The Wylie Bulldogs Baseball Team won the state championship, becoming the first Wylie team ever to accomplish that feat.
The Bulldogs had been to the state tournament six previous times, including last year, but had never advanced to the finals, must less won it.
But with the majority of that team returning, expectations were huge this year and were fueled by the fact that Wylie was ranked No. 1 in the state to start the season.
The Bulldogs did not disappoint.
The team never relinquished the No. 1 ranking, only lost three games all year, cruised to the district championship and came up huge when the going got tough in the playoffs.
“It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to finish it off,” Coach Clay Martin said. “It’s such a special deal for the team and for the coaches and for the school and for the community. That’s been the most special part.”
The Bulldogs faced their first major test in the regional finals when they had to play a one-game playoff against No. 8 ranked Godley. The Bulldogs fell behind and were trailing 5-2 going into the final inning.
But Wylie rallied to score five runs on just one hit and win the game 7-5.
“I was just very proud of the way that the kids fought back and took advantage of the opportunities they had,” Martin said.
The win sent Wylie to the state tournament for the second year in a row.
Sophomore Connor Carlton pitched the entire game in the state semifinals, where Wylie jumped out to an early lead and then withstood a rally by Texarkana Pleasant Grove to take a 7-5 victory.
Wylie did the same thing in the finals against Salado. Wylie scored a run in each of the first three innings to jump out to a 3-0 lead, but Salado rallied back in the sixth inning and scored two runs. But Wylie stayed calm and closed out the game to win the state championship 3-2.
MacK Mueller pitched the complete game, and third-baseman John Paul Tople had several huge defensive plays to help Wylie get the victory.
MacK was named the state tournament MVP, and Lane Bourland, John Paul Tople, Zach Smith and Cameron Hanna made the All-Tournament Team.
This year’s team includes a strong senior class of nine, who helped keep the team focused all year.
“It’s a special group,” Martin said. “Those guys have done a great job in leadership. They did an excellent job.”
The Bulldog seniors include MacK, Lane, John Paul, Jared Asbill, Riley Hedge, Blake Johnston, Clay Stephens, Colin Moore and Jaxson Money.
Other members of the team include Mason Schubert, Brooks Pepper, Cameron Hannah, Bryce Gist, Conner Carlton, Zach Smith, Hutton Frazier, Tyler Henson, Gatlin Martin, Brady Horn, Caleb Munton, Blake Smith and Sam King. The coaches are Martin, Mark James and David McIntire.