Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Edwardsville Claims State Title in Eight-Inning Victory

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Edwardsville Claims State Title in Eight-Inning Victory

Article excerpt

JOLIET -- Blake Burris saw the irony.

The Edwardsville High senior outfielder smiled when he realized that it took the unlikeliest of heroes to help the Tigers capture the state baseball championship.

Senior pinch-runner Aaron Young scored all the way from second base on a bunt single and infield miscue to lead Edwardsville to a thrilling 3-2, eight-inning win over St. Charles North in the Class 4A state title contest on Saturday at Route 66 Stadium in Joliet.

The Tigers (37-5) claimed their third state crown to go along with championships in 1990 and 1998.

"A lot of people say about themselves, 'We're a real team from top to bottom and everybody contributes,'" Burris said. "For some, that's just talk. For us it's real.

"We proved that tonight."

Junior pinch-hitter Jacob Kitchen got the winning rally started with a one-out single to right that dropped between three fielders. The high fly ball seemed to stay in the air for an eternity, but it bounced harmlessly in short right field without being touched.

Young took over from there. He promptly stole second on a third strike to Hayden Moore.

That set the stage for Burris, who set down a perfect bunt towards third base. St. Charles North third baseman Kevin White fielded the ball, but his throw was late and glanced away from first baseman Kyler Brown.

Young never hesitated. He steamed around third without breaking stride and beat a bang-bang play at the plate with a perfect slide.

"It was close," Young said. "My head was on the ground, so I didn't see it."

Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser likes to be aggressive in the third-base coaching box.

"We always remind our guys, bunt for a hit there and (if you) are on second base expect to score," Funkhouser said.

The Tigers, who won their last 10 games, used a hard-hitting lineup and a loaded pitching staff to reach the state tournament for the 16th time. …

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