SHAWNEE — Berryhill senior Zach Jackson pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout in the Chiefs' quarterfinal win Thursday.
Despite a short, one-day rest for his right arm, nothing could've kept the Arkansas signee from starting Saturday's state title game.
“We've been here twice in the finals and lost both times, so there wasn't any risk in it this time,” Jackson said. “If that means I'll be a little bit sore tomorrow, that's completely fine with me. There was no way we were letting this one go.”
Jackson tossed his second complete game in three days Saturday as Berryhill claimed the Class 4A state championship in a 3-1 win over Plainview.
Berryhill's baseball title is its second in school history. The first came in 2007.
The Chiefs reached state championship games in 2010 and 2012, but came up short each time.
“It is the worst feeling in the world walking away from here and seeing someone else as the state champion,” Jackson said.
This time, Jackson finally experienced the other side of a post-championship game trophy presentation.
With the game tied at 1 in the bottom of the second inning, Berryhill's Justin Jackson scored from third with two outs when Plainview right fielder Jordan Rickets dropped a routine fly ball.
The Chiefs (36-5) added their third and final run a few minutes later on an errant pickoff attempt at first base.
Still, Berryhill knew from watching the state tournament's first two days that Plainview was perfectly capable of a late rally.
The Indians (33-7) won a 10-inning, 2-1 battle with Catoosa in the quarterfinals, then scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally past Byng in a 4-3 semifinal win.
“Our guys knew, even going into the seventh inning, they've had two huge comebacks both days,” said Berryhill coach Brian Hailey. “Our hats off to them. They had a great run, great team.”
Jackson completed a stellar high-school career with a gutsy state tournament run, and now moves on to his college career at Arkansas. He signed with the Razorbacks in November.
“This was an awesome way to go out, but I'm excited for (Arkansas),” Jackson said. “I fell in love with the campus down there, I couldn't ask to go anywhere better.”
Hailey added, “He's a special player. He's a once-in-a-lifetime player. He's still got better days ahead of him; I promise you.”