By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
PEARL – Kossuth ironman Josh Whitaker felt no drain in his right arm, only an extra rush of adrenaline as he took the mound on Friday afternoon.
Whitaker, who just five days ago threw 12 straight innings, pitched the final three outs to clinch the 2013 MHSAA Class 3A baseball championship for the Aggies in a 4-0 victory over Sumrall.
The sweep over the four-time champion Bobcats at Trustmark Park is the first state title for Kossuth in program history.
Whitaker completed the shutout with his second save of the season.
“The whole team was pumped up,” said Whitaker. “I struggled the first few batters, lost control of a few pitches, but I knew in the sixth inning when we got that extra run it was over.”
Reed Mitchell found a large gap in left-centerfield in the sixth for a double that scored Connar Boyer for Kossuth’s fourth run.
Whitaker, the lone senior in the Aggies’ lineup, relieved Hunter Swindle and got Austin Watts to strike out swinging with the bases loaded to end the contest.
Swindle (5-1) started for Kossuth after recording the save in Game 1. The freshman carried a no-hitter into the fifth and stuck out four to earn the win.
“We just did not get some big hits to put some pressure on (Swindle),” said Sumrall coach Larry Knight.
Kossuth took a 3-0 lead before Swindle even took the hill. The Aggies (21-13) converted three infield hits into runs in the first.
Matthew Woodruff’s RBI single was the only ball to leave the infield that inning.
Tyler Mercer walked with the bases loaded and Charlie Bonee’s chopper to third scored Woodruff.
The Aggies started four freshman and an eighth grader in the championship win.
“I can’t say enough about the guys, said Kossuth coach Daniel Threadgill. “They executed everything perfectly today.”
Devontea Watts (5-3) recovered from the bad start to pitch another four-plus innings but still took the loss.
Sam Clark ended Swindle’s no-hit bid with a double but could not advance past second base.