Marist would go on to keep Benedictine scoreless for seven innings and secure Game 1 victory to end Benedictine’s 16-game winning streak. Junior starting pitcher Preston Larmore had six innings with two strikeouts for the War Eagles while allowing just four hits.
In Game 2 of the series, Benedictine was the first to put points on the board after junior Kam Edge scored on wild ground to come back 1-0. In the bottom of the second, Marist would tie the game with an RBI single from Hare. The game went scoreless for four innings, as Benedictine took home the top of the seventh to try to force a third game.
After failing to score a point, the Cadets took to the field as the War Eagles rose to home plate in an attempt to claim victory in the final. A Rollauer single put the runners into the corners for Marist, and after Benedictine intentionally stepped on Hare, Gray Taylor came to bat with loaded bases, two strikeouts and the state title on the line. Taylor delivered, sending off a drive line over the head from short stops and into the outfield for victory at the start.
“He looked really comfortable,” Strickland said. “He saw it very well. He’s been with the program for four years, he has a great sense of respect for the standard of our program and what we are committed to doing day in and day out. For it to be him then, and for him to have so much comfort, it was amazing.
While the victory came in dramatic fashion, there was no doubt in Strickland’s mind that his team were prepared for the big moments needed to win the title.
“Our guys are ready to be pushed and trained hard. You go back and take a look at our schedule, Parkview, Starr’s Mill, Loganville. They are all on our calendar. Our guys were lucky enough to be tested early and throughout the year. When it came to whether you thought you could or not, you knew you could.
The victory gives Marist his 14th state baseball title in program history and second in Class 4A in four seasons. Marist starting pitcher Ryan McTighe finished Game 2 with three strikeouts and allowed just two hits in six innings. Carter Holton of Benedictine finished with twelve strikeouts.