When Haslet Eaton coach Jeremy Fatheree took over the baseball program three years ago, he knew he had something special.
It only took him two years on the varsity level to put the Eagles on top.
RHP Riley Taylor allowed three hits in his final start of his career and the Eagles rallied with a three-run inning in the top of the fifth to beat Forney 4-1 for the Class 5A state championship on Saturday at Dell Diamond.
“I knew it was going to be a good area for baseball and if I could bring my baseball knowledge here, where there’s a lot of talent, we could do some good things," Fatheree said. "I hope they look at their ring down the road and they remember me and how much I cared about them. I’m glad I could be apart of this and help them win a state championship."
Taylor (12-2) allowed one run on three hits and seven strikeouts in a complete game. He was voted 5A state MVP.
“It doesn’t feel real," he said. "I’m still shaking from it. It’s incredible.”
UT-Arlington signee Cade Winquest drew a one-out walk in the fifth. He was caught stealing at second, but was granted the base when the umpires called a balk on Forney LHP and Texas A&M commit Jonathan Childress.
After Jarod Seals walked, both Eaton runners stole a base and Zach Wilson’s RBI single to left field tied the game.
The Eagles took a 2-1 lead on their next batter when Sean Klein drove a 1-1 pitch up the middle to center.
“We were pretty calm. I don’t think anyone was nervous. We know when we start off slow, we come back hot," said Klein, who was one of 13 players that graduated last week. "It was a big momentum changer. The dugout and the fans got hype and we knew we were going to score more runs.”
With Klein on third, Childress was called for a second balk to extend Eaton’s lead to 3-1.
Eaton (34-9-1) added another run in the sixth on Brock Webber’s RBI single to second. Webber and Klein each had two hits. The Eagles had nine total.
“I knew they were going to get my back from the start. We have one of the best offenses in the state for 5A so I had no worries that we were going to score runs," Taylor said. “Everything was working. My slider and curveball were effective and I kept hitting my spot with my fastball. They weren’t able to touch it.”
Forney’s Ryland Kerby drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the third. He advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored two batters later on an RBI single from Sean Stephens, who drove an 0-1 pitch to left.
Childress (10-3) allowed four runs on six hits and seven strikeouts in five innings.
Forney (29-14-1) was attempting to become the fifth school to win UIL baseball and softball titles in the same year.