The crowd (and Witt family) goes wild
Fresh off a memorable Monday night, Bobby Witt Jr. made his presence felt early on during his first appearance at the UIL baseball state tournament in Round Rock.
Two more Panthers were drafted on Wednesday including third baseman Mason Greer, who put the ball in play for both of Colleyville Heritage’s runs as it won 2-1 over Corsicana in the 5A state semifinals on Thursday at Dell Diamond.
“What a really good baseball game,” Heritage coach Alan McDougal said. “Corsicana battled its tails off and we were pretty fortunate. Really glad to see Mason play well. Big sac-fly and made some unbelievable plays at third to save us in a couple of jams.”
“Just trying to bear down and basically be a wall out there and not let anything by,” added Greer, who is signed to play at Auburn.
Heritage (38-3), the No. 3 team in the nation, will play in the state championship at noon on Saturday. It’s the first time to state in program history.
Witt, who was drafted second overall by the Kansas City Royals, roped a one-out single to left field in the first inning, stole second, and reached third on a groundout. Greer, who was drafted in the 37th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, hit a grounder to shortstop and reached on an errant throw. Witt scored to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
“I just try to get on the bases because I know we have Nick and Mason, and all those guys that can hit,” Witt said.
Corsicana (29-11), which was making the trip to state for the first time since 1958, tied it in the second inning when Ty Nolen scored on an RBI single from Cade Johnson. Nolen drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Witt walked during his second at-bat in the third inning and was nearly picked off by lefty starter Micah Burke, but beat out the throw at second. He reached third when Burke’s pick-off attempt dribbled into center.
Greer hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in left field and Witt tagged up to give Heritage a 2-1 lead.
Heritage starter Austin Glaze (14-0) earned the quality start with one run allowed on two hits and three strikeouts. He induced a pop-fly to center-fielder Logan Britt, who was drafted in the 35th round by the Chicago White Sox, for the final out with a runner on third in the fourth inning.
“Austin started hot and battled through four,” McDougal said.
The Panthers looked to extend their lead when they loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fourth, but relief pitcher Kolby Kinkade got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
Colby Kroutil came in for Glaze and didn’t allow a hit in two innings. He had one strikeout and one walk. Witt picked up the save in the seventh. He allowed one walk, but struck out two batters.
“Colby came in and did exactly what we needed to do for two innings and he made some big pitches, and Bobby did a good job in the seventh,” McDougal said.
“I like the pressure and I know my teammates have my back,” Witt added. “It’s been fun. Now it’s on to Saturday.”