ROUND ROCK, TX — Over the weekend the Cypress Ranch Mustangs were crowned the first ever Texas 6A Baseball State Champions. After a successful season in which they won district 17-6A, they made a stellar playoff run defeating Eisenhower, Lamar, Memorial, Deer Park, and Clear Creek to claim the Region III-6A title.
On Friday at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, TX, home of the Texas Rangers AAA affiliate The Round Rock Express, Cy Ranch began the final four with a matchup against Dallas Jesuit, a team that had just come off of an impressive series win against Oak Ridge in the Region II-6A Championship. The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead early in the game and held that lead until the bottom of the 6th when Jesuit tied the game at 1-1. Cy Ranch won the game on a suicide squeeze play in the top of the 7th sending them into the finals. Senior Sam Houston State commit Riley Gossett allowed just one run in his unforgettable performance on the mound for the Mustangs.
The next morning it was back to work for Cy Ranch. Their final opponents were the Arlington Martin Worriers. They had just defeated Alexander to qualify for the state finals and dominated their district capturing the 4-6A title.
Tyler Bielamowicz (1-4, R) led off the game with a single off of Martin P Nick Skeffington and Hayden Evans (1-3, 2B, SAC, R) followed with a sacrifice bunt. Elijah MacNamee (2-2, HBP, BB, RBI, R, SB) was hit by a pitch and Garrett Herrmann (0-3, BB) reached base on a throwing error from the Martin shortstop pulling his third baseman off the bag in an attempt to force out lead runner Bielamowicz. With the bases loaded and only one out Marshall Skinner (1-4, RBI) grounded out to first but scoring on the play was Bielamowicz. Cy ranch had a 1-0 lead early. Elijah MacNamee tweeted that he was going to put everything he had into the game. “I wasn’t just going to give up my word and not do it. I came out ready,” MacNamee said.
Trip White and Trey Proffitt both reached base with one out in the bottom half of the 1st but Mustangs P Brent Hebert got Josh Watson to pop up and struck out Tristen Lutz to end the threat.
After a quiet second inning Cy Ranch added another run when MacNamee hit a one-out single and later scored on a bizarre play. Skinner drove the ball into the left field and the Worrier left fielder misplayed the ball allowing MacNamee to score and Skinner to reach 2nd base. Cy Ranch took a 2-0 lead.
In the 4th inning, Hebert ran into a little bit of trouble again. He got two quick outs but Aaron Fanning got his second straight hit off of Hebert and then Tony Defilippo walked. He settled down and got Josh Avery to fly out ending another potential threat.
Cy Ranch added their final run in the 5th inning when Evans led off with a double and scored on a MacNamee single. They did get a runner in scoring position in the 6th inning when Weston Brown (1-3) had a leadoff single and Ryan Leftwich (0-2 SAC) sacrificed him to 2nd. He would be left stranded. Also in the 7th MacNamee and Herrmann had back-to-back walks but were stranded as well.
The bottom of the 5th is where Hebert showed why he was named the MVP. He was in a jam when Nathan Soroka and Grant Jones led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Soroka advanced to third on the hit from Jones so there were runners on the corners with nobody out. White was retired by Hebert, Jones was caught stealing trying to get into scoring position by Skinner, and Proffitt flew out to LF resulting in no runs. Herbert’s final line score was 5 IP, 0R, 5H, 2BB, K on his way to Finals MVP honors.
Bielamowicz came on in relief and pitched two scoreless innings. “I knew we were going to have the offensive support to put up some runs and allow me to come in and finish things off and bring a championship back to Cypress,” Bielamowicz said.
In the 7th inning Masen Hibbeler (2-3, SB) made the first out of the inning catching a blooper that he ran down making a full extension to prevent the leadoff runner from getting on base. “I saw it in the air, took off for it, and I was like…oh I have a shot at this ball! I made the play and it just felt great,” Hibbeler said. The Mustangs got the final two outs and celebrated on the pitchers mound by dog piling on each other. Hugs and congratulatory words were shared amongst the team and coaches as they were crowned the 6A State Champions. “Great pitching performance from Hebert. Tyler came down and shut things down for us. We had great defense the whole time in the playoff, timely hits today…it was just a great team effort all the way around,” Coach Pope said.
Story by Mark M Johnson