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The King’s Academy beats Leigh

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SAN JOSE – With the lights at their brightest and the stakes at their highest late on Friday night, Sean DeBoard rose to the occasion during Central Coast Section Division II title game’s seventh inning and delivered the biggest hit of The King’s Academy’s season. 

With two outs on the top of the seventh-inning scoreboard and the bases loaded, DeBoard unloaded on the first pitch he saw, mashing the ball into center field on a line drive and driving in two runs to give TKA a 4-2 lead it would not relinquish.  

“Oh my goodness I can’t even put it into words,” DeBoard said, “My head is shaking all over the place. That was so much fun!”

The Kings Academy's Sean DeBoard (7) and The Kings Academy's Toby Trotter (23) celebrate at the end of the sixth inning against Leigh in the CCS Division II championship at the Excite Ballpark in San Jose, Calif., Friday, May 24, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
The Kings Academy’s Sean DeBoard (7) and The Kings Academy’s Toby Trotter (23) celebrate at the end of the sixth inning against Leigh in the CCS Division II championship at the Excite Ballpark in San Jose, Calif., Friday, May 24, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

The biggest single of DeBoard’s high school career completed a comeback that was six innings in the making for the Sunnyvale school at Excite Ballpark in San Jose. 

Leigh jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Lance Takamura doubled in Dylan Christian and Ollie Obenour. 

TKA pitcher Toby Trotter looked shaky on the minor league mound, but he knew nothing was amiss. 

“It just sorta happened, and I felt good no matter what had happened,” Trotter said. “So I knew that if I just came out and got ahead in counts, I was going to be fine.”

Trotter’s assessment was proven correct after he went all seven innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight. 

The night ended with the TKA portion of the Excite Ballpark crowd chanting “Toooh-beeee Traaaah-terrrrrrr” as he hoisted the championship trophy. 

“It feels amazing, but the win is all that matters, and it was a team win,” a humble Trotter said when asked about the chants. “Sean DeBoard, that hit he had was special.”

The Kings Academy's Toby Trotter (23) pitches in the third inning against Leigh in the CCS Division II championship at the Excite Ballpark in San Jose, Calif., Friday, May 24, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
The Kings Academy’s Toby Trotter (23) pitches in the third inning against Leigh in the CCS Division II championship at the Excite Ballpark in San Jose, Calif., Friday, May 24, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

DeBoard wasn’t the only TKA player to come up big at the plate late in the championship bout. 

TKA teammate Ethan Johnson had tied the game in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI triple into left field. 

After seeing their runner at third base get caught up in a rundown, the Longhorns did not get another player in scoring position, which left the door open for TKA to come back.

It was a disappointing way to conclude what had been a phenomenal season for Leigh (19-9). 

After winning the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division title, the top-seeded Longhorns beat Menlo-Atherton 5-2 and then beat Westmont 4-3 on a walk-off single by Takamura to reach the title game.

Leigh starter Glanville threw four innings and allowed just one earned run during a quality start.

“It’s hard to get here, and it’s hard to grind every day,” Leigh coach Drew Marino said. “I’m proud of this group and the work they put in to get here.”

The King’s Academy (18-10-1) had a tough path to the title game, going on the road as the No. 7 seed and defeating St. Francis-Watsonville 16-4 and Palo Alto 8-3 to get to Excite Ballpark.

So after overcoming hostile environments and circumstances all postseason, it was only fitting that TKA close out the win by relying on its steady pitcher to strike out the side in the bottom of the seventh and clinch both a section title and a spot in NorCal play. 

“These guys never back down, and they never give up,” DeBoard said.

The Kings Academy celebrates after winning against Leigh in the CCS Division II championship at the Excite Ballpark in San Jose, Calif., Friday, May 24, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
The Kings Academy celebrates after winning against Leigh in the CCS Division II championship at the Excite Ballpark in San Jose, Calif., Friday, May 24, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 



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