The Ellington Whippets made history Friday. They won the Class 2 State Baseball Tournament in O’Fallon. This was the rst time thatan Ellington team in any sport had advanced to the Final Four. The community welcomed the team home Friday evening by lining the streets with fans. Friends Pickin’ played music. Once the bus arrived at the school, the team climbed on top of the school bus and waved to their fans.
Ellington earned the title, playing a nearly perfect game and shutting out Seymour 9-0. When it was time to receive their trophy, it was presented by Southern Reynolds County High School Graduate and former Missouri State High School Activities Association board member Paul Sulser.
Ellington nished the season with a 29-1 record. The team’s only loss was to a Class 4 Ken- nett.
Winning a state championship has been the team’s goal all season.
“I knew we had the talent to get the job done, and I knew if we just focused and grinded every day and played our brand, I knew it was a possible outcome. And kudos to them,” said Hime,who nished his eighth season as the team’shead coach.
Hime, a standout high school baseball player, reached the Final Four as a player but his team was unable to win the title. According to Hime, being at the championship as a coach is much sweeter.
Kaleb Richards picked up the win on the mound for the Whippets, or as the MSHSAA broadcaster called them, “the Ellington Whippers.” He allowed four hits, striking out seven with no walks.
Ellington had as good of a start as it could’ve hoped for. Will Copeland hit a leadoff ground- rule double. Nolan Heady singled through the left side to advance Copeland to third and put runners on the the corners. Kaleb Richards walked to load the bases. Cameron Brewer walked to score Ellington’s first run of the game.Ellington could not bring home any more runs that inning, stranding three runners on base.
The Whippets did not score again until thefth. Copeland again got things started with aleadoff single. Heady followed with a single, and Richards drove in Copeland for one of his two RBIs. Seymour intently walked Brewer.
With the bases loaded, Dilon Buckner camethrough with a two-run double into center eld,effectively blowing the game open.
Buckner was huge for the Whippets in their win. After dealing with a few errors in the semi-nals, the defense settled in and played error-free baseball with the help of six assists from Buckner, who elded everything that came hisway, including the game-ending grounder.
In the sixth inning, Ellington scored three more runs. Copeland reached rst base on athrowing error and then advanced to second on an error. Heady grounded out to advance Copeland to third. Richards doubled down the lefteld line to score Copeland. Brewer walked and Tyler Hackworth came in to pinch run for him; Richards advanced to third on a wild pitch. Hackworth stole second. Dilon Buckner walked and Garrett Tucker pinch ran for him. JamesMorris reached on a elding error and then advanced to second on the error. This error allowed Richards and Hackworth to score.
At this point, Ellington fans could feel that victory was immenent. Fans began doing the wave.
Ellington added a run in the seventh inning. Tucker Dement was hit by pitch and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Copelandied out to right eld and Dement advanced tothird. He later scored on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Richardsstruck out the rst two batters of the inning. Once the game ended when a batter grounded to Buckner at third. He threw the ball to Ely Crocker for the final put-out of the game. TheWhippets rushed to near the dugout for a dog- pile to celebrate the win.
To reach the title game, Ellington beat Skyline. It took two tries over a period of two days to get the game played.
Ellington played a half of a inning Wednesday when officials called a weather delayed
and evacuated the stadium. Fans huddled under cover an hour for the game to resume. After theweather delay, the game resumed brie y. Mid-way through the second inning, officials calledthe game due to weather and postponed action until Thursday morning.
The playing surface also took an adjustment period for the Whippets. CarSheild eld is a turf surface. Balls had a little extra bounce. During the adjustment period, Ellington committed four errors.
Cameron Brewer pitched the entire game for Ellington. He struck out 12 in a complete-game pitching performance. He had five RBIs with a home run and a double to lead the Whippets toan 11-6 win.