Fort Myers, FL---The Chipley Tigers fall a little short of capturing their first ever baseball state championship. Chipley losing in the 1A title game Tuesday night to Williston 4-0.
The Tigers ran into a talented, hard throwing righty by the name of Trent Johnson, who was throwing as hard as 89-90 miles an hour with his fastball. He kept Chipley off balance, and off the scoreboard as he weaved a two-hit shutout, while striking out ten.
The Tigers threatened in the top of the 4th inning by loading the bases with a single, an error and a walk. But Johnson got Nolan Spencer swinging on a high fastball for the inning ending strikeout.
In the bottom of the 5th the Red Devils were able to get on the board against Chipley pitching. Shelby Savell who came on and pitched well in relief for two innings, gave up an infield single. Savell perhaps hurt while diving for the first base bag on that infield single that led off the inning. So Savell giving way to Dallas Oliver who gave up three straight hits. The third of those to Johnson who lined a single up the middle plating the game's first two runs.
The Red Devils added another run on a safety squeeze, and then a 4th run in the inning came on an infield single to second.
That was more than enough for Johnson who finished out the shutout by striking out freshman Grant Rowell.
So Chipley's season ends with a record of 23-8. For Williston it's the school's first state championship of any kind in 91 years.
After the game I spoke with Chipley head coach Andy Compton who said this about his kids, and the experience of making it to state as a whole.
"They'll be fine. We've got a lot of young guys and they're hurting tonight. But you know we've gotta start playing again in a few weeks, so they'll be fine. You know they were really concerned with Shelby Savell that got hurt there in that inning, so they're down but they're very resilient, they'll be back. It's what we kind of set out to do and after we won the first one we had a lot of confidence. But that guy was really, really good. But it was an experience we will never forget."
Compton says the team will leave Fort Myers early Wednesday morning, and he hopes they can be back at the school sometime around 3 o'clock Wednesday afternoon.