Will Lane knew what was at stake and wanted the pressure on his shoulders.
The senior and Ahwatukee Foothills resident threw a complete game to earn Valley Christian an 8-7 victory over Scottsdale Christian in the 2A baseball state championship at Peoria Sports Complex on Saturday night.
The Trojans earned their first baseball banner in their first appearance in the title game.
"These guys talked about it for a couple of years and I tried to stress play good baseball and things will take care of themselves," Valley Christian coach Rick Surls said. "We were just good enough (Saturday)."
Lane, who struck out nine and allowed seven runs on 11 hits, grew tired in the seventh inning. He allowed Scottsdale Christian to plate three runs but struck out Daniel Clark swinging with the tying run on first.
"Lane was coasting through six and we had no backup plan," Surls said. "If he didn't finish it we were going to have do some work in the bottom of the seventh to pull that thing out."
The Eagles frazzled Lane and the Trojans early with three runs in the top of the first.
Scottsdale Christian's Logan Domenico earned a leadoff walk and stole second. Zach Scott bunted for a hit and Logan Gangsei grounded to third but the throw to second sailed into right field, which scored Domenico and moved the runners to second and third.
Lane settled down and got the next two batters to fly out. Then he gutted his way through the middle innings and only allowed a run in the third.
"We jumped up early but gave it right back to them in the first," Scottsdale Christian coach Bill Swift said. "That was the deciding factor, that first inning. We tried to come back like we did (during Friday's semifinal against Yuma Catholic) but it just didn't work."
Scottsdale Christian rallied from two runs down in the seventh against Yuma Catholic to reach the finals, and again looked for the big inning. Brad Winsbury scored Scott on a groundout to short, and John Linamen singled to right off the first baseman's glove to plate Gangsei and earn a 3-0 lead.
"It has been like that almost all year, that first inning has been weird to me," Lane said. "I had a lot of walks but you know what, all of that worked out in the end."
Valley Christian immediately rallied in the bottom of the first with five runs on five hits. The Trojans built an 8-4 lead with a run in the second, third and fifth inning. Leading the way offensively for Valley Christian was Ryan Cooper and Nate Grimm. Cooper went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Grimm had two doubles and two walks.
"I am definitely not going to say I wasn't nervous out there but it all worked out great," Lane said. "I wouldn't let the pitching coach come near me and ask me how I am doing. I said ‘I am finishing this, I am a senior.'"