The baseball state championship slipped through Houston’s grasp.
Just needing three outs for the program’s first championship after a feverish sixth-inning rally, the Tigers instead saw Blair Oaks retake the lead with five runs of its own in the seventh. The result was a 13-10 Falcons victory in the MSHSAA Class 2 state championship game that made Blair Oaks the back-to-back champions.
Houston coach Brent Hall shared a tearful goodbye with the seniors who took the Tigers on an unforgettable ride that included the program’s first sectional, quarterfinal and semifinal victories.
Houston struggled early and trailed 8-3 entering the sixth. But the relentless Tigers plated seven runs, highlighted by Gus Durst’s three-run double to deep center field that made it 8-8. David Weybright later hit a grounder to second that led to an error and a pair of unearned runs to put Houston in front 10-8.
With the Tigers just three outs away from the school’s first championship since the 1938 boys’ basketball team, Blair Oaks took advantage of three Houston errors to score five times. The Falcons finished undefeated.
Durst took the loss in relief of starter Nathan Trentham, who gave up eight hits and five earned runs in two innings. Combined with his five-inning semifinal victory, Durst threw 10 innings in three days.
Justin Stringer and Travis Swearengin had two hits apiece for Houston. Durst knocked in four runs.
It was an offensive showdown that neared several records. The Tigers, who committed six errors, tied New Bloomfield and Christian Brothers for the fourth-most runs scored in a loss in MSHSAA championship series history. The teams’ 23 combined runs were tied for the sixth most all-time.
Blair Oaks’ 16 hits tied seven teams for the seventh-most in state history. The teams had 25 combined hits, which is tied for the sixth-most.