BASEBALL: Brown delivers big performance in title game

May 6—The stage was not too big for Hayden Brown.

The Amber-Pocasset senior wanted to help his team win the Class A state title, and he certainly did that during Saturday's state championship game against top-ranked Tushka in Shawnee. The sixth-ranked Panthers came away with a 7-2 win over the Tigers, and Brown played a key role in the win.

"He just shows up," head coach Cheyenne Graham said after the win. "You throw him a fastball, and he likes it, he's gonna hit it."

The senior got his red-hot performance started early, driving in a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first inning. That was the beginning of a 3-for-3 day at the plate.

Brown drove in five of the team's seven runs and recorded a walk in the win.

"It's amazing. You couldn't ask for a better way to go out," Brown said. "It's the best feeling ever."

Brown has developed a history of stepping up in the state tournament for the Panthers, including against No. 3 Rattan in the quarterfinals. His pitching performance helped Am-Po get past Cashion in the 2023 Class 2A semifinals.

According to Graham, Brown stays true to who he is.

"After not playing yesterday, I just knew he would be the same. He would be the same Hayden," Graham said.

As for Brown, he credited his supporters with the success he has had. They have stuck by him through the ups and downs.

"It goes to my family, my friends and God," Brown said. "They've supported me through everything."

By working hard and being himself, baseball rewarded Brown with a special moment Saturday.

"Baseball is a game of failure, and today it was a success," he said.