By Kevin Askeland
The first state champions of the 2008 high school baseball season have been crowned in Louisiana, Hawaii, and Arizona with more championship games scheduled for the weekend. Here’s a look at the champions and the teams in contention for state titles.
The matchups for the Alabama state championships have been determined and play begins Tuesday at Paterson Field in Montgomery.
Competition begins with Class 2A foes Leroy (34-5) meeting Mars Hill Bible (29-12) in a doubleheader followed by a single game between Class 1A opponents Athens Bible (27-5) and Providence Christian (19-14).
On Wednesday, Haleyville (22-14) and Jackson (32-6) meet in the first game of the Class 4A finals. On Thursday, defending 3A champion Hokes Bluff (24-5) meets LAMP (25-15).
The tournament culminates with the 6A and 5A games on Friday and Saturday. Top seed Opelika (41-2) takes on Hoover (27-18) in class 6A while Cullman (34-14) meets Charles Henderson (35-11) in Class 5A.
Opelika swept past Prattville 5-4 and 6-5 to reach the 6A finals while Hoover took Sparkman in two games, 11-7 and 12-2.
There was a little more drama in the 5A semifinals where St. Paul’s stretched Charles Henderson to three games before falling 10-7, 2-9, 11-0. Cullman topped Hartselle in two games, 5-1, 8-3, in the other 5A semifinal.
Both 4A semifinals went three games. Jackson lost the first game, 6-5, but won the next two over Alabama Christian 11-1 and 9-2. Likewise, Haleyville lost the first game to East Limestone, 3-1, and won the next two 15-2 and 4-2.
Hokes Bluff swept past Plainview 9-3 and 6-3 in the 3A semifinals while LAMP did the same with Mobile Christian, 8-2, 10-4.
Defending 2A champion Leroy stumbled a bit against American Christian before winning 8-7, 1-10, 20-5. Mars Hill won in two straight, 5-2 and 4-3, over Ranburne.
Both 1A semifinals went three games. Providence Christian edged Brantley 10-9 in the final game after splitting the first two 4-5 and 7-2. Athens Bible also won a close one over Shoals Christian, 8-6, in the final game after falling in the opener 14-5 and winning the second game 11-0.
Seven champions have been crowned in Arizona, including Hamilton, which is ranked among the top 25 teams in the country by MaxPreps.com.
Hamilton, the No. 4 seed for the Class 5A Division 1 playoffs, knocked off No. 15 Mesquite 6-5 for the championship.
In Class 5A Division 2, Horizon upset top seeded Sunrise Mountain in the finals 2-1 while No. 1 seed Chaparral avoided the upset in Class 4A Division 1 with an 8-6 win over Sandra Day O’Connor. Notre Dame wasn’t as fortunate in Class 4A Division 2, falling to No. 6 Mingus 4-1.
Upsets were common in the 3A bracket with No. 14 Safford topping No. 8 Chino Valley 10-0 in the finals. East No. 1 seed Bisbee edged Metro No. 2 Bourgade Catholic 9-8 in the 2A finals while South No. 1 Valley Union had little trouble with South No. 2 Gila Bend, winning 9-1 in the 1A final.
The finals of the Arkansas state tournament are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Play is completed up to the semifinals, which were played Monday evening.
Fayetteville meets North Little Rock in one 7A semifinal while Little Rock Catholic meets Sprindale Har-Ber in the other contest.
In 6A, Watson Chapel took on Jonesboro and Sylvan Hills met Texarkana. The 5A semifinals found Harrison and Alma squaring off in one game and Malvern meeting Little Rock Christian in the other. In the 4A playoffs, Rivercrest and Nashville played in one semifinal and Valley View and Gosnell played in the other.
The 3A semifinals had Lincoln meeting Marmaduke and Harding Academy taking on Corning. In 2A play, Parkers Chapel played Woodland and Dierks met Hampton. In the 1A class, Armorel played the winner of the Izar County/Trinity Christian game and Taylor took on Westside.
The Class 7A, 1A and 2A finals are set for Friday while the rest will play Saturday.
Chatfield pulled off the biggest upset of the 5A playoffs, knocking No. 1 seed, and unbeaten, Cherry Creek to the loser’s bracket with a 2-1 win in the first round. Chatfield lost to Rocky Mountain 8-5 on Saturday and will try and stay alive Friday with a game against Air Academy. Rocky Mountain, the No. 2 seed, will meet Arapahoe.
In Class 4A, No. 1 seed Cherokee Trail lost its first two games and was eliminated. The top remaining seed is Thomas Jefferson, which will face Fossil Ridge on Friday in one semifinal game. Skyline will play Ralston Valley in the other.
The No. 1 seed in Class 3A, Faith Christian, also met misfortune, losing in the second round and then falling in the elimination bracket. No. 2 seed Erie meets Lamar in one semifinal while No. 4 Eaton takes on No. 3 Brush in the other.
In Class 2A, Paonia meets Jefferson Academy on Friday while Custer County takes on Resurrection Christian. The 1A playoffs will play semifinal matchups between Idalia and Eads and Granada and Caliche on Friday with the finals on Saturday.
The state semifinals in six divisions commence Friday with the state championship games being played Saturday and on through Tuesday.
In Class 6A, Park Vista topped Flanagan in two games, 4-2, 6-3 while Lakeland took three games to beat West Orange, 11-3, 1-6, 13-4. In the other semifinal, Lake Brantley will meet Goleman. Lake Brantley topped Buchholz in three games, 11-5, 3-7, 4-1 while Goleman beat Miami Southridge in two games, 3-0 and 2-1.
Niceville continues to play well in Class 5A, beating Gainesville 4-3 and 13-6 to advance to a semifinal game against South Fork, which beat Nova 15-7 and 7-3. Brandon and Dunedin meet in the other semifinal. Brandon edged Winter Haven 9-8 and 10-5 while Dunedin topped North Port 6-5 and 12-0.
Bishop Kenny and Rockledge will play in one of the 4A semifinals while Palatka and Riverdale will play in the other. Bishop Kenny beat West Florida 5-3, and 15-3 while Rockledge routed Key West 5-0 and 6-1. Palatka went three games with Pasco, 3-6, 10-5, and 9-6, while Riverdale did the same with Sebring, 2-3, 10-2, 11-0.
One of the more anticipated games of the Florida state playoffs won’t happen now that John Carroll knocked off Clearwater Central Catholic, 10-8 and 2-0 in a quarterfinal matchup. John Carroll will play Keystone Heights, which beat Trinity Catholic 7-10, 5-2, 6-5.
Clearwater Central Catholic was expected to meet American Heritage in the finals. American Heritage got past Chaminade 10-0 and 11-6 to face Pensacola Catholic, a 5-4, 10-5 winner over Episcopal.
The 2A semifinals pit North Florida Christian against Highlands Christian while Providence will pay Fort Meade. North Florida Christian whipped Jay 3-1 and 13-1 while Highlands Christian went three games before downing Miami Christian 3-4, 8-3, 8-4. Providence Christian also took three games to beat Pine Castle Christian, 6-1, 2-4, 2-1. Fort Meade went extra innings twice against Northside Christian, falling 1-2 in the first game and winning 7-6 in the second. Fort Meade won on a 4-0 shutout in the decisive third game.
Eagle’s View continues to cruise in 1A play, beating Paxton 13-3 and 18-0 to reach the semifinals against Brito Miami Private, which whipped Trinity Christian 14-7 and 3-1.
Trinity Christian of Deltona topped Central Florida Christian in three games, 4-8, 7-3 and 8-7 and will play Cambridge, a 3-2, 3-1 winner over Brandenton Christian.
The first round of the state tournament began on Friday and Saturday and will continue Wednesday with second round games.
Punahou swept through the Division 1 tournament, shutting out Saint Louis 4-0 for the state championship on Saturday. Punahou also defeated Maui 9-0 in the semifinals. Pearl City topped Maui 6-0 for third place.
In Division 2, Kauai slipped past St. Anthony 1-0. Kalaheo topped Molokai 4-2 for third place.
Barbe rose to the top of the 5A Class with a 7-5 win over No. 10 seed Jesuit on Saturday. The tournament was filled with upsets with Barbe and Baton Rouge Catholic the only top 5 seeds to reach the semifinals. Jesuit edged Catholic 4-1 while Barbe squeaked by Airline 8-7 in the other semifinal.
No. 3 seed Zachary won the 4A championship with a 7-0 shutout of No. 5 seed Archbishop Shaw. Shaw had knocked off No. 1 seed Neville 9-8 in one semifinal while Zachary eliminated No. 2 seed Tuerlings 7-5 in the other semi.
Parkview Baptist won in a rout in the 3A finals, beating St. Charles 12-3. Parkview, the No. 2 seed, defeated Kaplan, the No. 11 seed, 10-0 in the semifinals while St. Charles, the No. 5 seed, beat Iowa, the No. 16 seed, 5-2.
In other state final games, Calvary topped Evangel 12-2 for the 2A state title, Ouachita Christian edged Northlake Christina 5-4 for the 1A crown, Runnels blasted Zwolle 12-2 in the Class B final and Claiborne Christian beat Elizabeth 5-2 for the Class C championship.
Nebraska named its District champions two weeks ago and began state tournament play this weekend.
Omaha Creighton, the top seed in Class A with a 26-2 record, lost its opener to No. 8 Grand Island, 8-2 while No. 4 seed Papillion-La Vista fell to Omaha Westside 3-0.
Millard West and Millard North avoided the upset bug with West beating Lincoln North 3-2 and North beating Lincoln Southeast 4-2.
The playoffs continue this week with the final scheduled for Friday at Haymarket Park.
The top seed in Class B also lost its first round game as Omaha Roncalli Catholic lost to Gretna in nine innings, 5-4. The Class B state finals are May 17.
Bishop Gorman survived a loss in the regional tournament to earn the top seed from the Sunset Region for this week’s 4A state tournament. Bishop Gorman meets the No. 2 seed from the North Region, Bishop Manogue, in one first round matchup while Reno, the North’s top seed, meets Sunrise No. 1 Green Valley.
In 3A play, Spring Creek meets Truckee and Virgin Valley takes on Dayton. The 2A playoffs find Pershing County meeting The Meadows in one semifinal and Needles facing Silver Stage in the other. In the 1A semifinals, Virginia City plays Pahranagat Valley and Calvary Chapel meets Smith Valley.
Moore and Bixby will meet in Tuesday’s 6A state championship game after Moore beat Jenks 9-7 and 4-1 on Monday. Owasso got past Yukon 4-0 in the B Bracket final.
In 5A play, Chickasha topped McAlester 3-1 and will play Bixby on Tuesday in the state finals. Bixby knocked off Tulsa Kelley 5-4 on Monday.
Boiling Springs and Conway will play for the 4A championship after winning their respective divisions over the weekend. Boiling Springs beat Easley 12-1 to win the Upper State region while Conway edged Stratford to win the Lower State region.
In 3A play, AC Flora won the Upper State championship with a 3-4, 12-4 win over Blythewood. It will face Brookland Cayce, a 1-6, 8-1 winner over Midland Valley in the Lower State finals.
Gilbert will play Dillon in the 2A finals. Gilbert beat Chesnee 6-1 for the Upper State title and Dillon topped Bishop England 3-6, 4-2 in the Lower State region.
Chesterfield easily won the Upper State 1A title, beating Dixie 9-0. Bamberg-Ehrhardt will represent the Lower State after a 5-4 win over Johnsonville.
The second round of the Texas state playoffs is complete with regional quarterfinal play commencing Friday and Saturday. The state finals are set for June 4-7.