Colbie Fritchen said he took a deep breath before stepping into the batters box during the eighth inning of Haslet Eaton's Class 5A state semifinal game on Thursday night.
He was about to get his biggest hit of his career.
The junior left fielder got a 2-1 curveball that sneaked under a diving third baseman and Eaton walked off against Humble Kingwood Park 3-2 to advance to the 5A final, noon Saturday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
“I was looking for a fastball but never got one so he hung me a curve and I stayed on it,” Fritchen said. “I thought the third baseman had a beat on it, but soon realized it got through the hole.”
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“My reaction was unbelievable,” Fritchen said. “All the work we put in is paying off.”
The Eagles rushed out of the dugout and swarmed Fritchen near first base.
“I didn’t really know what to do when 24 guys are sprinting at me,” Fritchen said.
Eaton, which is in its second season, took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when senior and UT Arlington signee Cade Winquest doubled to center with no outs.
The Panthers (32-13) tied it in the top of the third with Ryan Long’s two-run single to right field.
Seals allowed one earned run on three hits and five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. Winquest (5-0) picked up the win with no runs on one hit and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
Seals was hit by a pitch to lead off the eighth. Klein doubled to left two batters later to set up the game-winning play.
“It’s funny because I told Sean that we were about to walk it off,” Fritchen said.