SULPHUR – With a chance to claim a state title, Simpson came up one run shy of bringing home the trophy.
Harrisonburg scored in the top of the seventh in a tie game to defeat the Broncos 4-3 in the Class C State Championship game Friday afternoon at McMurry Park.
With the bases loaded in the top of the last inning, Harrisonburg scored the go-ahead run to take the lead.
In the bottom of the inning, No. 1 Simpson was unable to put a run on the board as its season came to a close.
"It's a great learning experience," Simpson coach Austin Cox said. "For a first-year head coach, it's like a dream to get here. These kids worked their butts off to get here. I'm proud of them, and none of those guys let me down."
The Broncos got on the board in the second inning as Christian Williams scored on a error to make it 1-0.
No. 2 Harrisonburg scored two runs in the top of the third inning on throw down to second base in an attempt to catch a runner stealing and on an error.
In the fifth inning, Harrisonburg scored on another error to increase the lead to 3-1.
"The way I look at it; they scored four, and we gave them three," Cox said. "That could just be the bias in me as a coach. I kind of feel like we earned that game, but the final score is what it is.
The Broncos tied it up in the bottom of the fifth inning with an RBI single by senior Tanner Yates to score Colton Parker and on an RBI double by Williams.
"It was huge," Cox said. "Christian Williams came up in a big spot and got that hit to left center to get a run on the board. This game was a lot about momentum. We scored first and got on. They scored and evened it up, then it shifted a little bit. It was going to be one of those games of whose scores last, and unfortunately, they did it."
Parker went 2-for-3 on the day, while Yates, the lone senior on the squad, went 2-for-4 in his last game at Simpson.
"(Yates) is what Simpson is about," Cox said. "He goes out every day and works his butt off. He's the leader on the field and inside the school. Every kid in that school looks up to him. There's not a guy that doesn't love him. He gives you everything he has every day. That's one thing you never have to worry about with that guy. We're going to miss him tremendously, but he's about to move on to bigger and better things in life than high school sports. That kid has a bright future ahead of him."
The Broncos finish the season 19-11 and with all but one starter returning, will look to make another deep postseason run next year.
"It's time to get to work," Cox said. "We had one senior on the field and we're returning eight guys. We want to get back here next year. That's the goal."