Colby Price went the distance, and his offense gave him just enough run support as the TCA Middle School Conquerors won the 2019 Independent Middle School Conference championship Monday night with a 2-1 victory over the Eagles from the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
Price pitched all seven innings, allowing one earned run on eight hits. He walked only one man and struck out two, including the final batter he faced.
In the top of the seventh, the Eagles put the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base when Alex Shalley and Christian McGarrity both singled after Price got the first two men out. Chase Buchanan got behind 1-2, fouled off some tough pitches, and worked the count full. Price reached back and got the hitter to swing and miss to end the at bat, the scoring threat, and the game.
Price also worked his way out of trouble in the sixth. With a 2-1 lead after Episcopal's Tommy Brice drove in a Shalley with a ground-ball for an error, the Eagles kept the bases loaded with one out. McGarrity walked, and Buchanan singled after Shalley's lead-off base hit. Brice's RBI came after a popup for an out. Price then struck out one and induced a fly ball to center-fielder Miles Burris to escape the tight jam.
Burris drove in Trinity's first run with a base hit in the bottom of the fourth. Trinity got the first two runners aboard (Price, Mason Davis) on errors, and Burris singled home Price for the game's first run. Alijah Haynes followed with his own RBI single to score Davis and give the Conquerors a 2-0. Reliever Camden Hardy then entered and got a line-drive double play on a bunt attempt to end the inning.
Burris made a diving catch in center field in the third, and the Conquerors' defense turned two double plays. Isaac Newman and Price had back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fifth.
Brice allowed two unearned runs on two hits, one walk, and two strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings pitched for Episcopal, and Hardy was even stingier, allowing only two hits, one walk, and one strikeout -- and nothing else -- in 1 1/3 innings.
The Conquerors have now won three IMSC titles in the past four years, and as a number of the players move up to junior varsity next year, Coach Danny English will have a chance to do it again with a new core in 2020.
NOTE: Trinity's Gage Denby and Landon Moore were honored before the game for making the 2019 IMSC All-Conference roster.