Double plays lead to Salado Eagles State Championship title
With runners on all bases and no outs, Salado senior Matt Fritsch came in to close the game June 5 against Corsicana Mildred, striking out two batters, and securing the Salado Eagles’ first-ever State Championship in baseball June 5 at Dell Diamond. Kevin Jackson fielded Cory Roper’s grounder and tossed the runner out at second to secure the win for Salado, 12-8.
The Eagles held a commanding 12-4 lead with Justin Schiller pitching part of the fourth inning, the fifth and sixth innings and part of the seventh inning.
Schiller shut down Mildred in the fifth inning and helped to add three runs during their side of the frame to stretch their lead to 11-4.
Justin Schiller came in to relieve Sam Van Hoozer and allowed no runs in the fifth or sixth innings. In the bottom of the fourth, he hit the ball to the warning track for a triple, driving in one run. He then drove in two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on a single, which he tried to stretch into a double, being tagged out at second base.
Salado held a four run lead over Mildred through the fourth inning, by adding a run in the fourth and allowing two runs by Mildred.
Shortstop Johnny Nix took a grounder, tossed it to Justin Berumen who turned and threw out the runner at first for a double play to get out of the inning. It was the third double play of the game thus far. The Eagles would have an amazing four double plays to end innings with runners on base.
The Eagles held a five run lead through three innings of play, taking an hour and a half to play three for a 7-2 lead. Mildred’s Cory Roper homerun for Mildred’s only run of the third inning.
During Salado’s side of the inning, Josh Coleman singled to drive in Garret Ward who reached on a single, advanced on Justin Berumen’s single and stole third base.
Matt Fritsch drove a double to deep left centerfield in the second inning of the game for two RBIs. An errant throw allowed Fritsch to advance to third and for Tyler Wright to score. Fritsch scored on the second error of the same play when a throw to tag him out at third base ended up in Salado’s dug out.
With two errors on the play, the double resulted in clearing the full bases and giving Salado a 5-1 second inning lead.
Salado would add one more in the second inning when Seth Collins walked, reached second on an error, the third of the inning, stole third base and came home on a wild pitch for a 6-1 lead.
The teams were knotted at 1-1 after the first inning. Roper reached first for Mildred on a ground ball putting Miles Weaver out at second. Jake Shimonek took Sam Van Hoozer’s first pitch and drove it into deep right for a triple and rbi. Sam Van Hoozer, starting on the mound for Salado, got out of the inning with runners on first and third base.
Matt Fritsch reached second on an errant throw from shortstop to first base. He advanced on a sacrifice fly by Seth Collins and scored on a passed ball with two outs in the inning.
Salado had 12 runs on 10 hits, but committed four errors on the night. The Eagles also converted an incredible four double plays on the night. Justin Berumen was involved in three of the double plays. On two of them, the Salado second baseman fielded a ground ball, tagged out the runner on the base line and threw to Kevin Jackson to get the runner at first.
In the third, short stop Johnny Nix fielded a ball, flipped the ball to Berumen who tagged the base and turned to throw out the runner at first.
The only double play which did not include the second baseman was when third baseman Matt Fritsch fielded a grounder down the third base line with the bases loaded. Fritsch tagged third base and rocketed the ball across the diamond to Kevin Jackson to get the runner at first.
Mildred had eight runs on 11 hits and committed five errors. Three of those hits were singles with the bases loaded as Mildred scored four runs in the final inning before Fritsch closed the game and the Eagles made history.
Kevin Jackson throws no-hitter in 2008 state semi-finals
Salado Eagles 10-run-rule Grape Creek on their way to State Championship
It wasn’t Wheaties that fueled Salado senior pitcher Kevin Jackson as he pitched a no-hitter June 4 2008 against the Grape Creek High School Eagles to lead Salado past Grape Creek 11-0 and on to the State Finals at Dell Diamond.
“A breakfast burrito,” he admits was breakfast that morning.
Evidently, it was good fuel, as Jackson struck out eight batters in five innings. He registered only three walks, including a walk to Landon McCall to start the game in Grape Creek’s first at-bat at the Dell Diamond June 4.
The quiet-spoken pitcher also went two-of-three at the plate with a single and a double for three rbi’s.
“I never expected this to happen,” Jackson said immediately after the game. “It’s a great way to cap off my career.”
Indeed. Jackson’s no-hitter is only the second in the history of the 2A baseball state tournament.
After walking lead-off batter Landon McCall, Jackson looked down, shook his head once, looked up for the signal from catcher Justin Schiller and sat down the next three batters, the first on a throw-out to first baseman Josh Coleman, the next two on strikeouts.
Over the next five innings, the Salado Eagles made 15 outs in 18 at-bats, including Jackson’s eight strikeouts.
The no-hitter looked in danger when third baseman Matt Fritsch bobbled a hard grounder by Jacob Jones down the line before cocking back and unleashing a throw that never got more than four feet above ground to first baseman Josh Coleman in the third inning. Seth Collins chased down a fly ball to center field and Jackson registered his fourth strikeout of the game.
Salado played inspired, joyful baseball as the Eagles allowed nothing to get past them. No errant throws, no grounders or fly balls on the few occasions that a Grape Creek batter made contact with Jackson’s pitches.
“Everything was falling into place,” Jackson said, admitting that he only threw two pitches: a fastball and a curve ball.
“Coach Bates did a great job of calling,” he said. “We kept them off-balance.”
Jackson pointed to the play of his defense for his success on the mound. “They all did a great job,” he said.
The Eagles did a great job not just on defense, but with their bats as well. Salado had 15 hits in the game, including three by Fritsch.
Fritsch started the frenzy of hits for Salado, as he hustled a double on the first pitch that he shot into left field.
Seth Collins advanced Fritsch to third before Jackson’s single brought the third baseman home for the first run of the game.
Jackson’s courtesy runner Hunter Ward was tagged out at second as Justin Schiller reached first base. His courtesy runner Taylor Rudduck stole second base and was driven in by a long drive by Johnny Nix. Nix advanced to second on the throw to the infield and reached third on a bad throw to the catcher. Nix was left on third as Salado took a 2-0 lead in the first.
Salado strung together eight hits for six runs in the second inning and a commanding 8-0 lead. Justin Berumen got a single on a drive between the short stop and third baseman. Tyler Wright followed with a single to move Berumen. Fritsch took a 3-2 pitch and lined it into the outfield to score Berumen and reach first base. Collins dinged a ball into shallow center to score Wright. Jackson then drove a deep shot into centerfield, scoring Fritsch and Collins on his double.
Schiller reached first base when pitcher McCall lost his high fly ball in the infield. His courtesy runner Rudduck scored on a single by Ward.
When Berumen tried to sctretch a single over the third base line into a double, he was tagged out at second for the final out of the inning.
Fritsch connected for his third hit of the game, a triple with two outs in the third inning. He scored on a balk before the third out was made, giving Salado a 9-0 lead.
The final two runs came in the fourth inning, when Garret Ward crushed McCall’s pitch, sending it over the Intel sign above the upper deck of Dell Diamond’s left field stands. The home run brought in courtesy runner Rudduck, who was on second base thanks to Schiller’s double.
Salado went through the lineup three times in the four innings and six batters had more than one hit.
Fritsch hit 1.000 with a single, double and triple in the game. Ward had a single and the homerun on three at-bats. Jackson hit a single and a double. Nix and Berumen were both two-of-three with singles.