Video: How did he catch this?
See Jake Alston of Sterling (Ill.) make an impossible looking catch.
It took 12 months, but the Deer Park baseball program avenged a shocking end to the 2016 season in the best imaginable fashion — celebrating a UIL Class 6A state championship with a dogpile of delirious players. Deer Park, in business-like manner, disposed of Reagan (San Antonio) 7-2 in the title game Saturday at Round Rock's Dell Diamond.
That playing field was where it appeared Deer Park was headed a year ago when it took a 36-1 record and No. 1 ranking into the Region III best-of-3 series against Langham Creek (Houston). Deer Park took the opener 9-0 only to be swept in two straight the following day by scores of 3-2 and 4-0. A team that only lost one game in over three months had lost two in one day, ending the season one win shy of the UIL state tournament.
Even in seasons when Deer Park reached the Final Four, fate has not been kind.
The last time Deer Park reached the state tournament in 1990, a left-hander named Andy Pettitte was the winning pitcher in the state semifinal. The next night in the championship game Deer Park took a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh only to see the title go to Duncanville on a two-run home run. Two other state tournament appearances in 1964 and 1975 did not net titles, either.
This time was different, though. After edging Carroll (Southlake) 3-2 in a state semifinal, Deer Park was at last poised to bring home the title once and for all.
In other classifications, Abilene Cooper (Abilene) captured its second consecutive state crown in 4A.
Grapevine, Class 5A state champion a year ago, had a chance for two in a row as well, but could not get past Port Neches-Groves (Port Neches) in the title game.
Here is a look at last week's 2017 UIL state baseball title games:
Abbott 11, Fayetteville 7: Weston Cantrell
and Brent Mynar
each contributed three hits and three RBIs to the cause for Abbott (29-3-1) in its second state tournament qualification. A six-run third gave Abbott an early cushion, but the lead was trimmed to one run after six innings. Abbott scored three in the seventh.
Fayetteville (14-13), making its sixth state appearance, received three hits from Braden Rohde
and two each from Reid Kubala
, Damon Gerik
and Cole Mau
: MVP Brent Mynar, Sr., Abbott; P Hunter Pope
, Jr., Abbott; C Damon Gerik, Jr., Fayetteville; 1B Trace Richey
, Jr., Borden County (Gail)
; 2B Lane Fritsch
, So., Fayetteville; 3B Matthew Pevehouse
, Fr., Abbott; SS Payton Hemmitt
, Sr., Fayetteville; OF Weston Cantrell, Jr., Abbott; OF Braden Rohde, Jr., Fayetteville; OF Steven Carillo
, Sr., Borden County; Util. Gabe Nelson
, So., Union Hill (Gilmer)
Muenster 6, Big Sandy (Dallardsville) 2:
The Hornets (33-2) scored four runs in the third inning to snap a 1-all tie with the key hit a two-run triple by Parker McGrew
. Blayne Jones
had two hits, drove in two and improved his pitching record to 8-0. He allowed two earned runs in six innings before Sawyer Sanders finished with a scoreless seventh. Bryce Holmes
and Aaron Thompson
each had two hits for Big Sandy (34-3).
Both teams were making their first state tournament appearance.
MVP Blayne Jones, Sr., Muenster; P Austin Hendrix
, Sr., Big Sandy (Dallardsville); C Carson Cheaney
, Jr., Muenster; 1B Dax Neece
, Jr., Albany
; 2B Clay Stevens
, Jr., Muenster; 3B Parker McGrew, So., Muenster; SS Chance Coker
, Sr., Groveton
; OF Kagen Danglemayr
, Jr., Muenster; OF Bryce Holmes, Sr., Big Sandy; OF Broch Holmes
, So., Big Sandy; Util. Brian Hamilton
, Jr., Albany.
Central Heights (Nacogdoches) 10, Wall 0 (5 innings): Rowan Arrant
(9-0) pitched a two-hit shutout and contributed two hits to lead Central Heights (37-2-1). Cade Watson
went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Matthew Taylor
and Will Haley
each drove in two runs. A seven-run third sealed the win in a game that was halted by the 10-run mercy rule. Caleb Heuertz
and Gage Weishuhn
accounted for the hits by Wall (31-4-1).
The title is the second for Central Heights in three state trips. The Blue Devils won the Class 2A crown in 2004.
: MVP Cade Watson, Sr., Central Heights (Nacogdoches); P Ryan Gully
, So., Wall; C Dryden Virden
, Jr., Wall; 1B Skyler Hill
, Sr., Gateway College Preparatory (Georgetown)
; 2B Will Haley, Jr., Central Heights; 3B Scout Sanders
, So., Whitesboro
; SS Grayson Rodriguez
, Jr., Central Heights; OF Gage Weishuhn, So., Wall; OF Braden Thomas
, Jr., Central Heights; OF Brock Rosenquist
, Jr., Wall; Util. Rowan Arrant, So., Central Heights.
Wylie (Abilene) 6, Robinson 5
: Wylie (35-1), making its third consecutive state tournament appearance and eighth overall, now has back-to-back state titles. Leadoff batter Zach Smith
tripled and homered and drove in two runs. Caleb Mutton
had a pair of hits and drove in a run. Winning pitcher Hutton Frazier
(11-0) allowed four runs in 5.2 innings. Smith came on for the save.Braxton Ashcraft
went 3-for-3 with a home run for Robinson (31-3), making its sixth state tournament appearance and second in succession. Peyton Powell
and Dru Dziedzic
had two hits for Robinson. Ashcraft's solo home run in the bottom of the seventh pulled the Rockets within a run, but Smith retired the next three in order.
MVP Zach Smith, Sr., Wylie (Abilene); P Dru Dziedzic, Sr., Robinson; C Caleb Munton, So., Wylie; 1B Bryce Gist
, Sr., Wylie; 2B Gatlin Martin
, Jr., Wylie; SS Jordan Rogers
, Fr., Robinson; OF Mason Cooper
, Jr., Robinson; OF Jonathan Carrillo
, Sr., Sinton
; OF Cameron Hannah
, Sr., Wylie; Util. Braxton Ashcraft, Jr., Robinson.
Port Neches-Groves (Port Neches) 4, Grapevine 2: Austin Bost
and Nathan Vidrine
each drove in a pair of runs and pitcher Brandon Morse
made the runs stand up as PNG (34-8-2) captured its first state title in its third state tournament appearance. The Indians had a pair of hits from Lane Holden
and Trevor Martin
and capitalized on a pair of Grapevine errors in the first inning for two runs. Morse (9-2) allowed only four hits in a route-going performance and got 13 outs in the air.
Grapevine (33-13), trying to repeat as 5A state champ, got RBIs from Connor Neuman
and Nick Pierce
. London Green
had two hits and scored both Mustang runs.
: MVP: Brandon Morse, Sr., Port Neches-Groves; P Connor Neuman, Sr., Grapevine; C Braxton Boudin
, Sr., PNG; 1B Dominik Lopez
, Jr., Moody (Corpus Christi)
; 2B London Green, Sr., Grapevine; 3B Austin Bost, Jr., PNG; SS JT Thompson
, Sr., Wakeland (Frisco)
; OF Roy Sandoval
, Sr., Moody; OF Hayden Guerra, Sr., PNG; OF Nick Pierce, Jr., Grapevine; Util. Nathan Vidrine, Sr., PNG.
Deer Park 7, Reagan (San Antonio) 2
: Deer Park (35-8-1) in its fourth state tournament appearance secured its first state title. Winning pitcher Clay Aguilar
(9-1) yielded 11 hits in 4.1 innings, but worked out of some jams before turning it over to Adrian Gonzalez
for 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. Chase Keng
drove in two runs each for Deer Park, which never trailed.
Reagan (31-9) had 3-for-4 hitting performances from Hilton Brown
and Porter Brown
. Seth Morrow
and Cade Bormet
drove in runs.
: MVP Adrian Gonzales, Jr., Deer Park; P Clay Aguilar, Sr., Deer Park; C Mac Papini
, Sr., Reagan (San Antonio); 1B Cal Martin
, So., Reagan; 2B Cade Bell
, Sr., Carroll (Southlake)
; 3B Jake Miller
, Sr., Round Rock
; SS Jake Murphy
, Sr., Carroll; OF Porter Brown, Jr., Reagan; OF Chase Keng, Sr., Deer Park; OF Seth Morrow, Jr., Reagan; Util. Blake Martin
, Jr., Deer Park.