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Class 2A: Lincoln County cruises to fourth straight state crown

Make it four in a row for the Lincoln County Lynx.

Junior Mason Thornock went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and drove in three runs as the Lynx routed The Meadows, 9-1, to claim the Lynx’s fourth straight Class 2A state baseball championship at The Meadows.

“A four-peat, feels amazing,” Thornock said. “I couldn’t do it without my team. Throughout the whole season, they were just great, making plays, being a team and being family, which is nice.”

Senior right-hander McKinley O’Connor held the Mustangs to one unearned run on five hits over 5⅓ innings to pick up the win. Senior Alex Vincent threw 1⅔ innings, striking out three, to earn the save.

“It feels normal now honestly,” O’Connor said. “My freshman year it was all tears. We did something that was unheard of at our school, and it just kept clicking year after year. This year, I knew we had it. Our skill level is too good.

“Over the years we’ve gotten better because we started as a young group of kids starting on the varsity team. So, over the years we’ve progressed better and better each year.”

Lincoln County coach Raymond Wadsworth was choking up, trying unsuccessfully to fight back tears as he handed each player their championship medal and hugged each member of his team.

“It feels good, it feels amazing,” Wadsworth said. “It’s almost surreal for a program to do as well as we’ve done for as long as we’ve done. It’s pretty special.”

The Lynx (30-2) got off to a slow start against the Mustangs (21-9), struggling against Davidson Rufty’s knuckleball.

Thornock’s RBI double in the bottom of the third inning started the scoring. Dean Ottley led off the fourth inning with a ground-rule double, and eventually scored on an error to push the Lynx lead to 2-0.

“I was just trying to stay back on the ball, let it travel and hit it up the middle,” Thornock said.

The Meadows answered in the fifth inning. Sam Kaplan, a Cornell commit, drew a leadoff walk and scored on a fielding error to cut Lincoln County’s lead to 2-1.

The Lynx added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth when Thornock singled and drove in his second run of the game.

Lincoln County erupted for six runs in the sixth, finally solving Rufty’s knuckleball.

“Baseball’s about making adjustments,” Wadsworth said. “We told the guys at the beginning of the game and all throughout the game to make the adjustments. … We kept reminding them, and they finally clicked.”

Jerry Appelhans was 2-for-3 for The Meadows.

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