A long time coming, Wylie wins 2016 4A baseball championship


AUSTIN, TX - History was made once again for Abilene Wylie in Thursday night's Class 4A state championship game.

After winning the program's first state tournament game in the semifinals, the Bulldogs (32-3-1) went for all the marbles in front of a loud crowd at Disch Falk Field in Austin.

After six previous attempts in the tournament fell short, this year's seventh saw Wylie flip the script, defeating Salado 3-2.

In the first inning, Mac Mueller got Wylie started with a single to score Zach Smith, making it 1-0 Bulldogs. Later in the bottom of the second, Riley Hedge added to the lead with a big blast to left field that brought home Cameron Hanna. Wylie was up, 2-0. Things got interesting in the sixth, as Salado loaded the bases, and a controversial walk from Mueller drove in an unearned run. It was 3-1 Wylie and the fans weren't happy. After another run scored cutting the Bulldog's lead to just one, John Paul Topel retired the side with a sliding catch on a pop up bunt, then headed back to third for the double play himself. Topel looked like superman, helping keep the Wylie lead, 3-2. So then, with two out in the seventh, Wylie captured the victory, as Zach Smith fielded a grounder and made the play to Bryce Gist at first, ending the game.

Wylie was crowned this 2016 state baseball champions -- the first in the Bulldogs' baseball program history.

Finally, Bulldogs head coach Clay Martin and company had gotten it done, bringing home the hardware.

"It was just a very nerve-wracking experience," Martin after the game. "I mean for everybody, but you don't have any control over it when you're coaching, I think it's maybe even more so. But those guys they performed amazingly there at the end of the game, and be able to be in a situation where the time runs to the seconds and clutch play to make the final out is huge."

Mueller, a senior who will play for Rice University, pitched a complete game – his final game for the Bulldogs.

Looking back at the game, Mueller said it came down to his team's poise, saying "I think finally we just put it all together and our time came. We executed when we were supposed to execute and didn't get all caught up in the moment and it just really paid off in the end."

Lane Bourland, who had an outstanding season behind the plate, added the win accomplished a goal.

"We came in and had a chip on our shoulder," he said, pointing to Wylie's semifinal loss last year. "Coming in this year we called it the revenge tour to come back and not get a medal but get a ring."

Mission accomplished. Congratulations to the 2016 4A state baseball champs, the Wylie Bulldogs.