By Regan Edwards
Glenbrook School has always had a very solid baseball team, winning state in 2012 and also playing for the title two more years in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Being eliminated from the playoffs every year since and going through coaching changes has been tough on the program.
This year’s team was coached by Tony Sanders and led by Jackson Powell, a senior shortstop, outfielder and pitcher from Minden who has been a Glenbook student since kindergarten. With everybody back from the Covid-shortened 2020 season, the Apaches were excited and determined to capture a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools title.
“This was a championship or bust season for us,” said Powell.
It certainly wasn’t a bust. The Apaches ignited a state championship celebration on their homefield Saturday afternoon with a dominating victory to cap a 23-7 season.
Glenbrook ramped up its non-district schedule by playing powerhouse teams from Texas, such as Marshall and Carthage, winning both games on their way to a runner-up finish in their first regular-season tournament.
The Apaches succeeded against a pretty tough schedule. Their district foes were Claiborne Academy, who made it to the third round of the playoffs, Union Christian Academy, and Providence Classical Academy. Glenbrook went undefeated in district play while winning the 4-2A championship.
They earned a first-round playoff bye, then faced a feisty Manchester Academy team who jumped out on the Apaches in the first game, but Glenbrook was able to bounce back winning the next two to survive and advance. In the third round, the Apaches followed the same path against Discovery Christian. After losing the first game, they won the next two and moved forward.
In the South State Championship series, Glenbrook put away St. Joseph’s Academy by winning both games easily to reach the state finals.
Going into the series versus Tunica Academy, the Apaches were confident they would bring the “Blue” trophy back to Minden. The first game last Wednesday was going smooth for visiting Glenbrook until the sixth inning. Trailing 9-1 the Blue Devils began a comeback, getting as close as 9-7.
In the bottom of the seventh with one out, Sanders called in Powell to close the game. With the bases loaded and one out Powell found himself in a bit of a hole, but was able to post two strikeouts to bring the series back to Minden needing to win just once more.
Saluting the past champions last Friday afternoon, the Apaches honored the 2012 team with former coach Jonathan Hardy throwing out the first pitch. With the bleachers packed, the longtime booster and very loyal Apache fan John Madden quickly got the football bleachers brought over for the overflow crowd. The foul line fences were lined with fans in golf carts and other ATV’s.
“I have never seen a Glenbrook baseball game with that many fans. The atmosphere was amazing and the whole town was loaded with signs for us,” said Powell, who was chosen to play in the MAIS All Star Baseball Game scheduled for Monday. “It just felt really great being able to leave my mark on the school I hold near and dear to my heart.”
With the home field advantage it seemed inevitable Glenbrook would prevail. They did it in overwhelming fashion, winning 18-3. Second baseman Turner McClelland piled up six RBI on a 3-for-4 afternoon including a double. Catcher Landry Powell doubled twice, centerfielder Maddox Mandino tripled while Hayden Harmon, the winning pitcher, had a double as the Apaches piled up 16 hits.
The Apaches were anchored by a phenomenal pitching performance from Harmon, giving up just one hit and walking a couple on his way to a complete game.
“Never have I played with a group of guys that had this much unselfishness. Everybody was super supportive throughout the year no matter who did what,” said Powell, who is headed to Louisiana College on a football scholarship. “There was always a dugout full of very loyal teammates and friends.”
As of Saturday, that dugout was filled with 2021 state champions.
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