PEARL — This year has been a year of firsts for Vancleave.
Behind the stellar pitching of Hayden Robb, the Bulldogs got past New Hope 3-0 to claim the Class 4A State Championship on Friday night at Trustmark Park.
It is Vancleave’s first state title in school history.
“Hayden was flawless for us tonight and has been all season,” said first year Vancleave coach Daniel Best. “He competed his butt off and just an awesome job by all the guys tonight.”
Robb (9-2), a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College signee, would toss a complete game three-hitter with seven strikeouts to lead Vancleave (29-7).
Through the two game series, Vancleave held New Hope scoreless in 14 innings. It was the Trojans’ first time to be shutout all season.
“You don’t expect to go out there and do things like that. Just to go out there and put up seven zeros,” Robb said. “This is just awesome. I can’t credit this whole team enough.”
Vancleave took an early 1-0 lead on a RBI ground-out by Justin Stokes.
Gavin Mckerchie scored the Bulldogs second run on a wild pitch in the second inning and would also have a RBI bunt single in the sixth.
Mckerchie would have two hits to lead Vancleave offensively.
“Just did what I had to do to help out the team tonight. This is just amazing,” Mckerchie said. “Hayden was a monster. We have confidence in him as a team and he got the job done.”
Best knew this team had the potential.
“They definitely had the potential to get here. We just had to work hard. We had six guys sign to play college baseball. You just got to find ways to win close games, come together and get it done,” Best said. “You have to win close games to win championships and that’s what the guys did.”
Payton Springfield (7-3) took the loss on the mound for New Hope.
The Trojans finish the season 29-7.