An hour before Friday’s UIL Class 4A state championship game, Aledo starting pitcher Taco Anderson stretched alone on the warning track at Dell Diamond, jogging along the outfield wall from the foul pole to the break in right center field.
“I was just thinking I needed to relax and keep doing what I’d been doing,” he said. “Nerves definitely got to me a little bit, but I think football helped a lot, because there was like 30,000 people there.”
Anderson, a senior who caught two touchdowns in December’s football title game, breezed to a complete-game shutout Friday night against Victoria East, striking out four and earning game MVP honors in Aledo’s 4-0 win over the Titans.
The Bearcats (34-6-2) led from the first inning on their way to the school’s first-ever baseball state title. UIL officials said Aledo became the first school in the organization’s history — in any classification — to win a football, softball and baseball titles in the same school year.
Senior catcher Zayne Willems drove in three runs, grounding out for an RBI in the first inning and knocking in two with a single in the sixth.
Aledo took advantage of the Titans’ mistakes, which included three errors. A wild pitch advanced Tyson Mauser and Wade Raburn in the first inning. Willems then grounded out to second base but scored Mauser.
In the second, Garrett Uhl singled then advanced to second base after an error by Victoria East’s left fielder. Luke Glover singled in the next at-bat to drive home Uhl.
Aledo went up 4-0 in the sixth inning after a two-run single from Willems, whose two-out hit followed Raburn reaching on a dropped third strike.
“We knew the curveball wasn’t something we were going to have to worry about tonight, so we were just thinking middle-to-[opposite field], and put some runs up early, really put the pressure on them,” Willems said.
East’s three hits were singles, only one reaching the outfield. Anderson’s only jam came in the third after an error put runners on the corners.
But the next East batter, Tim Gleinser, hit a hard grounder to shortstop, allowing Glover to freeze the lead runner and get the out at first. The next batter popped up to the catcher to end the inning.
“[Anderson] got stronger as the game went on,” Aledo coach Chad Barry said. “He did a great job at pounding the zone and making them earn everything they were able to get.”