Seniors Jacob Heyward and DJ Curl both had home runs in the clincher for the Chargers (30-3), who won the first game 5-1.
“These guys did not have a bad day throughout the playoffs at all,” ELCA coach Doug Campbell said. “They came to play all the time. That is what baseball is all about. You got to have a good day every day.”
However, ELCA’s championship celebration had a rehearsed feeling to it.
After Cole Ganopulos induced Landon Faulkner and Jake Palomaki into groundouts in the bottom of the seventh, the freshman appeared to retire Taylor Trammell in the same manner with a ground ball to first, igniting the championship celebration on the mound and fans rushing from the outfield.
But the umpire ruled Trammell’s swing a foul ball and all had to return to their prior position.
Although with the next pitch, Ganopulos struck out Trammell looking to make the pile up on the mound official.
Facing a 1-0 deficit in the top of the fourth, the Chargers finally provided some run support for Ganopulos.
With two outs, Heyward sent a pitch into the scoreboard to tie things. Then three batters later with two runners on, senior Cameron Ragsdale gave the Chargers the lead for good with an RBI double to plate Andrew Gomez.
“Heyward stepped up as a leader big time,” Curl said.
Then in the top of the fifth with a runner on, Curl added to the margin with a two-run shot for a 4-1 advantage.
“[Coach Ricky Archer] told me has to throw you one fastball and when he does that make it hurt,” Curl said. “I saw the fastball, did what he told me to do and it paid off. I give thanks to him and the rest of the coaching staff.”
Ganopulos, who finished with four strikeouts, allowed just one base runner the rest of the way and got a great assist in the sixth when Heyward reached over the right field wall to deny Keith Johnson of a solo homer.
In Game 1, Dalton Etheridge set the tone, pitching a complete game with 10 strikeouts. Dazmon Cameron homered and Matthew Hammers, Heyward and Gomez all had run-scoring hits.