The Owensboro Post 9 Bombers won the 2021 American Legion Baseball state championship in convincing fashion on Saturday night — routing Lyon County, 12-1, in five innings in the tournament finale at Graves County High School in Mayfield.
Sharp, focused and efficient throughout what has become a memorable summer, the Bombers improved to 28-4 and will advance to the Great Lakes Regional Tournament Aug. 4-8 in Morgantown, West Virginia.
“Our primary goal since the start of the season was to get a state championship back to Owensboro and continue the legacy of winning American Legion state championships in Owensboro,” Bombers manager Matt Freeman said.
“The kids on this team have been tremendous the entire season and they deserve the credit for what they’ve accomplished — it’s been a great ride and we’re still going.”
Owensboro quickly took control of the contest against Lyon County starter Austin Long and never let up — scoring three times in the first inning and adding six more tallies in the second to secure a commanding 9-0 lead through two innings.
“We knew we had a great pitcher on the mound in Cohl Proctor and scoring all those runs in the first and second innings provided a lot of momentum,” Freeman said. “It helps your pitcher, of course, when you put a lot of runs on the board early, and it increases the confidence of the entire team.”
In the early going, the Bombers got a two-run single from Tanner Klee, as well as run-scoring base hits from Jordan Tolle, who tripled, Dan St. Clair, Garrett Small and Aiden Wells.
Small was 2-for-2 with a double through two innings, with Braxton French and St. Clair each scoring two runs over the same stretch.
Lyon County got on the board with a run in the top of the third inning, but Owensboro got that run back in the bottom of the same inning on a solo homer by Tolle, then added on when St. Clair scored his third run of the game on a passed ball to make it 11-1.
The Bombers added a run in the fourth when Harrison Bowman scored on a passed ball to increase the lead to 12-1.
Tolle finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored to pace a 10-hit attack for the Bombers, who also got two hits from Small.
On the mound, Proctor allowed just one hit over five innings, striking out seven batters.
“Our players are great athletes who love to play the game — they go out every day and give it everything they have,” Freeman said. “We have become such a complete team, cheering for each other and just having so much fun — they’ve just been so great all summer.”
Owensboro dominated its three state tournament foes to the tune of 40-8, having defeated host Mayfield 7-0 on Thursday and Madisonville 21-7 on Friday.