MURFREESBORO — Battle Ground Academy has come close to winning a state baseball championship several times in years past.
Thursday afternoon, the Wildcats finally knocked down the door with a 5-3 victory over Memphis University School in the BlueCross Spring Fling DII-AA finals at Middle Tennessee State.
The Wildcats scored 24 runs during their three-game run through the tournament, which included 33 hits and two home runs (by Ross Grosvenor and Cam Hoge) in wins over MUS, Baylor and MUS again.
Counting 10-2 and 14-2 romps in a two-game sweep over rival Montgomery Bell Academy in last week's regionals, BGA scored 48 runs over its final five games.
"It seemed we had that extra edge,'' coach Brad Myers said. "This was a great group. And I think this (championship) was for all those guys who came close in years before. Each team is special.''
BGA (29-12) was making its seventh state tourney appearance. The Wildcats finished runner-up to Baylor in 2006 but rewarded Myers, now in his 19th season, with his first crown.
The Wildcats scored four runs on five hits started by a walk by Jimmy Redovian and capped by a two-run double by Grosvenor. Redovian had an RBI single in the fourth, which drove in the Wildcats' final run.
"Coach moved me up to leadoff from No. 3, and it's worked out great,'' Redovian, a Wake Forest signee, said. “I'm seeing a lot more fastballs than off speed pitches than before.
“To go out like this as a senior is awesome.”
Redovian, Michael Smith, C.J. Beathard and Hoge all had two hits in support of pitchers Daniel Isaacs, Casey Pope and Beathard. Pope pitched four innings of one-hit relief.
"I wanted my team to depend on me, whether it's closing or any role,'' Pope, who orchestrated a Gatorade shower on Myers, said. "This was really a special team. I wanted to finish the game, but C.J. came in and did the job.''
MUS (30-9) didn't have a hit until Holt Perdzock's triple in the sixth. The Owls scored twice in the seventh before Beathard ended the game with a strikeout as the BGA dugout dog-piled at the pitchers' mound.
• Hitless until the sixth, Goodpasture relied on small ball and Wes Demirian's three-hitter to fashion a 3-0 win over Pigeon Forge in the AA winners bracket finals at Blackman High, eliminating the Tigers.
In the sixth, Conner Crocker reached on an error, then sophomore Alex Junior beat out a bunt, the Cougars first hit. Caleb Wilson bunted, and the ball was thrown into right field, which allowed two runs to score. Carter Wiseman then singled in the third run.
"I was just trying to get on, get something going,'' Wilson said. "Then I saw the ball go into rightfield, and I just kept running.''
Junior added: "I was just trying to sacrifice, trying to get Wes a run, because he pitched great.''
It all left coach Richie Estep smiling.
"Both pitchers were outstanding,” he said. “I just hope we can keep it going.''
Goodpasture (37-3-1) meets Spring Hill at 2 p.m. Friday at MTSU in the championship game. The Raiders eliminated Smith County 12-1 in the other bracket.
• University School of Nashville gained two berths in Division II-A finals — senior Michael King in singles and 2009 champions Sathvik Reddy and Michael Stephanides, who are also seniors, in doubles.
Those matches are set for 11 a.m. Friday Old Fort Park.
• Montgomery Bell Academy also qualified senior Palmer Campbell in singles and the doubles team of Mark Lowe and Andrew Karpos for the Division II-AA championship matches (11 a.m. Friday).
Campbell will play Walker Simms of Memphis University School for the title.
• Ravenwood junior Sean Karl landed in the boys Class AAA singles final where he will attempt to win a third straight championship.
• Christ Presbyterian Academy junior Lucas Spickard reached the Class A/AA singles final with a pair of straight-set wins.
• Pinch runner Maddie Woodis scored on an error in the bottom of the eighth as Davidson Academy (32-10) earned a spot in the Division II-A championship round — and eliminated Donelson Christian Academy — 4-3.
Ashton Williams’ two-out single dove in a run and forced extra innings as DCA (35-9) scored twice in the top of the seventh.
Shannon Rowe led off the bottom of the eighth with a single, and Woodis was inserted to run for her. Woodis went to second on a sacrifice and scored on DCA’s fourth error of the contest.
Davidson must win two games against University School of Jackson to claim the title.
• James Smith forced overtime with a goal in the 78th minute, but Franklin Road Academy eventually lost 3-2 to Knoxville Webb in the Division II-A championship game.
FRA never led but tied it twice in the second half. Poom Sripongtanakul made it 1-1 shortly after halftime, and Smith’s goal made it 2-2.
• Father Ryan surrendered a goal in the opening minutes and lost 1-0 to Baylor in the Division II-AA championship game.
Track and field
• Martin Luther King did not have a single individual champion but one three of four relays and easily captured its third straight Class A/AA girls championship.
MLK finished with 105 points, well ahead of runner-up David Lipscomb, which got victories from Barbara Ball in the 800 and 1,600-meter runs.
• Sophomore Abbie Whitehurst, in in the 200, was Brentwood Academy’s only individual champion, but BA outscored Girls Prep 134-112 and claimed the Division II girls championship.
• Janel Pate won the Class AAA 100 and 200-meter dashes and led Hillsboro’s girls to a third-place finish.