach Bill Moore has asked of his players is for them to remain the same.
Therefore, it was business as usual for Friday’s Class AAA championship against Stewarts Creek.
The Bruins (30-11) dialed up three runs in the final two innings to capture their first state championship with a 5-3 win at Middle Tennessee State’s Reese Smith Jr. Field.
“I don’t know where to begin with that group that we have,” an emotional Moore said. “It’s a special group of kids. Even if we don’t win today, it’s been an honor to wear the uniform with them. I feel very lucky and fortunate to be in the position I’m in.”
Stewarts Creek scored one run and loaded the bases in the seventh before pitcher Connor Gibson forced a fly out to end the game.
“I got a little nervous [at the end],” said Gibson, who pitched with a torn shoulder labrum. “I had confidence in my boys. I knew I couldn’t get it done by myself, so I had to get them an opportunity.”
Gibson threw two strikeouts and allowed one hit and one earned run in 4.2 innings. He pitched in relief for starter Jacob Gossett, who allowed three hits and one earned run.
Luke Reidy and Mason Keidel registered two RBI apiece for the Bruins, while Kaden Dreier rattled off three hits.
Keidel hit a walk-off grand slam earlier in the week to defeat Blackman in the second round of the tournament.
“What a week for him,” Moore said. “Such a super kid. He is the picture of what we ask from our kids. Completely selfless. He just wants to win.”
Brentwood won five of its final six games after going 1-3 in the District 11-AAA and Region 6-AAA tournaments.
“That summarizes our team,” Moore said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re down one or up two, we ask them to stay the same. Our approach is to stay the same and what you do and how we go about it is the same.”
Brentwood jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Reidy sacrifice fly.
Stewarts Creek pulled ahead 2-1 in the third on Daniel Freeman’s sacrifice fly to right field and a score by Tre Bailliez on a wild pitch.
A line-drive double to left-centerfield by Keidel plated Reidy to tie the game in the fourth frame.
Reidy added an RBI single in the sixth and was brought home on a Keidel sacrifice fly for a 4-2 advantage.
Brentwood’s Henry Glenn opened the seventh with a leadoff double. He was plated by Carson Shacklett on a sacrifice fly two batters later.
“We turned it on this tournament,” Reidy said. “We’ve had quality at-bats and when we’re getting out, we have loud outs. We played great baseball this tournament. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.”