After losing six key seniors from the 2013 UIL State Tournament team, not many people thought that Salado would make another deep run in the 2014 playoffs.
But they never had any doubt.
“Not many teams can say they went to the regional finals back to back years,” senior catcher Cole Haag said. “We didn’t quite make it to Round Rock like we wanted to but we had a great season.”
Days after a 1-0 loss to Troy that ended their season one win shy of a return trip to the UIL State Baseball Tournament, members of the Salado Eagles reflected on their season and ensuing playoff run.
“We had a good season, honestly it ended a little shorter than we hoped it should, but we won a lot of games and had a good time,” senior pitcher Casey Frazier said.
Salado finished the season with a 28-9-1 record and made it to the Region III-2A final a season after making it to the state tournament.
“It ended too early and everybody knows it, but everything else this season was great,” said senior pitcher and infielder Britton Hawes. “I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with another group of guys. It was just an overall good season that ended too soon.”
The Eagles began the season ranked seventh in the state, but another deep postseason run was not a guarantee since Salado had to look for replacement for all-state designated hitter and second baseman Cody Giniewicz and short stop Jon Franz. The Eagles graduated four other all-district selections.
The Eagles entered the playoffs as the second seed out of District 22-2A, but soon faced a crossroad in their season.
Salado dispatched of Crawford in the bi-district playoffs, but lost Game 1 of their area playoff series to Teague 4-3.
“It was a long 11-inning game and it didn’t turn out well for us,” Haag said. “But coming back the next day, grinding out two games and coming out with two run rule games, it was a great feeling for the team.”
The Eagles committed 10 errors in 11 innings during Game 1. Games 2 and 3 would not be so dramatic as Salado dominated 10-0 and 11-1.
“I committed half of those in the game so that was an eye-opener from me,” Hawes said. “Going to the other games, I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that we’d come back.”
After eliminating Teague, Salado went on to sweep Clifton by a combined score of 9-0 in the regional quarterfinals and dominated Central Heights 11-0 in the regional semifinals.
Frazier had a memorable final game against Troy. He allowed just two hits, struck out eight and Troy’s only run was unearned.
“I thought this could be the last game I played and I had a feeling that we would come back and win, but we didn’t,” Frazier said.
The Eagles now look toward next season and a new challenge. Salado will move up to Class 4A and compete in District 25 against Burnet, Lampasas, Liberty Hill, Llano and Taylor.
Contact Albert Alvarado at email@example.com