Salado Eagles face the top-ranked Abilene Wylie Bulldogs for the state championship at 6:30 p.m. today at Disch Falk field in Austin, after beating the #4 Robinson Rockets 7-1 yesterday in the semi-finals.
Wylie beat the #5 Texarcana Pleasant Grove Hawks 7-5 yesterday to get to the finals.
Salado exploded for four runs in the third inning and Cody Wolf held the prolific lefties of Robinson to just five hits and one run. Wolf, who will play in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star game later this month, struck out six batters in his complete-game appearance.
Robinson started their second pitcher, Dru Dziedzic, who gave up five hits and five runs before being replaced by ace Zach Boyett in the sixth inning. Salado hit Robinson’s ace pitcher for three hits and two earned runs.
Salado had a total of seven hits in the game with Drew Dobbins driving in three runs for the Eagles. Garrett Lightfoot also had an RBI for Salado.
Ryan Dunnahoo had two hits for the Eagles and a walk. Other Eagles getting hits were Jacob Wilk, Preston Payne, Phillip Ellis, Dobbins and Lightfoot.
Robinson was quick to get on the board, getting an unearned run when Zach Boyett got on base with a well-laid-down bunt. He went to second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch before scoring on a booming triple to the right field wall by Tanner James.
Wolf struck out Braxton Ashcract and beat Dziedzic to the bag for a forced groundout to first baseman Preston Payne.
Payne led off the top of the third with a single to deep left. He advanced on a walk to Dunnahoo and both runners advanced on a bunt plopped down the third base line by Ellis. Robinson walked Wolf to load the bases and Drew Dobbins grounded into a fielder’s choice in which none of the runners were forced out and an error allowed the three runners to score.
With Dobbins on third, Chase Basham reached on an error and then stole second to put both runners in scoring position. Lightfoot singled to score Dobbins, but Basham was tagged out trying to reach home.
In the fourth, Salado loaded the bases, but could not convert the opportunity into runs. With two outs in the inning, Dunnahoo and Ellis singled and Wolf walked before Dobbins struck out for the third out.
Wilk led off the fifth with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt down the first base line by Basham. Lightfoot grounded out to third, advancing Wilk to third. Wilk scored on an error.
The Eagles loaded the bases again in the sixth. Payne walked and Dunnahoo singled to left. Ellis reached on a fielder’s choice in which no runner was put out as the shortstop held the ball.
Wolf hit into an odd double play as the pitcher threw out the runner trying to get home and the catcher then threw out Wolf trying to get to first. The other runners advanced to second and third and both scored on a shot to deep left for a single by Dobbins.
The Eagles will likely face pitching ace Mack Mueller, who has an 11-0 record on the mound. Sophomore pitcher Connor Carlton got the win on the mound for Wylie yesterday when the Bulldogs beat Pleasant Grove 7-5 in the state semi-final.
Sophomore Drew Dobbins will likely get the nod for Salado, bringing his 9-3 record to the mound for the Eagles.
This is Wylie’s seventh appearance in the UIL State Tournament. However, the Bulldogs have no championships to show for their efforts.
Salado has one State Championship in its four appearances in the Tournament.
Wylie is 30-3-1 on the year while the Eagles are 30-11. The Bulldogs were 28-6 and 8-0 last year losing to eventual state champion Argyle 9-4 in the semi-final round.