Georgetown wins 5A state high school baseball title behind pitcher Jacob Hadden
ROUND ROCK — The euphoria of the moment was something Georgetown coach Jordan Vierra and his players will never forget.
The Eagles, wearing gold medals after a 2-1 victory over Friendswood in the Class 5A state championship game Saturday at Dell Diamond, were summoned by their coach for one last team huddle.
Vierra, with an unmistakable roar, sent a message even Jimmy Johnson would be proud of.
"How ’bout those Eagles!"
The Eagles hollered in unison, and a partisan crowd wearing blue ate it all up. This was Georgetown's third trip to the state championship game but its first team title.
One by one, the players and coach were draped with shiny gold medals by school board President Elizabeth McFarland. This was a game won with pitching, defense and a home run that will be remembered in Georgetown for years to come.
No one performed better than pitcher Jacob Hadden, who allowed only four hits and one unearned run. He was also the man of the moment when he picked off Ayden Pearcy at third base in the seventh to win it.
Pearcy, who doubled to start the inning, reached third with two outs. After leadoff hitter Dylan Maxey was walked intentionally, he bolted to second to steal a base. Hadden calmly stepped off the rubber, noticed that Pearcy was well off third base and picked him off.
"He was like a deer in headlights," Hadden said. "He just froze."
That bizarre ending was no surprise to Vierra.
"It's a play we work on every week in practice," said Vierra, referring to a runner attempting to steal second with a runner already on third.
Georgetown (35-7) showed its power early when third baseman Logan Smith belted a homer to left in the second inning. There was confusion on the play, though, because third base umpire Grant Dickerson ruled that it had bounced off the wall into play. While Friendswood left fielder Kyle Lockhart slowly trotted to the ball — believing it was a home run — Smith bolted around the bases and slid home without a throw to put the Eagles up 2-0.
Official scorekeeper Logan Lawrence and several media members in the press box believed the ball struck the railing behind the wall and should have been ruled a home run without the drama.
Friendswood cut the margin to 2-1 in the third inning with the help of an infield error by Georgetown and a run-scoring single by shortstop Reed South.
Georgetown helped itself, though, with some brilliant defense to keep its lead. With one out in the fifth, Smith made a diving stop of a grounder headed to the hole and threw out a runner. The inning ended when right fielder Landon Hyle made a diving catch.
Georgetown senior and team leader Zach Mazoch praised his pitcher, who was unanimously voted the game's MVP.
"(Hadden) didn't even have his best stuff, but he fought and fought and fought," Mazoch. "The best thing he did today was lead."
Across the field, Friendswood pitchers Easton Tumis and Griffon Kasemeyer were strong, too. They combined to scatter five Georgetown hits while striking out five.
After the shouting had stopped, Vierra looked up at the Georgetown crowd, which gave a home-field advantage to the Eagles. He was holding the state championship trophy under his shoulder.
"Back in August I asked the guys what would it take to make it this far," he recalled.
On Saturday, the Eagles gave their answer.