It didn’t come easy, but Argyle did what it normally does: win.
The Eagles got out to a four-run lead and then hung on to beat Sweeny 6-3 in the 4A state title game on Thursday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field to capture the program’s second straight championship and third overall.
Argyle beat Sweeny in last year’s state title game, 5-0.
“Probably more proud of this one than last year. Last year was unbelievable, going undefeated, but we played every game this season with a target on our back,” Argyle coach Ricky Griffin said. “These guys know how to play here. It’s not too big for them. They know how to perform in big situations and that’s what they did tonight.”
Hayden Clearman, who drove in three runs in Wednesday’s semifinal win over La Vernia, singled down the left-field line in the first inning to score Dillon Carter, who was voted 4A state title game MVP.
“This team was unbelievable,” said Clearman, who will continue his career at Abilene Christian. “I’ve been playing with or against these guys since I was 8. It all came together and we created something special.”
“It’s hard to pick one off this team since we’re all equally talented,” added Carter, who is signed to play at Texas Tech. “We’re all brothers, no matter what age group, we’re all tight.”
Austin King reached on an error that sparked a three-run fourth inning. Pinch-runner Jake Sullivan scored on a Cade Merka double to left and Bo Hogeboom followed with an RBI single to center.
Three batters later and pinch-runner Mason Green scored on an RBI single from Brenden Dixon, who signed with Texas.
Argyle (40-1-1), which tied a UIL state record with 13 runs in an inning on Wednesday, extended its lead to 4-0 in the fifth thanks to two walks and two hit by pitches. Riley Hartman scored on a wild pitch in the seventh.
Sweeny (31-10), which was looking for its first title since 1985, inched close with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Collin Coker led off with a double to right center and after Cord Filipp was hit by a pitch, Joe Effenberger hit a two-run triple to center. He scored a batter later off an RBI ground out by Caden Homniok.
Carter picked up the five-out save by allowing one hit and no runs. Sweeny had the tying run at the plate in the seventh, but Carter induced a grounder to the shortstop Dixon, who flipped it to Merka at third for the force out.
“I felt like I was struggling at the plate so I was happy to come in and help my team,” Carter said. “It’s humbling especially in Texas to go back-to-back. It’s hard to explain the feeling I have right now.”
Utah signee Sean Bolin earned the win by allowing three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Sweeny stranded eight base runners.
“It’s honestly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Bolin said. “I’m excited for college ball, but it’s hard to top what we’ve done here. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys.”