EL DORADO — El Dorado proved that playing at home can help a lot, as the Wildcats downed Hays 5-2 Saturday to win the Class 5A state baseball championship at McDonald Stadium.
Hundreds of Wildcats fans packed the Stadium to Watch their home team stop repeated offensive threats by Hays. And with every good play came a deafening cheer.
"We haven't lost here all year," Said tearful El Dorado coach Brad. Long, who was this year's Class 5A Coach of the Year. "The home field definitely was a factor."
The first Hays threat was in the second inning, when the Indians, trailing 2-0, loaded the bases on three walks by El Dorado pitcher Darrin Morrison. But Aaron Pfannenstiel hit into a double play, one of three in the game for the Wildcats, that ended the inning.
Hays came back to load the bases again in the third inning, this time with two outs. A diving catch by right fielder Jeremy Shipman again left three men stranded for the Indians.
"The ball kept tailing away, and I just went to it," Shipman said. "Thank God I caught it."
Shipman continued to provide key defensive plays as the game continued but in a different way.
The 5-foot-6 junior came in to pitch in place of Morrison in the fifth inning. He allowed just two hits and Struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to seal the victory and earn his second save of the tournament.
"We scored eight runs with two outs in the semifinal game to win, so we've been on an emotional high ever since," Shipman said. "The home field was definitely an advantage. They really showed a lot of support."
Hays coach Frank Leo agreed.
"When you look up and see 800 people dressed in red and 200 dressed in cardinal, it had to do something," he said.
Morrison, Shipman (5) and Barrier; Windholz, Goetz (7) and Clark, W-Morrison (9-3); L-Windholz (5-2). S-Shipman(2)
El Dorado High School made an 11-year wait worthwhile last Saturday night by winning the state 5A high school championship with a 5-2 victory over Hays.
The title game was anticlimactic following the Wildcats' wild come-from-behind 14-13 victory over Goddard in the semifinals earlier in the day. El Dorado spotted Goddard a 12-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings and won with an eight-run seventh. The final six runs scored with two out. the final two on catcher Eric Barrier's double to right. The winning hit was Barrier's second hit of the inning.
The Wildcats. who were seeded sixth going into the tournament. had not played in a state tourney since 1979 when they were third in the 5A-6A tourney.
The two classes began having their own separate tournaments last year. The state championship was the first in El Dorado High School history and it came in EHS' 11th trip to the state tournament. In 1952 the Wildcats were second. Saturday night's victory gave EHS a 14–0 record at McDonald Stadium this season.
"Playing on our home field helped." said EHS coach Brad Long, who was guiding the Wildcats the last time they appeared in the state tournament. "But the field did not make the plays or come up with the big hits. The kids did those things."
"We beat three quality teams (third-seeded Parsons. Goddard and Hays" Long said. "Parsons was 13-4 and their pitcher, Brian Baldwin, really threw a good game against us. Goddard knocked off Ark City and Hays' pitcher, Ty Windholz, was 5-1 coming into the game. Hays beat some good teams to get to the finals."
The last time El Dorado High School played in the state tournament was about the time the Wildcats on this year's team began playing. They've been together ever since.
While El Dorado picked up seven hits in its winning rally against Goddard. the players and coacheson EHS all pointed to the relief job done by sophomore Justin Baker, who relieved Jeremy Shipman in the third inning.
In the first three innings, EHS' defense looked to be on vacation, committing six errors to help Goddard build its lead. Baker shut down Goddard until the seventh, when Justin Dunn relieved him to open the inning. The Lions got another run off Dunn, but Brad Seusy ended the inning with a running catch in left field.
Dunn opened the seventh with the first of seven EHS hits. A wild pitch sent Dunn to second and he took third on Barrier's single. Scott Ramsey bounced to the pitcher to move up Barrier and both runners came home on Jeff Stewart's single. Scott Mann hit a bouncer to third to force Stewart at second, but Brad Seusy and Kirk Jilg followed with singles to make the score 13-9 and chase reliever Chris Durham who had come on in the sixth inning.
Rory Hamilton hit Darrin Morrison with a pitch to load the bases and then Shipman fe11 behind 0–2. With the count 1-2, Shipman drove a fastball nearly to the right field fence. He tripped as he started to round second and had to scramble back to first but two more runs had scored.
A wild pitch scored Morrison and sent Shipman to second, Dunn, the winning run, was walked intentionally. Barrier then drove a ball over the fielders heads into right and as Shipman and Dunn scored the El Dorado crowd and dugout erupted.
"I told Eric to go." said assistant coach Stan Ruff. "I didn't realize we had won the game until I looked back toward home plate and our duguout." "People aren't even going to remember tonight's championship game." said one Newton fan following the game. "As long as the people who saw today's game are alive, they're going to be talking about the great comeback in the 1990 semifinal game."
In the first round game against Parsons and again in the championship game. Darrin Morrison started and Shipman finished up.
Morrison, the most valuable player of the tournament, went five innings the first night and four the next night to win two games.
Shipman wound up the championship game with a flourish, striking out the side.
"It was up to Jeremy to win it or lose it." Long said of the title game. "I was really pumped up." Shipman said. "There was no way I was going to lose that lead. The last three pitches of the game I threw the ball as hard as I could."
El Dorado scored twice in the second inning. but Hays tied the count in the fifth, with Jeff Tauscher scoring the tying run on Aaron Pfannenstiel let him self get caught in a run down between first and second.
When Stewart tagged Pfannenstiel out, he got a foream in the mouth for his trouble.
This probably was one of the reasons EHS fans began to chant "warm up the bus" with two out in the last of the seventh. The fans quickly were silenced by EHS athletic director John Blazek.
El Dorado regained the lead for good with two runs in the fifth. The first run, Kirk Jig, scored when Shipman reached base on an error and Morrison was balked home.
Official 1990 State Tournament Program Guide sold during the tournament.
Full page ad taken out by family and friends congratulating the 1990 team.