Expectations were through the roof for the Wylie baseball team this season, but the Bulldogs seemed to be handling the pressure pretty well through the first half of the season.
Midway through their district schedule, the Bulldogs were 17-2-1 on the season and 4-0 in district. In the four games against their district opponents, Wylie scored 41 runs and only allowed 2.
“We are playing pretty well right now, and we are only going to get better,” said senior Jared Asbill.
The Bulldogs came into the season with virtually the same team it had last year when Wylie advanced all the way to the state semifinals and lost to Argyle, which went on to win the state championship.
The team lost four seniors but returned 7 starters and a very experienced group of pitchers. Members of the team include Mack Mueller, Lane Bourland, Jared Asbill, John Paul Tople, Riley Hedge, Blake Johnston, Clay Stephens, Colin Moore, Jaxson Money, Mason Schubert, Brooks Pepper, Cameron Hannah, Bryce Gist, Conner Carlton, Zach Smith, Hutton Frazier and Tyler Henson.
That experience had Wylie ranked #1 in the state from the start of the season and everyone expecting an automatic return to state. But the Wylie seniors weren’t taking that for granted. They were determined to keep the hype from becoming a distraction.
“We don’t think about it much,” said Mack Mueller, a senior pitcher and outfielder. “We set the expectations high but after we set that goal, it’s a matter of playing. Instead of looking at the big picture, we narrow it down and look at it on a smaller level.”
Senior John Paul Tople agreed.
“Our #1 goal is to work hard every day,” he said. “We don’t get big heads over it. We don’t talk about it much.”
One of the strengths of the baseball team is the close bond between the players.
“We are all best friends,” said senior Riley Hedge. “There is no one on the team that isn’t a friend. We try to spend time together as a team. That helps develop our team chemistry.”
“This year we are like a band of brothers,” agreed fellow senior Lane Bourland. “A lot of these guys have been my friends since kindergarten. We’ve grown up together.”
That comradery coupled with a ton of experience on the field and a group of solid, veteran pitchers make the Bulldogs capable of meeting those expectations. Having been to state last year, also should prove helpful to this year’s team.
“We will know what to expect in the long run and we will know what it takes – we’ve been there done that before,” Asbill said. “It will only help us.”
By the time this magazine hits the stands, the Bulldogs will be into the playoffs. Check WylieGrowl.com for updates.
By that time, the Bulldogs hope to be one step closer to their ultimate goal – a state championship. They remember well the feeling last year when they won the regional championship. The Bulldogs dog-piled in the middle of the field when they realized they had qualified for state.
“We still to this day talk about our dog pile last year,” Lane said. “That’s what we are looking forward to again. But you’ve got to win the big game.”