After dropping their first playoff game of the post-season, Eaton rebounded to win Game 3 of the Class 5A Region I final on Saturday at Brock, and made program history.
With graduation Saturday night, the Eagles beat Amarillo 6-1 to clinch a spot in next week’s 5A state tournament in Round Rock for the first time. They're in their second year at the varsity level.
“I’m glad they’ll always be remembered as this team,” coach Jeremy Fatheree said.
Eaton won its eighth-straight game to start the playoffs, 8-4 in Game 1 on Thursday, but Amarillo came back to tie the series 4-3 in Game 2 on Friday.
Senior RHP Cade Winquest took the mound for the final game of the series and pitched well in his biggest game of his high school career.
“I just tried to come out here and focus,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a tough one – that’s a very solid team. I knew I had to locate the ball well and get ahead in the count.”
The UT-Arlington signee allowed one run on five hits and struck out nine batters.
“Credit to our offense – they went out there and did their thing,” Winquest said. “They came up with clutch hits when we needed them.”
After the Sandies (30-12-1) scored in the top of the second, Eaton (32-9-1) tied it in the bottom of the frame. The Eagles got the first two batters on and loaded the bases with one out when Bryan Burgos took a 2-1 pitch to center that tied the game.
Winquest recorded seven strikeouts in a nine-batter stretch from the third through fifth inning. Jack Angus’ RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth gave Eaton a 2-1 lead.
“This was the best team we played so far in the playoffs,” said Angus, who hit a three-run home run in Game 1. “We knew we had to play good baseball and Cade pitched a heck of a game. We hit well and played good defense, and that’s what you have to do to beat a team like that.”
“As the game went on, I started to figure things out and everything was working pretty well for me,” Winquest added.
The Eagles extend their lead to 4-1 in the fifth. Sean Klein hit an RBI single to left and later scored on an Amarillo error.
Tarleton State signee Colby Seltzer launched his 12th home run of the season, a two-run shot over the left-field fence in the bottom of the sixth.
“I knew it was gone off the bat,” Seltzer said. “The mindset out here was a one-game series like we had against Richland. Win or go home and we played as good as we could.”
The 5A state semifinals are 4 and 7 p.m. Thursday at Dell Diamond. The state title game is noon Saturday.