St. Andrew’s baseball wins state title

St. Andrew’s baseball wins state title


Coach Mark Fanning just finished his 29th year as baseball coach at St. Andrew’s with a state championship title, a goal his 11 seniors, including his son Rolen, had been working on their entire athletic career.

“To go out champions,” Fanning said.”I don’t think it could be any sweeter for those 11 seniors.”

Senior catcher Blake Bell said, “I could not have drawn it up any better myself.”

“I don’t think I could have asked for anything better,” Rolen Fanning, who plays centerfield, said.

St. Andrew’s baseball finished finishes 32-7 on the season and 8-0 in district play. On May 25, at Trustmark Park when the Saints took the MHSAA Class 2A 2024 State Championship with a game three 9-4 win over the East Union Urchins who were looking for their third 2A championship in as many years.

St. Andrew’s last won it all in 2018.

Bell said he was excited but after the dog pile he was caught up in a whirlwind of the awards ceremony, picture-taking and hand-shaking.

The full force of the win still had not hit him, Bell said, until he got on the bus. Bell was making his way back to his seat and he looked down and saw the trophy in Walker Van Meter’s lap.

“That’s when it hit me,” Bell said. “We had done it.”

Coach Fanning described his team as “experienced” and “capable.”

“It doesn’t always work out,” Coach Fanning said. “You need a good team but you also have to get some breaks along the way. A lot has to come together.”

He said his team’s “it factor” was their resiliency.

In late February, the Saints were 1-3 and were not sure what the future of their season held but a seven-game win streak put some wind in their sails and showed the Saints what they were capable of.

“They found a way to win,” Coach Fanning said. “They would not quit and refused to lose.”

“We kept pursuing our goals until the end,” Rolen Fanning added.

It was a hard fought series against the Urchins but a full crowd of Saints at Trustmark Park helped them shake off a 5-0 game one loss and secure a 5-0 win in game two.

“Our section was packed with people,” Rolen Fanning said.

Coach Fanning said he was happy the St. Andrew’s fans made such a strong showing to “acknowledge the work” the boys had put in all season.

Rolen said the crowd helped punctuate their win.

“It was a great feeling,” Rolen Fanning said. “It was not like just another game.”

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