WEST POINT — Oak Hill Academy baseball’s Midsouth Association of Independent Schools Class 4A playoff run began with a blonde revolution, a number of players dying their hair blonde for the postseason.
With two outs in the top of the seventh inning on Thursday against Wayne Academy, the catalyst of the movement, John Leyton Lewis, needed just one out for a state title.
Lewis ran into trouble in the seventh as Oak Hill held on to a 6-5 lead and the Jaguars put two on. But the senior transfer settled down, getting a lineout to right field for a 6-5 win and Oak Hill’s first state title in baseball.
“It worked my nerves up for sure,” Lewis said. “You just have to lock in and trust your guys behind you. You can’t do it all by yourself in baseball. … If a dream season is true, it’s this year.”
Lewis tied up things for Oak Hill (21-9) in the bottom of the third inning with a two-out RBI single, the start of a five-run third for the Raiders.
All six runs on Thursday were scored with two outs.
“They were locked in from the beginning,” Oak Hill head coach John Siary said. “… Usually teams just roll over, but we were scoring runs with two outs. They had good arms out there tonight, but we just put the ball in play. Give them credit.”
In that third inning, following Lewis’ RBI single, Collin Boyd broke open the scoring and sent the Raiders faithful into a frenzy with a two-run double.
Thursday was as packed a house as Oak Hill baseball has hosted in recent years, with fans packed down the first and third base lines, and a large contingency of fans, mostly students, crammed in the beds of pickups.
The noise became deafening after first baseman Smith Chaney laced an RBI single to cap off the frame, giving the Raiders a 5-1 lead, but Wayne clawed back and chipped away.
Lewis was crucial once again, this time on the mound, throwing two innings of relief after starter Ty Harden fell into some trouble with no outs in the fifth inning.
“He’s been doing it all year,” Siary said. “He’s a gamer. There’s a reason why he’s going to East Central CC. He’s a good kid. He’s a really good player.”
Oak Hill encountered some bumps along the road despite taking home a district title to solidify seeding before the postseason.
The Raiders nearly bowed out of the postseason in the North State championship series, trailing Kirk Academy, 1-0, heading to the top of the seventh inning on the road.
Despite adversity, they pulled through, and once that final out was recorded on Thursday night, West Point turned into a city of celebrations, with fans and students pouring out onto the field.
“This is it,” Lewis said. “This is ridiculous. These guys are going to be family for the rest of my life. I will never forget any of these guys, ever. To make history here, it’s pretty dang cool.”
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