ROUND ROCK -- Arlington Martin's quest for its first UIL state baseball title since 1993 ended Friday at Dell Diamond.
Houston Cypress Ranch pitcher Grant Slaughter tossed a shutout to lead the Mustangs past the Warriors 6-0 in the Class 5A state semifinals. Slaughter (10-2) struck out eight, walked one and gave up only three hits on 84 pitches.
"I mean, I was up there just trying to throw strikes and things worked out," Slaughter said. "The defense was sharp today, and the sticks came out as well. To have a team like that to back you up makes it really easy to go out there and just do your job."
The Mustangs (31-8) jumped out to an early lead in the third inning after driving in three runs on four hits against Martin starter Nick Hendrix (9-3).
Cy Ranch added another run in the fourth before Hendrix was pulled. He gave up four earned runs on seven hits, a walk and two hit batters. The Duke signee is one of 13 Martin seniors who finished their high school careers Friday. "We had 13 seniors and several of these boys were on varsity as sophomores," Martin coach Curt Culbertson said. "They have been working towards this for a while. They pulled this team together and did a great job with our team chemistry."
The Mustangs tacked on two more in the sixth inning against reliever Mike Hoffman. Turner Larkins took over for Hoffman in the sixth inning before Blake Egly got the final out in the seventh.
The Mustangs had 12 hits against a Warriors staff that owned a team ERA of 1.64 heading into Friday's game.
The Warriors finished the season as undefeated District 4-5A champs, state semifinalists and with a 36-6-1 record.
"It was a great season," Culbertson said. "We would have liked to have shown up better today, no question about it. It was not a good day to not play your very best, but that's just the way this is."
Cy Ranch advances to the state final after qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in the school's four-year history. The Mustangs will play College Station A&M Consolidated for the title at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Dell Diamond.
"A lot of people are saying that this is crazy what we're doing but we knew from Day One that we could do this," Slaughter said. "Now that we are finally here, it's a good feeling."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Comments deemed inappropriate will be removed and repeated abusers will be banned. NOTE: If you log in using your Twitter account, your comments will be signed using the name on your Twitter profile, NOT your Twitter user name. Read our full comment policy.