Grapevine started slowly in non-district play, but stands two wins away from the school's first state baseball title as the Mustangs wind up their season in Round Rock. kcasas@star-telegram.com
Grapevine started slowly in non-district play, but stands two wins away from the school's first state baseball title as the Mustangs wind up their season in Round Rock. kcasas@star-telegram.com

High School Sports

State-bound Grapevine baseball peaking at the right time

kcasas@star-telegram.com

June 08, 2016 4:36 PM

GRAPEVINE

After just one season as Grapevine’s assistant baseball coach, Steve Hutcherson took over as head coach and wanted to make sure he accomplished one thing early: do the little things that make a program great.

While watching another batting practice session Tuesday as the Mustangs (33-6-2) geared up for Thursday’s UIL Class 5A state semifinal with Whitehouse (25-11), pitching coach Tommy Maddox marveled at the lengths Hutcherson has gone for his team.

“Look at Hutch there throwing batting practice,” Maddox said. “He’s done that every time this year; he hasn’t broken out the machine once.

Grapevine head coach reflects on hiring pitching coach Tommy Maddox

Grapevine coach Steve Hutcherson and pitcher Kyle Flamm talk about the addition of former NFL QB Tommy Maddox, hired as Mustangs

kcasas@star-telegram.com

“Honestly it’s an expectation really, but that’s the kind of dedication it takes and the kind of dedication these kids deserve. Steve’s done that and more already.”

There are times this season where we cheered a guy going back to the dugout after striking out. It was probably an 11-pitch strikeout where the guy battled in the at-bat. There’s nothing wrong with that; I wanted guys to battle and I wanted them to battle without fear of losing their spot in the lineup.

Grapevine coach Steve Hutcherson

First pitch is 4 p.m. at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond.

And so Grapevine, which struggled some early on in nondistrict play, finds itself just two wins shy of the school’s first state title in baseball.

How they got there, though, doesn’t seem to be by accident.

The team hit .360 in the regular season. In the playoffs, the bottom of the order is producing as much as the team’s first four hitters.

“There are times this season where we cheered a guy going back to the dugout after striking out,” Hutcherson said. “It was probably an 11-pitch strikeout where the guy battled in the at-bat. There’s nothing wrong with that; I wanted guys to battle and I wanted them to battle without fear of losing their spot in the lineup.”

That kind of philosophy has worked its way into the team’s overall makeup.

I think our 1-through-9 hitters might be the best in the state of Texas and everyone just got hot at the right time. Every guy that goes up there, we have confidence that they’re going to grind out the at-bat.

Grapevine senior shortstop Ty Jones

The Mustangs’ only three playoff losses have been by scores of 2-1, 1-0 and 6-5.

“I knew we were going to be pretty good at the start of the year, but we just needed it to kind of come together,” senior shortstop Ty Jones said. “We do a lot of different things: get hits, lay down bunts, get runners on and just keep pounding.

“I think our 1-through-9 hitters might be the best in the state of Texas and everyone just got hot at the right time. Every guy that goes up there, we have confidence that they’re going to grind out the at-bat.”

.161 Senior left-hander Kyle Flamm’s ERA in five postseason starts

Senior left-hander Kyle Flamm (8-1), who is 3-1 in the playoffs, gets the ball in the semifinal. He has pitched one shutout and boasts a 1.61 ERA in five postseason starts.

“We’re just playing better and have more camaraderie than we’ve had in the last three years,” Flamm said. “We’ve all been friends for a while and just think we’re so much better defensively than we’ve been in the past.”

Grapevine sweeps its way to baseball state tournament

Grapevine beats Lake Dallas 6-1 to advance to 5A state baseball tournament

ssmajstrla@star-telegram.com

Grapevine 3B Ryan Drake keys 9-2 playoff win over Lake Dallas

Junior third baseman Ryan Drake went 3-for-4 with 4RBI Friday to lead the Mustangs past Lake Dallas in Game 1 of the 5A Region 1 Final series at Dallas Baptist University. Video by Matthew Martinez.

mmartinez@star-telegram.com

Grapevine baseball and football has former NFL QB Tommy Maddox in its corner

Former Steelers and Hurst LD Bell QB Tommy Maddox talks about his new role as pitching and running backs coach at Grapevine High School.

kcasas@star-telegram.com

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