State Champions

Ethan Gray

Missouri's 2023 Class 2 state champion Ash Grove Pirates pose as a united team with their newly dyed hair and newly awarded championship trophy. (Photos by Ryan Squibb)

Flanked by teammates, Ash Grove senior Parker Crow holds high the state championship trophy to conclude the ceremony following the 13-3 state title victory Tuesday, May 30 over the Salisbury Panthers

Pirates steal the show, win state championship, remain undefeated
The Ash Grove Pirates baseball team seized the state championship on Tuesday, May 30, after an historic undefeated run on the season. They added one last win to their record finishing a spotless 25-0. The Pirates again mercy ruled their opponent in another of a long line of dominant wins. The Pirates, sporting newly dyed blonde hairdos, only surrendered three runs to their state championship opponent, the Salisbury Panthers. The Pirates scored 13 runs which was enough to end the game in the fifth inning. It was a balanced effort from the Pirates who saw contribution from the entirety of the lineup. The game ended when Nate Trammell flied out to the outfield to score one from third and cement the 10-point advantage needed for the mercy rule.
Pirate Cooper Burks, who has been an electric nine hole hitter for the entirety of the tournament, showed out once again with 4 total RBI's. One of the biggest moments of the Pirates' postseason run came in the championship when he hit a double to centerfield to clear the loaded bases as the stadium erupted with cheer.
The Pirates had faith in their eventual victory from the very beginning, Bryce Davis reportedly told teammates, "We can win every one of these games." As well as repeatedly saying, "We shouldn't lose a single game this year." Both of which turned out to be true. Davis was one of the team's biggest contributors, turning in nine wins as a starting pitcher, as well as making some big plays with his bat. He tallied two RBI's in the state championship game where he tripled into centerfield late. Davis was cited by his teammates Parker Crow and Jon Rollhaus to be their most valuable player. "His pitching brought us a long way," Crow said.
Crow, who has been a vital member of the team for many seasons now, says that the secret to success for Ash Grove this year was simply to remain "loose."
"We were really good at keeping a level head all year," Crow said. "We never got too crazy and we never got too low when things weren't going our way."
According to fellow teammate Rollhaus, this mentality was preached all season. Coach Berrah Brown would often tell his players to "win every pitch and win every inning" drilling home the idea that the team should not linger on a defeat or victory longer than they need to.
First basemen Wyatt Dennis, was described by his teammates to be a missing link. Dennis transferred schools to Ash Grove for his last year of high school and ended up starting at first for a state championship team. Dennis batted second in the order, and has been known to bunt frequently in the tournament, which synergized with speedy lead-off Crow. Wyatt could also pitch when the team needed him, and according to Rollhaus, that's part of what made this team special.
"Our pitching was really good this year," he said "You don't see that on many lineups."
Despite the success the Pirates have displayed, there are no seniors on the roster that plan on playing baseball in college, though Rollhaus hopes to walk-on. And Brock Mooneyham plans on playing in an arena football league over the summer, according to teammates.
The Pirates celebrated their win of the championship game as well as their undefeated season by hoisting the trophy above their heads and posing for the cameras at US Ballpark in Ozark. This is the first state championship in Ash Grove baseball history and only the second time they have ever been to a championship game; they earned a second place finish in 1992. The Pirates also plan on getting championship rings to commemorate their victory, which will feature the baseball diamond and their team slogan.
More rare than a state championship though, was the undefeated season the squad earned. The Pirates are the first baseball team in the state to have an undefeated season since 2008, and only one of 11 teams to ever accomplish the feat statewide.
Although Ash Grove may someday return to the hallowed ground of the state championship diamond, one thing is for sure, no team in any sport, in any state, on any planet, will ever have fewer losses than the 2023 Ash Grove Pirates.


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