When Sayre's Cabot Haggin took the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning of Sunday's All "A" region finals against Lexington Christian, his forearm and thumb were cramping so much he wasn't sure he'd be able to finish what he had started.
Led by Haggin's strong pitching, Sayre was beating host LCA 4-3 and was three outs away from winning its first All "A" region title.
Haggin wasn't about to give up the ball, however.
The senior right-hander ran to the dugout, got a drink, and doused his arm and hand with water. He returned to the mound and retired the top of LCA's batting order 1-2-3, and Sayre celebrated its first victory over the Eagles in a decade.
"To finally get this win against them, it's unreal," said Haggin, who gave up five hits, walked five and had 11 strikeouts. "It's a huge deal for Sayre School."
Scott Sutton, in his 13th season as the Spartans head coach, agreed.
"To finally break through and do this is phenomenal," he said. "Especially for our seniors (Haggin, Dom Hall, Griffin Patterson and Spencer Strup), and to be able to put a banner up in the gym.
"It's been a good week."
Besides the win over LCA, Sutton was talking about Sayre's 4-2 victory over district rival Scott County, his alma mater, last Wednesday.
The All "A" region finals were supposed to be played Friday, but rain postponed it until Sunday. For the Spartans, the sun shone bright on their first win over a city team since they beat Bryan Station five years ago.
Sayre jumped on LCA in its first at-bat. Haggin led off the game with a single, and Howard Ball doubled. Hall drove in Haggin with a single, and Ball scored on Strup's groundout.
LCA answered with a run in the bottom of the first. Clay Mossbarger walked, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and came home on Taylor Blair's groundout.
Sayre pushed its lead to 4-1 in the third. The left-handed-hitting Hall slashed a double to center, and Patterson followed with a single. Chase Deppen drove them both in with a two-out single.
"It helps a pitcher a lot to have that cushion early in the game," Haggin said.
LCA scratched out a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, with Aaron Johnson and Mossbarger scoring on groundouts. But the Eagles, who've had problems generating offense all season, could muster no more.
Sayre had a chance to add an insurance run in the top of the seventh when it loaded the bases with one out. But LCA reliever Scout McCamy got out of the jam.
Were the Spartans nervous going into the bottom of the seventh with a one-run lead?
"Not at all," Hall said. "We had all the confidence in the world."
LCA Coach Keith Galloway credited Haggin for "a great pitching job. He's somebody we've admired for years."
While Galloway hoped his Eagles could continue their All "A" dominance, he said he was happy for Sayre and its coach.
"Coach Sutton and I went to school together at UK, and he does a great job. I'm thrilled for them, and we'll rejoice in their opportunity."
Sayre will play the 9th Region champ in the next round of the All "A" playoffs.
Sayre 202 000 0—4 8 1
LCA 100 110 0—3 5 2
Cabot Haggin and Chase Deppen. Joe Duncan, Scout McCamy (6) and Chad Hall. W—Haggin. L—Duncan. 2B—Dom Hall (S), Howard Ball (S), Jeremy Asberry (LCA).
Records—Sayre 9-1; LCA 5-13.