ALBIA — For seven innings, Ethan Gray did everything he could on the mound to give Albia a district title against their closest South Central Conference rival Saturday night.
In the end, however, it would be Gray's bat that would give the Blue Demons the win against the Rockets as the SCC provided Class 2A with another extra-inning all-time great district championship battle.
For the second straight year, EBF saw their season end in gut-wrenching walk-off fashion in the district finals to a conference opponent. After losing a 5-4 thriller in nine innings to defending state champ Davis County on their home diamond last year, the Rockets saw a similiar fate occur as Gray shook off a tough-luck no decision despite allowing one hit over seven shutout innings to deliver a game-winning walk-off double in the bottom of the eighth as Hugh Sinclair scored the only run of a 1-0 classic won by the Blue Demons Saturday at Albia's Summer Sports Complex.
"I know I did everything I could out there. Wins and losses personally don't matter. It's whether or not the team gets the win or the loss," Gray said. "I think my record is 4-2 overall this season, so it's not like I've won a lot anyway this year. I did everything I could to give ourselves a chance to win."
Unfortunately for Gray, he ran up against a similiarly great pitching effort by Rocket senior Levi Johnston. On the way to a three-hit shutout thrown over six innings, Johnston retired 13 straight Albia hitters at one point and also had to settle for a tough no-decision.
"You got to give it up to both Ethan and Levi. They both pitched a heck of a game," Albia head coach Boyd Brittan said. "It's a shame either team had to lose that game."