All Saints shortstop Luke Fricks makes defensive stops
Winner to state.
That was all on the line Wednesday night in a TAPPS 6A baseball playoff game between Nolan Catholic and All Saints.
And what better place to have the battle between two Fort Worth powers than at TCU’s Lupton Stadium.
All Saints senior pitcher Matt Tieding, who is signed with Arkansas Tech, struck out seven batters and stranded 13 runners on base to help eliminate the Vikings, 2-0.
The Saints (27-5), who moved to TAPPS from the Southwest Prep Conference two years ago, reach the baseball state final four for the first time. They’ll play defending champ Argyle Liberty Christian (24-13-1) in the semifinals at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Crosby.
“It’s special, especially with this group of kids,” All Saints coach Mike Fehler said. “To see them be able to achieve this, it’s an amazing feeling.”
But for Tieding, it’s even more special considering how he began his day.
Tieding lost his grandfather and attended his funeral prior to the game. He still wanted to pitch and dedicate the game to him.
“It was pre-determined that I was going to pitch, then it happened,” he said. “I knew the Lord had my back and I was just going to go out there for my grandpa and give this one to him. Glad I got to do that so it was fun night.”
“Emotional game for Matt and for him to step up like that, he was huge for us,” Fehler added.
Dueling with Nolan Catholic’s Ben Johnson, the two pitchers put up zeros through 2 1/2 innings. Luke Fricks led off the bottom of the third inning with a triple to left field and scored on a high chopper to second from TCU signee Jacob Speaker.
Jack Delk scored on a passed ball in the sixth.
“It’s become a rivalry. They’re a good ball club and we knew they’d give us a challenge,” Fehler said.
“I’ve been coming to TCU games since I was 5 and to be able to pitch against a great team like Nolan with a great team like mine behind me, it was a special night,” added Tieding, who got out of the inning with two runners on in the first, third and sixth.
Fricks went 3-for-3 with a triple and double. He made back-to-back defensive plays at shortstop in the fourth to keep Nolan off the board. He also recorded two double plays.
“Hats off to Luke,” Tieding said. “He works so hard and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Johnson allowed seven hits and struck out seven batters in 5 1/2 innings for the Vikings (25-10-1).