Ever since Southlake Carroll lost in the 2017 state semifinals, the Dragons motto was "unfinished business."
They completed their mission with a victory over San Antonio Reagan to win the Class 6A state title on Saturday at Dell Diamond. Will Quillen hit a two-run triple in the top of the first and senior RHP Kyle Warden threw six scoreless innings to beat the Rattlers 7-2.
“It’s unreal," said Adam Stephenson, one of 20 seniors on the team. "Our goal since last year’s game was to come back here and finish the job. Our motto was unfinished business and I’m glad we could come through.”
Carroll (35-6) won its third state title and first since 2002. The Dragons were playing in their eighth baseball state tournament, tied with Jasper for most among this year’s qualifiers.
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“We’re happy to bring it home to the community," coach Larry Vucan said. "They have high expectations, but they are very supportive.”
Quillen drove a 2-2 pitch to right center with two outs in the opening frame.
“There’s no better feeling in the world. It’s awesome," Quillen said.
The Dragons extended their lead to 4-0 in the second with an RBI double from Cade Bell that scored courtesy runner Jaxon Osterberg. Cole Johnson grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Bell to cross the plate.
Johnson hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth to bring in Bell and make it 5-0.
Miami commit Jorge Figueroa, the hero in Friday’s semifinal game, drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Carroll’s sixth run.
The Dragons added another run in the top of the fifth on Reagan’s fourth error when the right fielder dropped a high fly ball hit by Stephenson that would’ve ended the inning.
“The kids out-performed everyone," Vucan said. "They wanted it and they earned it. They deserve all the credit.”
Warden (8-1), who signed with Weatherford College, allowed two runs on six hits in six innings. He was voted 6A state MVP.
Stephenson came in relief and recorded the final three outs. Nik Millsap went 2 for 4 from the plate.
“I was just anxious to come out here and get it done for my family, friends and teammates," Warden said. "My change-up was working, it was keeping them off balance and I wanted to keep my pitches low in the zone.”
Reagan (37-8) scored in the seventh on a soft grounder to second and sac-fly to center. Both runs were charged to Warden. The Rattlers left nine runners on base.
“Kyle did a great job with his command," Vucan said. "He’s had two incredible performances back-to-back. He stepped up big time, took the ball and went with it.”
“This means everything," Warden added. "I’ve played with these guys since we were little. What a way to go out senior year.”