With the 3A state championship game tied at three in bottom of the fifth, Verdigris senior Cody Armbrister came to the plate with the bases loaded and ripped a clutch two-RBI double down the left-field line to score Blake Battenfield and Denahm Morton.
The double gave the Cardinals the lead, and a second consecutive state championship, as they defeated Metro Christian 6-5 on Saturday night at Edmond Memorial.
For most players, the pressure of that moment would have been enormous, but for Armbrister it was a familiar situation.
“I did the exact same thing in the state finals last year to help us win,” Armbrister said of the two-RBI double. “It feels really great to help the team out in that sort of situation, so I was glad when I got the opportunity to come to the plate and do it again this year.”
Verdigris coach Brian Keith wasn't surprised to see his senior catcher come through with a big hit.
“It's ironic because he did it last year, but we expected him to come through in clutch situations,” said Keith.
Coming into the state tournament Keith wasn't as certain about what to expect from his pitching staff.
“I told our pitchers after regionals that once we get to state it would take a collective effort to win it,” said Keith. “They certainly did that this weekend, finding a way to gut out wins for us on the mound.”
That's exactly what they did on Saturday night as Verdigris used four pitchers through five innings before turning to ace Blake Battenfield, who closed out the final two innings for the save.