Carroll baseball coach Charlie Ebright offered a bit of hindsight Friday night.
"It's hard to say it was a great season right now," he said. "But I told them, 'These second-place trophies suck, but when you come back for your 10-year reunion, you'll look at it and smile.' "
The Eagles lost 7-2 to Topeka Seaman in the Class 5A state championship game at Eck Stadium. It was the second time in the past six years Carroll lost to the Vikings in the last game of the Kansas high school season.
No one in the lineups were on the field for the 2013 state championship game, but after Seaman's win, the players held up their hands with eight fingers up to signify the Vikings' eighth state title. It was a special tribute to coach Steve Bushnell.
But the Carroll seniors carried the tradition, too. The class of 2018 went 75-15 in its high school career with three trips to the state playoffs. The seniors didn't win a state championship, but they put in the work, Ebright said.
"It's heartbreaking," he said. "I just wanted to reassure them that I loved them and that I appreciated their effort tonight and all season."
- Catcher Tyler Alverson
- Pitcher Jacob Chistopherson
- Outfielder Blake Freeman
- Pitcher Jordan Haffner
- Catcher Trey Kobler
- Outfielder RJ Lara
- Pitcher Jace Nedbalek
- Infielder AJ Peters
- Third baseman Jadyn St. Vrain
- First baseman Skyler Stuckey
Seaman had to scrap to win the title, despite the final score.
The Vikings scored back-to-back walk-off victories in the regional final and state quarterfinals. They seemed to be the team of destiny. Bushnell said after this season, he believes in the baseball gods.
Seaman made plays in key moments. Carroll left 10 runners on base, including squandering a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the third down 4-1.
The Vikings hit three doubles, stole four bases and had the 5A tournament's only home run, a three-run blast from Sam Payne that gave Seaman a four-run lead.
Ebright said the Carroll/Seaman series started in the early 2000s. Friday was just another chapter.
"It's a great rivalry," Ebright said. "We've got a lot of respect for them. They do things the right way, and we like to think we do the same thing. Hats off, they played better tonight."