Junior shortstop Andrew Knell had a premonition.
"There was a feeling around our dugout that everyone just knew we were going to win. Everyone just felt it,'' Knell said just after Christ Presbyterian Academy thumped Lipscomb Academy 7-1 in the District 10-AA championship baseball game Thursday night.
"There was just a love of team, a real togetherness,” he added
After he struck out in his first two at-bats, Knell hit two-run triple to right in a decisive six-run fourth inning. He also singled and scored on a double steal as CPA (26-11) tacked on a run in the seventh in the showdown at Shelby Park.
"Pitching, defense, hitting, we had all, and I hope it will carry us through the region tournament,'' he said.
Lipscomb took a 1-0 lead in the third when Carson Chaffin scored on a hustle play, scoring from second on a hit by Alex Miller to deep second base.
In the fourth, the bottom of CPA’s order came through thanks mainly to a key bunt by Payton Allen.
The top of the Lions order did the rest. Leadoff batter Seth Thomas had an RBI single, Knell's triple drove in two more, and Houston Nichols capped the explosion with a sacrifice fly.
The first six batters reached base, and all six scored as the Lipscomb defense crumbled with two errors and a wild pitch on a third strike.
It was plenty for winning pitcher Brandon Jean, who allowed just one hit through five innings and improved to 9-3. Carson Shrode finished up with two shutout innings as the duo allowed Lipscomb just three hits.
CPA wound up 3-0 against Lipscomb this season after a pair of 2-1 victories.
Jean and Miller, Lipscomb’s starting pitcher, had good duel going until the fateful fourth. Miller allowed six hits, three in the big inning.
"This feels so good, I am so proud of my teammates who played so well behind me,'' Jean, a right-hander and Lincoln Memorial University signee, said. "I was able to place my pitches where I wanted them and didn't get too high in the pitch count. We hadn't won district since my freshman year, so this was really special.''
Lipscomb won the past two district titles, including a 12-10 slugfest over CPA last year, which sent the Lions home.
"I am really proud of all these guys, it seemed like everyone contributed,'' sixth-year CPA coach Larry Nesbitt said.
Nesbitt remembers the 2010 championship game well.
"We won on a walk-off homer by Clayton Nichols and it was against Lipscomb,'' he said.
That season came to crashing halt the following Monday with a loss to White House in the Region 5-AA tournament.
"We got no-hit by (White House pitcher) Aussie Light, and he also hit a home run,'' Nesbitt said.
The Lions will host White House again, 4:30 p.m. Monday, in the Region 5-AA semifinals. Lipscomb visits Goodpasture.
• Softball: Overton added the District 12-AAA softball title to the baseball crown the school won Wednesday with a 12-8 win over McGavock in the finals. Also, Lipscomb clipped Hume-Fogg 6-5 in the 10-AA final.
• Soccer: Overton edged Antioch 3-2 to win the 12-AAA crown at Hillwood High. CPA blanked Lipscomb 2-0 in the 10-AA final.