Northeast Tarrant

Grapevine baseball title leaves turbulence in the past

Grapevine High School coach Steve Hutcherson at practice before the state baseball tournament.
Grapevine High School coach Steve Hutcherson at practice before the state baseball tournament.

Steve Hutcherson wasn’t the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District’s first choice to lead the Grapevine High School baseball program in 2016-2017.

A year ago, turbulence reigned. On June 11, 2015, we reported then-Frisco Centennial head coach Jason Wilson had accepted the head coaching offer. Wilson was going to replace Lee Yeager, who left after one year to return to Corpus Christi.

However, Wilson got a call from the district telling him that the position was no longer available because of a directive from superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan. Other news outlets reported this story. It left the district in the most awkward and uncomfortable position.

With the bad publicity growing, the GCISD took the route that made sense by promoting Hutcherson, Yeager’s assistant.

“I put in for the job,” Hutcherson said. “I thought I had a chance. But when things unfolded and I heard somebody else was going to get it, it was disappointing. I really wanted to stay in Grapevine. I knew I wasn’t going back to Corpus Christi.”

Now, June 11, 2016 is the day after Grapevine’s baseball program won its first baseball championship in school history. The Mustangs defeated San Antonio Alamo Heights, 9-2, to win the Class 5A title.

What a difference a year makes.

The great thing about sports is that those who play the game might have better perspective – and dare I say are a heck of a lot smarter – than those of us who are trying to figure what the next move is.

When Hutcherson finally learned the job was his – he didn’t need formal approval from the GCISD board because was in the district – he immediately started to make his impression with the players. The good thing was they knew him. He also knew how to run a program from his days at Lampasas.

“I felt the main thing this group needed was that it had to be itself,” Hutcherson said. “They didn’t have to impress somebody. We had good players. I just needed to piece together how best this could work. We had 26 guys that were capable of helping us win a game.”

As the 2016 season unfolded, Grapevine emerged as one of the top teams in the state. But talk about winning a state championship never entered the locker room or the dugout. Hutcherson wouldn’t talk about it. He wouldn’t let his players talk about it.

Secretly, the thought of winning it entered Hutcherson’s mind after a hard-fought Region I quarterfinal series win over Wichita Falls Rider. The Raiders featured a pretty solid pitching staff. Grapevine split the first two and then won the deciding game.

“I thought we had a really good team and as we progressed, I conveyed to our guys, I thought we were as good as anyone in the state,” Hutcherson said. “No one was hands down better.”

The rest is history. So is the turbulence.

MLB draft follow up

In case you missed it, this MLB first-year player draft last week had a little of something for everyone in Northeast Tarrant County. Carroll shortstop Hudson Sanchez went in the first round (No. 24 overall) to San Diego. Justin Northwest RHP Dustin May went in the third round (No. 101) to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Keller catcher Shea Langeliers told clubs he was going to college.

For Sanchez and May, you can likely expect those two to sign deals with their respective teams – those two would not have been selected that high unless there was some kind of verbal agreement in place – and move on to the professional ranks. Langeliers must wait until he’s a junior at Baylor.