For the previous three seasons, Birmingham High senior Donny Wingo watched with envy as Monroe claimed the Mid-Valley League baseball title.
Wednesday, Wingo made sure he didn't walk away from his high school baseball career a member of yet another runner-up team.
Wingo pitched a three-hitter as Birmingham beat Monroe, 5-0, to clinch the league championship and put an end to the Vikings' three-year reign.
"We've been building up to this moment for a long time," said Wingo, a three-year starter.
Birmingham (13-13, 9-7 in league play), which lost its first four league games, has won nine of its last 12 to clinch with one game remaining. Monroe fell to 8-13, 7-9.
"They wanted it more than we did and that's what it came down to," Monroe Coach Kevin Campbell said. "We didn't come to play."
A light rain fell continuously until the late innings and definitely affected Wingo's performance.
"My knuckleball worked pretty good today with the wind and (rain)," said Wingo (4-5) after recording his third complete game.
Meanwhile, the rain cheated Wingo of what should have been his third home run.
With Steve Brown on base and one out, Wingo ripped a shot to center field in the third inning. Wingo began walking to first, expecting the ball to clear the fence 390 feet away. But the drizzle slowed the drive dramatically and the ball hit the fence. Wingo bolted into a sprint and managed to get a run-scoring double.
"I was pretty embarrassed (about walking)," Wingo said. "But I got every part of that ball. I thought it was gone."
Coach Rick Weber concurred: "Normally, if it isn't drizzling, that ball is out of here.'
Monroe ace Joel Zamudio (4-3) allowed two hits (both doubles) and three walks while striking out four in three innings.
Birmingham parlayed two walks and two errors into two runs in the first. The Braves added two in the third on Wingo's double and Pedro Rodriguez's run-scoring grounder.
Birmingham, which had four hits--three for extra bases--made it 5-0 in the fourth when Dan Arnold scored on a sacrifice fly by John Ransom.