Victoria Advocate On-Line

St. Paul captures TAPPS 2A state title
Friday, May 9, 2008

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cyan line
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The Shiner St. Paul High School Cardinal baseball team poses proudly after winning the 2008 TAPPS 2A State Championship on Friday in Belton.
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BELTON -- Keeping Frisco Legacy Christian from the big inning Friday proved to be key for the Shiner St. Paul Cardinals.

The Eagles scored in every inning but two, but it wasnít enough to stop the Cardinals as they twice came up with the big inning Friday to claim the TAPPS Class 2A state baseball title with an 11-7 victory.

It was St Paulís third title in six years and first since 2005 when the Cardinals defeated The Woodlands Christian Academy in the championship game.

The Cardinals (25-8) put their first eight batters on base to open the third after the Eagles had tied the game at 4-4 with a solo run in the top of the inning.

Just like in the first when the Cardinals scored four times on some shaky Eagles play, the Cardinals took full advantage of everything the Eagles gave them in the third.

Ben Van Sickle opened the inning by reaching on an error and Blue Hybner followed with the second of his four walks in the game. Jeffery Markham put down a bunt which the Eagles again misplayed allowing Van Sickle to race home with a 5-4 lead.

Hybner then beat the throw home on a grounder by Devin Pesek and the Cardinals plated two more runs for an 8-4 lead when the Eaglesí center fielder misplayed Kevin Patekís fly ball.

Gil Hodges, Travis Sauer and Kendall Kusak followed with three straight singles with Hodges driving home a run and Kusak two to extend the lead to 11-4.

"We took advantage of what they gave us and that was a big difference," Cardinals coach Mark Noska said. "We got a little pressure on them and they cracked a little and we took advantage of it."

The Cardinals shook off an early 2-0 deficit to score four times in the first with three of the runs crossing the plate on wild pitches.

Sauer began the rally with a one-out single and stole second, before Kusak reached on a wild pitch after striking out. Sauer, Kusak and Josh Soto, who walked, would all score on wild pitches before Markham delivered an RBI single to score Hybner who had walked.

"I was more than a little nervous right there because I wasnít sure what was going on," Noska said. "The guys didnít seem nervous but I told them to shake off because weíve been here before and we had to score some runs to win regardless."

The Eagles (16-8) had their opportunities, but Kusak would never relent and find a way out of every jam he found himself in.

"He stepped up for us again,"Noska said. "He had some tense moments but he did what he had to do and the guys behind him stepped it up and helped him out. And Blue came in at the end and did his job.

"And Iím real proud of our other seniors, Jeff (Markham) and Kevin (Patek), they made some big plays in the field today and did the job at the plate for us too."

The Eagles scored twice in the first and added solo tallies in the second, third and fourth.

Then after a scoreless fifth and sixth, the Eagles finally got to a tiring Kusak. Kusak issued back-to-back one-out walks before being relived by Hybner.

Hybner retired the first batter he faced on strikes before loading the bases with a walk and then giving up a two-run single to Mason Levitz. But Hybner got Matt Clark to ground out to end the game.

  GAME SUMMARY

  Game of May 9, 2008

                           1 2 3  4 5 6  7      F

  Frisco Legacy Christian  2 1 1  1 0 0  2  --  7
  St. Paul                 4 0 7  0 0 0  0  -- 11


  TAPPS 2A State Championship at Belton

  Logan Allison, Connor Ward (2), Mark Berry (3), Casey Mach (5) and
  Lucas Allison. Kendall Kusak, Blue Hybner (7) and Gil Hodges.

  W: Kusak (11-3). L: Lo. Allison.

  Highlights: (FR) Mach 2-for-3, 2 RBIs, 3B, 2 runs; (SP) Travis Sauer
  2-for-3, two runs, 2 SB; Kusak 1-for-3, 2 RBIs; Hybner 4 BB, 2 runs;
  Hodges 1-for-3, run, RBI.

  Records: Legacy Christian 16-7; St. Paul 25-8.

  NOTE: St. Paul Cardinals are 2008 TAPPS 2A State Champions.
  

CONGRATULATIONS CARDINALS !

cyan line
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