Maybe Grapevine senior Boone Montgomery isn’t known as a clutch performer yet. But after what he’s done for this baseball program for the last two postseasons, he should be. People may want to consider calling him “Mr. May.”
Over Grapevine’s two playoff runs to the state tournament, the Mustangs have leaned on Montgomery when their season needed a lifeline. Each time he’s answered the call.
Between 2016 and 2017, Mr. May is 7-0 in the deciding third game of a playoff series. One of those occurred in June, but you get the idea.
Montgomery won’t dominate with his fastball. His offspeed pitches probably don’t bite like other pitchers’ offspeed pitches do.
He’s not necessarily the best pitcher in the state. But he’s the best competitor. That’s why you run him out there in Game 3.
- Grapevine coach Steve Hutcherson on Boone Montgomery
But what he does have is an edge on the mound a championship caliber team needs. He just knows what it takes to win. Grapevine is returning to Round Rock this week.
“He takes on a different persona,” Grapevine coach Steve Hutcherson said. “When you get him on the mound, he enters with, ‘I’m a bulldog. I’m going to fight.’ He’s not necessarily the best pitcher in the state. But he’s the best competitor. That’s why you run him out there in Game 3.”
Montgomery and Grapevine (32-12) meet Corpus Christi Moody (30-2-3) in the second Class 5A state semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday at Dell Diamond. That follows the first semifinal between Frisco Wakeland (38-4-2) and Port Neches-Grove (32-8-1). The winners meet for the state championship at noon on Saturday.
Montgomery took over Game 3 duties in the middle of the 2016 playoffs and beat Granbury, Wichita Falls Rider and Canyon. This spring, he left Sherman, Aledo, Amarillo and Colleyville Heritage in his wake.
“All I can do is compete,” Montgomery said. “I have to pound the zone and throw strikes. I know my defense can make plays behind me and then put up some runs.”
He wasn’t given much of a margin against the Panthers. Grapevine used a two-out two-run single from Nick Pearce in the third to take a 2-0 lead. Montgomery made that stand up in a 2-1 victory. He pitched a complete game, scattering six hits and working around Panthers threats in the first and third innings. In the deciding seventh inning, Colleyville Heritage went quietly.
We know when our backs are against the wall, we play angry and use that to our advantage. We know we’ve been everybody’s target.
- Boone Montgomery
Grapevine is more than familiar playing with the season at stake. The Mustangs won seven elimination games in this postseason, including the last four against Amarillo and Colleyville Heritage when they dropped the opener of the series.
“It’s like they almost embrace being in a tougher situation,” Hutcherson said. “You don’t want that as a coach. But when they get in that and feel completely comfortable in it, you have to let it roll.”
Montgomery won’t start Thursday. Senior right-hander Connor Neuman is scheduled to make the start. This is a one-game season for the Mustangs. Montgomery’s value to this team at shortstop outweighs what he does on the mound.
However, with these types of games, there won’t be any waiting around. Montgomery will be summoned should it prove necessary.
“We know when our backs are against the wall, we play angry and use that to our advantage,” Montgomery said. “We know we’ve been everybody’s target.”