FAYETTEVILLE -- Blake Adams and his Springdale Har-Ber teammates lived with the bitter taste of losing in the state championship game last season for a year.
On Friday, the Wildcats got a taste of the other side.
Adams, a junior right-hander who has verbally committed to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, was dominant on the mound, allowing just four hits with nine strikeouts as Har-Ber shut out Conway 6-0 in the Class 7A state championship game.
The title is the first in school history for Har-Ber.
"This is great to finally get this weight off our shoulders," Adams said. "We're tired of being called the second-place school. We've had it in our minds we needed a little bit of revenge and this was our comeback year.
"We played hard every game this year for this moment and we finally got it."
Adams was locked in from the first pitch of the game, a 93-mph fastball, Har-Ber Coach Ron Bradley said. Adams ran into trouble just once in his 99-pitch outing, that coming in the third inning when Conway (21-5) had runners at second and third with one out. Adams struck out Jack Stroth and got a weak ground ball to second to escape without any damage.
"He's a special guy," Bradley said of Adams. "After suffering that loss last year, I know he's lived with it all year. He was commanding the zone, his fastball was lights out. He did a great job."
Adams, who was named MVP of the state tournament, delivered with his bat as well as his arm by belting two doubles off the wall in left-center and driving in the game's first run. In typical fashion, Wildcats second baseman Blaze Brothers drew a lead-off walk, his 24th of the season, off Conway starter Jordan Hicks to open the game and advanced to second on a hit-and-run. Adams drove in Brothers by crushing a double to left-centerfield.
Jackson Riley was a courtesy runner for Adams and stole third base, scoring on Lucas McCain's sacrifice fly to right. Riley stole two bases and scored two key runs for the Wildcats.
Har-Ber was able to tack on single runs in the second, third, fifth and sixth innings, a key to keeping the momentum in the Wildcats' dugout, Bradley said.
"We did a lot of things right today," said Bradley, who won his fourth state prep title overall and second in Arkansas. "That steal in the first and scoring on the sac fly, that was huge. It seemed like we found several ways to score tonight and that was awesome."
The Wildcats got production up and down the lineup. Brothers was 2-for-3 with 1 walk and 2 RBI. Catcher Trevor Brown also had two hits and McCain drove in two runs, including a safety squeeze bunt in the third that drove in Riley.
Hicks, a Kansas State signee, struggled with command early and walked two batters in a 24-pitch first inning. Wicks went the distance and struck out six, but allowed five earned runs.
"Their guy was good and our guy was just OK today," Conway Coach Noel Boucher said. "That was the difference in the game, really. He was r... Click here to read full article
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette