Grant Geppert delivered the game-winning hit with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning Saturday as the Highland Bulldogs captured their second Class 3A state baseball championship since 2008 with a 7-6 victory over Nazareth Academy.
Geppert was the hero after also pitching three innings in relief Saturday, just one day after throwing four innings in the semifinal win over Morgan Park.
The Bulldogs (28-13) won the first metro-east state baseball championship since Gibault captured the 1A title in 2013. The Okawville Rockets finished second last week at the Class 1A state tournament.
Highland, which trailed 3-0 early and 6-4 headed to the sixth, loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh on consecutive singled by Tyler Kimmle, Will Greenwald and Cody Bentlage. Geppert followed with the game-winner off of Nazareth Academy reliever Matt Wilson.
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Nazareth Academy had the bases loaded with one out in the, but the Bulldogs managed to escape the jam. With the bases loaded with one out in the top of the seventh, the infield got a force play at the plate and then third baseman Griffin Welz made an incredible diving stop for the final out.
Highland had several impressive defensive plays Saturday, including diving catches by Greenwald and Bentlage.
Highland’s Andrew Winning was 1-for-4 with a double and four RBIs while Bentlage had three hits and Geppert and Greenwald had two each.
Kimmle (7-2) pitched the seventh to gain the win after Geppert had tossed four relief innings.