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|Dragon dream ends at Bringhurst|
You could live a long time and never see a better baseball game than the one played Saturday night at Bringhurst Field in Alexandria where the Mangham Dragons dropped a 3-2 decision to Calvary Baptist in the Class A state finals.
Calvary, a private school from Shreveport, came to the championship game highly touted. Sporting a record of 34-4, they were supposed to be about as strong as the 1927 Yankees.
And much of what we had heard about Calvary Baptist was true.
They were plenty strong, and fielded a mighty fine baseball team.
But make no mistake about it, the Mangham Dragons gave them all they wanted.
The game was not decided until the final pitch when Calvary ace lefthander Randy Ziegler struck out Alan Williams with the tying and go-ahead runners on base.
It was a fitting end to a fine game. Ziegler was Calvary's best pitcher, and Williams was the Dragons' best hitter. Somebody had to win, and somebody had to lose. Another time, another place, the outcome may have been different.
There is no shame for the Dragons. They played their hearts out in the championship game and finished the year with 28 wins, the most in Mangham history. They made everyone proud.
And there is no shame in that strikeout for Williams, for it was Williams' heroic effort on the mound that kept the Dragons in the game.
Williams had to be tired, for he had already pitched and won the four playoff games that pushed the Dragons to the finals.
But Williams took the mound and battled like a true warrior.
He had eight strikeouts in the first three innings, and finished the game with 11, all of them big, for the Cavaliers of Calvary Baptist are a good-hitting team.
Williams gave up a run in the second, and two in the third. Calvary looked ready to break the game open in the fourth. With two outs and two men on base, Calvary's Nick Rome hit a screaming line drive that struck Williams on his pitching arm, just below the elbow.
But after dancing across the infield in pain, Williams returned to the mound and struck out the next batter for the third out.
You have to be good and lucky to win a state championship, and Saturday in Alexandria, the Dragons' luck ran out.
The Dragons loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth inning, but didn't score. In similar situations in other games, the Dragons have scored runs in bunches.
In a two-out rally in the sixth, Chris Jackson hit a hard ground ball that was barely knocked down by the second baseman. Another inch, and that ball would have gone through.
Congratulations to the Mangham Dragons.
They played like true champions in a remarkable finish to a remarkable season.