No. 2 Sam Houston got off to a hot start, but once Barbe sophomore pitcher Jack Walker found his groove and the bats came alive the No. 1 Bucs took over to win their 10th Class 5A state championship 8-2 Tuesday evening at McMurry Park.
“Like I said yesterday (Monday), the team that plays the best is going to win and they (Barbe) came out and played today,” Sam Houston head coach Chad Hebert said. “They had 13 hits. Everything we threw up they barreled.
“They (Barbe) were ready to play and they deserve to win. We got hot early and Walker settled in and did what Walker does. We put some balls on the barrel early, but really didn’t do much to slow them down.”
Walker had control issues early and Sam Houston took advantage of it. Walker walked two batters in the first inning and courtesy runner Keegan Aaron scored on a wild pitch to put Sam Houston up 1-0.
The Bucs (38-3) tied it up in the bottom half of the inning on Brody Drost’s RBI single, but another walk and hit batter set up Braden Duhon’s two-out single that brought home Austin Norris for a 2-1 Sam Houston (36-5) lead in the second inning.
Walker took over after the Broncos’ second lead and retired six consecutive batters. He allowed just four base runners over the final five innings and finished with 10 strikeouts while holding the Broncos to two hits.
Drost tied the game at 2-2 in the third with an RBI double and scored the go-ahead run on Brayden Corley’s single to left field. Drost closed the door on the Broncos with a three-run home run in the sixth inning to earn Class 5A tournament MVP honors. He went 3 for 3 with five RBIs.
“That home run kind of sunk the ship a little bit,” Hebert said. “It is tough to fight back from six runs.
“He (Drost) is a heck of a player. He is a special kid.”
Kyle Bartley (6-3) took the loss for Sam Houston after allowing three earned runs on six hits in two and one-third innings.
Despite the loss, Hebert said that this year’s senior class set a new standard for the program after making three consecutive trips to the state tournament.
“You can measure success in a million different ways,” Hebert said. “I always talk to them about Proverbs 22:1.
“It is not about riches, gold and trophies. It is about having a good name and being a man of God. Hopefully, they take that with them forever because this is the best group of kids that I have ever been around. They set a standard at Sam Houston over the past three years. It is going to be hard for any class to top, but I am hoping that every class behind them can build on what they leave behind.”