SHAWNEE – The first rematch from last year's 5A state tournament took place Monday at Shawnee as the Wolves took on challenger Piedmont and won at home 10-0 after a two-run walkoff by Tanner Sparks ended the game in the fifth. The Wolves (25-0) have gone on a 37-game undefeated streak after being handed their last loss April 12, 2016 by the Wildcats. The Wolves blanked Piedmont 9-0 in last year's state final to win their second straight title.
“Coach Williams does a great job at Piedmont and his kids always play the game right. Any time you can walk away with a victory against them it feels like a good day at the ball park,” Coach Todd Boyer said.
Sparks took to the mound this time around to pitch against the Wildcats. He was consistent in the game to give up one hit and fan four but plunked a couple of batters in the process. The Shawnee senior gave up one hit but no runs and with the defense behind him was able to get out unscathed.
“Tanner gave us his usual outing on the mound. He's mister consistency on the mound,” Boyer said.
Eli Davis saved the shutout in the top of the third with a bases loaded snipe from shallow center to home for a double play to get the runner from third.
With two out in the bottom of the fifth, Jake Taylor singled to drive in Talon Phillips on a close play at home and Sparks followed up with his two-run single to bring in Taylor and Austin Wood for the win.
Sparks finished the game 3-for-4 and drove in five of Shawnee's 10 runs. AJ Barron had three singles and brought home one run and Cole Payne (2-3) had a two-run double in the bottom of the second for the only extra base hit. He would have had another RBI to his credit on the double, but Kade Self was called out at home on a close but questionable call.
Self finished the day 0-1 with a sacrifice to bring in a run and took one walk.
The Wolves cruised through the first two innings, but Piedmont southpaw Jacob Ellis came in with two outs in the second to shut down Shawnee in the third and fourth with a 7-0 deficit.
“He was a little off speed and varied his delivery a little bit. But I thought our kids the second time through against him put a little better swings on him,” Boyer said.
Koy Priddy was handed the loss after giving up seven runs on as many hits.
The Wildcats will get another shot to spoil the Wolves' perfect season as Shawnee travels to Piedmont today for the conclusion of the two-game series.
Shawnee tops the 5A district standings with a 9-0 district record and is one of the top teams in the nation. The loss was No. 2 in 5A-1 Piedmont's first in district play to drop their record to 12-8 (6-1).