Francis Howell Claims Class 5 Championship

By Jack Witthaus
Prep Baseball Report Writer

In the top of the fifth inning, Francis Howell, hanging on to a narrow 4-3 lead, intentionally walked two batters, loading the bases for CBC. 

That didn’t faze Vikings starting pitcher Austin Southmayd.

“I started to get a little nerve-racked,” Southmayd said. “But (coach Tony Perkins) had faith in me.” 

Southmayd pitched out of the jam, getting Rob Lang to fly out to center, and went on to toss a complete game as Francis Howell defeated CBC, 7-3, for the Class Five State title. The State crown was Howell’s first since 2011 and its third overall. 

“They worked so hard … It’s fantastic,” Tony Perkins said. “It’s so rewarding and surreal. After you win one, you feel so calm. I personally feel so calm. It’s like, ‘Finally.’ Everything happened that needed to happen.” 

In the first inning, the Vikings started the game hot, sending up eight batters and plating four runs. Calvin Munson singled and scored Zac Perkins, who led off the inning with a chop single over the third baseman’s head. 

With two on and one out, Nic Perkins demolished a pitch into the left field stands for a three-run homerun. 

“It was a full count so I knew he had to come at me and he (threw) a fastball down the middle,” Nic Perkins said. “I saw it and I just turned on it.” 

Nic and Zac Perkins and Munson all paced the Vikings with two-hit performances at the dish.  

CBC, though, tried to climb out of the deficit in the third inning. No. 9 hitter Jaelen Gilky and No. 1 hitter Joe Schrimpf consecutively walked with one out. Then, Justin Paulsen bashed a three-run homer that landed in CBC’s bullpen to narrow the Howell lead, 4-3. 

Southmayd quieted CBC’s bats after that, scattering three hits in the final four innings. On the day, Southmayd gave up six hits and three runs, striking out three. 

“I lived on my fastball for most of the game,” Southmayd said. “Once (I gave up that homerun), I started throwing more off-speed (pitches). That homerun was a wakeup call and my team rallied behind me.” 

Francis Howell continued to widen the lead in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Munson reached base on a ground ball to left field. Mitch Larkin drove him home on a single to center after Munson reached second on a fielder’s choice. 

The Vikings scored two runs in the next inning. Zac Perkins reached second on a double to deep left field. Then, Eli Dilday crushed a towering, two-run homer to right field off reliever Collin Burnham, sealing the score, 7-3. 

CBC’s starter Rob Plohr was saddled with the loss after going 4.2 innings, giving up seven hits and five earned runs. In the 93-pitch outing, Plohr struck out three and walked two.

“It was fun,” junior Nic Perkins said of the State title, his second as a Viking. “Everyone got close together and became friends and we’ll have this memory for the rest of our lives.”