Arlington Martin’s run to the UIL state baseball tournament has seen contributions up and down the lineup, but cleanup hitter Anthony Lyons may be as hot as anyone in the state right now.
“My first thing is patience. When I go out here I know certain pitchers are going to try and throw you off by throwing balls away,” Lyons said before practice Tuesday. “They try to get you off balance by getting your count up but I just try and focus on that one pitch to hit and if it doesn’t come I just take it.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound lefty is leading the Warriors (37-6) in nearly every major batting category during the playoffs. Lyons, a Texas Tech signee, is batting .462, with a .615 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .923 in 11 postseason games.
Lyons has also collected the most homers (2), hits (12), extra-base hits (6) and RBIs (10). He’s being moved around the bases by his teammates, too, as Lyons has scored at least one run in each of the past five games and is tied with Josh Watson for the most runs scored this postseason with 11.
“He started off hot for us in February and he really hasn’t stopped,” Martin coach Curt Culbertson said. “He’s been consistent for us all year long and he’s come up with some huge, huge hits for us in the playoffs.”
Senior catcher Matt Waller has proven himself invaluable over his high school career.
Waller, who has homered once and doubled three times this postseason, played shortstop as a sophomore and left field last year, before moving to catcher as a senior.
“The first thing you see out of Matt is his competitiveness, his mindset. He never quits, he never complains, he never pouts, he doesn’t whine and he doesn’t blame anyone else,” Culbertson said. “He goes out and competes regardless of the situation. Then, the kid’s just an athlete; he’s strong, he’s fast, he’s got a good arm and can do a lot of things.”
Waller was also a three-year starter and all-district performer at defensive back on the football team. This season he rarely came off the field as he played quarterback, safety and special teams.
“Sometimes it can be a struggle; you get frustrated because you know you’re not in your position, but it’s whatever for the team,” Waller said Tuesday. “That’s the kind of people we have here at Martin; it’s whatever you have to do to win and ultimately get a state championship.”
Know your enemy
Martin will face Fort Bend Dulles on noon Friday in the Class 5A semifinals at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
The Dulles Vikings (31-7) have won seven straight games and 15 of their last 16.
They are likely to throw ace Dakota Mills (13-0) on Friday. Mills is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound righty who signed with West Virginia in the fall.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
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