PEARL — Kris Riley was a one-man wrecking crew.
In his last game in a West Jones uniform Riley was the winning pitcher and had three hits with three runs batted in as West Jones got past Lafayette 7-2 to claim the MHSAA Baseball Class 5A State Championship at Trustmark Park on Thursday night.
It is the Mustangs (29-5) first state title in school history.
“Came out and had to perform like I’ve had all year and their guy was throwing strikes, so I had to do the same thing. I haven’t had a great year hitting and tonight I just stayed in the box and let the ball get to me and had three hits,” said Riley, a Pearl River Community College signee. “We did the little things right all year and made history tonight. This is an amazing feeling going out a state champion my senior year.”
Riley tossed five two-thirds innings giving up five hits, two earned runs, walked two and had five strikeouts.
“Kris is a senior and he wanted it bad tonight and he threw the ball and hit the ball well tonight,” said West Jones coach Trey Sutton, a West Jones graduate. “I’ve waited so long for this feeling. This community has been so close and there was no feeling like running out of that dugout knowing you won it.”
Lafayette took a 1-0 lead in the top of third inning on an RBI single by Ben Harper.
West Jones would tie the game in the bottom of fourth on an RBI single by Garrett McLaurin. In the fourth inning the Mustangs would score four runs highlight by two two-run doubles by Riley and Dustin Dickerson.
“Give credit to their guy he kept us off balanced early and then we finally busted it open in the fifth,” Dickerson said. “Ever since I stepped foot on the playing field in ninth grade I dreamed of playing here for a state championship and we got it done.”
Riley would have an RBI single in the sixth and the Mustangs added another run on an error.
“You have to have a special group of kids to accomplish this goal. They are talented, buy in to what you do, to want it and these guys check all those boxes,” Sutton said. “Our goal every year is to get to state championship and to finally win it is just special.”
Zach Meagrow took the loss on the mound for Lafayette (20-12-1).