(Story reprinted with permission from the Enquire Journal)
Weddington High won the 3A baseball state championship in dramatic fashion on Saturday, led by three of the most talented underclassmen in North Carolina.
The Warriors held off Aycock for a 4-2 victory, giving them a sweep of their best-of-3 series.
Sophomore Sean Collins, who has committed to Virginia, got the complete-game victory.
Clemson commitment Alex Bostic, a junior, was named MVP. Bostic hit what proved to be the decisive home run with a towering shot in the fifth inning to put his team ahead 3-2.
“It was awesome,” Bostic said of the feeling he had on his timely home run.
After Bostic’s home run in the fifth, Charlotte 49ers commit Jeremy Schellhorn knocked in an insurance run with a two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh.
“When we got that last run, I knew we had it,” Bostic said.
The Jaguars got the leadoff runner on base in the bottom of the seventh, bringing the tying run to the plate.
But that’s when Schellhorn, a junior third baseman, thwarted the rally.
Schellhorn stabbed a line drive, then stepped on first base behind the runner for a double play.
“To be honest, off the bat, I kinda blinked and it was right there on me,” Schellhorn said of the double play. “I stuck out my glove and it happened to snag it and I tagged the bag for the second out. It just shut down their momentum for what they had going on.”
Collins struck out the final batter, adding to the excitement of exact moment when Weddington won the first baseball state championship in the school’s 12-year existence.
“It was unreal,” Collins said of the final strikeout. “I saw him swing and my heart sank. It’s an unbelievable feeling. As soon as it came out I thought ‘This is it right here.’”
Weddington coach Travis Poole helped his team overcome the disappointment of not winning the Southern Carolina Conference.
The Warriors dominated most of the postseason, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 56-12.
The championship series, though, was a tougher task.
“I can’t tell you how happy and how proud I am of these young men, the way they fought and battled,” said WHS coach Travis Poole. “Until you get here and feel it ... I’ve had guys tell me about it, but you don’t really understand the full feeling until it’s all over. ... Not many words explain it.”
In addition to making his second rally-killing double play in two days, Schellhorn was 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs.
Weddington had just three hits on the day, but they resulted in all four RBIs.
The Warriors trailed 2-0 in the third inning with two outs and the bases loaded when Schellhorn grounded a single between shortstop and third base that scored sophomore Daniel Calabretta and Alex Bostic.
Weddington completes its state championship season with a 28-6 record. The Warriors won 19 of their last 20 games.
Collins allowed five hits and struck out three, while walking six and hitting two.
“I was all over the place but I was able to get out of some tough situations,” Collins said. “It means a lot to throw a complete game against these guys.”
Poole was impressed with how Collins handled the pressure and adversity.
“He battled his butt off,” Poole said of Collins, who finished the year 7-1. “I’m proud of him. To be a sophomore and battle the way he did. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
Weddington won the first game of the series, 5-3, on Friday.
Bostic got the win in the opener, improving to 11-0, and senior David Pope earned his fourth save of the season.
Weddington is the first Union County baseball team to win the state championship since Sun Valley did it in 1997.