SHAWNEE — As he walked off the field, Evan Anderson looked back at Silo celebrating its Class 2A championship in stunned disbelief.
The Rebels managed just one hit off Anderson but came away with a 3-2 win Saturday afternoon.
“It was just a dogfight,” Silo designated hitter Hunter Jackson said. “We knew what we had to do so we just kept on pushing.”
The championship is Silo's sixth spring title, all since 2002.
“It's the best feeling in the world,” Rebels pitcher Hunter Stephens said. “This is always what I've wanted to do and we just came out here and did it.”
Silo made it happen by grinding across runs against Anderson by taking advantage of walks and errors.
The Rebels (32-5) took the lead for good in the sixth after an error by Pirates first baseman Hunter Pinkston put leadoff hitter Andrew Bolin aboard.
Bolin stole second and then moved to third on a sacrifice before scoring on Kyle Tate's tapper in front of the plate.
“I knew we could hold them if we scored another one,” Bolin said.
As it had been all day, it wasn't easy for Stephens and Silo.
Stephens put two on with one out in the bottom half before working out of the jam. In the seventh, he walked the leadoff hitter before retiring the final three batters — including a strikeout to end the game with Anderson waiting on deck.
“He was incredible,” Bolin said of Stephens. “He gave up nine hits, but whenever he gave up a hit, he wouldn't give up another one. He struggled the fourth through sixth innings, but that's it.”
Dale left 13 runners on base, including two in each of the first six innings.
“Coach said if we didn't hit it, throw it and catch it, we weren't going to win,” said Anderson, who has signed with Ole Miss. “He was right.”
Anderson, pitching in his fifth state championship game, kept Silo's hitters fooled most of the day.
Jackson's fourth-inning single, which drove in the Rebels' first run, was the only hit Silo was able to push across.
But the Rebels were able to manufacture runs by taking advantage of wildness and errors.
Jackson's hit followed back-to-back two-out walks by Evans. An inning later, a leadoff walk came around to score with the help of a passed ball, sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch.
Dale let a chance to score slip by in the first when Taylor Smith roped a hit into the right-field corner with runners on first and second. But Tanner Nelson stopped at third, and Smith was caught in a rundown between first and second. Dale had five runners in scoring position with less than two outs that failed to score.
“We were just the kind of guys that get in the trenches and battle and work,” Silo coach Billy Jack Bowen said. “No flashy guys. We're still really young, so it was good for us to battle through and get a win here.”