Written by Corbett Smith
Martin breaks down under pressure, Cy Ranch pitching in 5A semis loss
ROUND ROCK — With disappointment in his eyes and a bronze medal around his neck, Arlington Martin senior Mitchell Peck said that he wanted a do-over.
Not just of Martin’s 6-0 loss to Houston Cypress Ranch in Friday’s Class 5A semifinal — where what had been a well-oiled Martin machine broke down under the pressure of the state tournament and the pitching of Cy Ranch’s Grant Slaughter.
But a replay of the entire season.
“I’d love to do this whole season again,” Peck said. “It’s been a lot of fun. We wouldn’t be happy unless we won state. It’s obviously disappointing … But it’s been the most fun season of my life. These guys have become my best friends.”
Peck was one of 13 seniors on Martin (36-6-1), which returned to state for the first time since the early ’90s, the heyday of standouts Ben Grieve and Todd Van Poppel.
Martin could never settle in against Slaughter, who pitched a three-hitter, striking out eight. When Martin did manage to reach base, it made uncharacteristic mistakes, “running ourselves right out of innings,” coach Curt Culbertson said.
“We would have liked to have shown up better here today, no question about it,” Culbertson said. “Not a good day to not play your very best. But that’s just the way this is. The season, just to get here, was a pretty impressive year for these boys.”
Cy Ranch (31-8) seemed to find the measure of Martin starter Nick Hendrix’s curveball in the third. When Hendrix, a Duke signee, fell behind in counts and had to rely on his fastball to catch up, Cy Ranch pounced, opening the scoring with three runs in the third.
“We sat on his fastball, and we knew his curveball was really slow, so we could react to it,” Cy Ranch shortstop Leon Byrd said.
The six-run margin of defeat was the largest for Martin all season.
A&M Consolidated 2, Corpus Christi Carroll 1: A strike away from elimination, A&M Consolidated scored twice in the top of the seventh to advance to its first Class 5A final.
Alec Paradowski, who went 3-for-3 as Consolidated’s No. 9 batter, hit the game-winning single off Courtney Hawkins, a first-round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox. A center fielder, Hawkins came in to pitch after Carroll starter O'Shea Dumes allowed the game-tying hit to Cody Hamilton earlier in the inning.
Follow @corbettsmithDMN on Twitter.