Falcons and Bulldogs crowned champions at Carroll | Sports
The wait was well worth it.
The most dominant team in Class 1A throughout the 2021 State Tournament finally received the fear they needed, propelling the program to the title.
More than two decades had passed since Council Bluffs St. Albert last won a championship. It was time to put that drought to bed with efficient hitting and title-worthy granularity.
The Falcons held on for a 7-5 victory over Kee Lansing on Thursday, July 29 in the 1A Final, securing the fourth title in the program.
“It’s really surreal,” said Colton Brennan of St. Albert after the boisterous celebration. “We are really excited and so happy. At the start of the year, we knew we could compete. Coming here and winning the state championship is really great.
Carroll’s long-awaited return to the baseball championship risked being methodically snoozed. State baseball was finally back after a 17-year hiatus, bringing with it a lot of drama.
Another slow start from Kee Lansing proved crucial as the Kee-Hawks couldn’t come back this time, falling into a 7-1 hole. KHS also dragged on at various points in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, but eventually ran out of gasoline on the brightest stage.
It was not an ordinary deficit either. St. Albert was by far the best team in the Class 1A tournament, scoring at least seven points in each of their three contests, passing their opponents by 19 points.
The 2021 title is the Falcons’ fourth in their history, but the first in 22 years (the last was in 1999). It was a long time coming for a school that had reached the state tournament three of the last four summers. The taste of victory was the perfect antidote, dissolving the growing frustration.
St. Albert deserved the win in large part because of the team’s remarkable dominance throughout their time at Carroll.
The Falcons totaled 13 hits on Thursday, continuing an incredible offensive streak that saw the Falcons average 10.6 hits per game during the entire state tournament as well as 8.6 runs scored.
Brennan said offensive success is rooted in repetition. The Falcons have never given up throughout the season, honing their skills every week.
“We are working on (hitting) all the time,” said the second. “We were constantly improving. We know we can put the ball back together very well. We just arrived this afternoon and kept hitting the ball. This is how you score points.
Kee, who was playing in their 17th state title game, failed to win a ninth championship. Only Davenport Assumption won more (11). The Kee-Hawks will have to wait a bit longer.
Thursday’s first hole didn’t help matters.
St. Albert worked his way to a six-point advantage, scoring two runs in each of the first three innings, then tackling another on a wild pitch in the fourth. It looked like the Falcons would comfortably walk away with the top prize with another blowout, but Kee’s patented resilience threw a momentary key into the impending celebration.
The Hawks scored four runs late in the sixth inning, closing in on two thanks to a series of errors from St. Albert. A pair of wild throws and a poorly managed Grounder allowed Kee Lansing to produce his most significant damage of the match.
Despite his valiant assault in the sixth inning, Kee was limited to just four total hits throughout the Championship game.
As the contest turned to the seventh, the courage of the St. Albert Championship shone. An arm of confidence was mobilized for the safeguard, thus preserving the escape for the title of the Falcons.
Cy Patterson, who secured the final exit, was anything but worried once he and his teammates glimpsed victory.
Only three withdrawals separated them from the trophy. It was time to shine.
“There was a bit of panic, but we knew we were going to attack,” said the elder. “We’re a great team and we’re a great defensive team. Our sticks always keep us in the games.
Patterson mowed down Kee’s hitters with relative ease, not allowing a single hit while striking out two, closing the pounds on the Hawks’ return attempt. This essential excellence is exactly what Patterson’s teammates expected of him, his firepower closing the door to a championship victory.
“We knew he was going to throw heat and they couldn’t touch him,” Brennan said. “We were really confident in his throws and our lineup. We made a few mistakes (Thursday), but we were successful and got the job done.
Patterson was one of many offensive stars, recording two hits and two runs batted in while Daniel McGrath also produced two runs. Brennan was three-for-four on the flat with two runs scored. Luke Hubbard took the win by pitching five and a third innings, allowing just one earned run from five strikeouts and four hits.