French Camp avoided pitching to Griffin Wiggins as long as it could Saturday afternoon. But in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded in a 6-6 ballgame, Wiggins got his chance for Sacred Heart and didn’t pass it up.
The senior connected on an RBI single, sending the Crusaders to a 7-6 win and a 2-0 playoff sweep of the Panthers.
“With the things he [Wiggins] has had to go through the last two years, it’s almost unfair,” Sacred Heart coach Drew Dewease said. “When I talked to him, he said, ‘That’s it. That’s ballgame. I got it.’ I’ve never been more confident in a kid in my whole life. He found a way to do it, and I’m so proud of him.”
It was the team’s first-ever postseason game at the recently dedicated Larry Mixon Field. It was a back-and-forth game between teams that had played a competitive game one, which Sacred Heart took 5-4, the night before. It ended in another Sacred Heart win in exciting, walk-off fashion.
“I think it’s kind of how Larry wanted it to be, honestly,” Dewease said. “I told our kids that we’re built for games like that. With the schedule that we’ve played, we’re built for games like that. That’s a good ball team. They just kept coming and coming.
“And our kids were so dang resilient and so tough. They’re just like Larry. I can’t tell you how proud I am of them.”
Sacred Heart (9-10) advances to the second round of the Class 1A playoffs with the win. And with a sweep in their back pocket, Dewease says the team will carry plenty of confidence and toughness into next week’s series.
“We didn’t end the season real well at Salem. I think it was an opportunity for us to grow up. Last night, in extra innings, we grew up a lot. We just kept coming and coming and coming. And they kept swinging and found a way. That’s what good teams do. These kids, we ain’t got many, but dad-gummit, they’re freaking tough.”