ROUND ROCK – For the first time since 1995, the D'Hanis Cowboys sit atop the high school baseball mountain.
D'Hanis (25-4) took down the New Home Leopards (20-3) 4-0 on Thursday to claim the Class 1A state baseball championship at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
The title is the second in school history.
"I'm just grateful and excited," said head coach Todd Craft. "I got hired in D'Hanis in 1997, so two years after the first state title (in 1995). So I've walked under that state championship sign in D'Hanis for 23 years and now to be a part of one, it's just an honor."
D'Hanis got a great start on the mound from tournament MVP Kyle Looper, who pitched five innings and gave up no runs on two hits while striking out six. In the sixth inning, the Cowboys turned to Game 1 starter and Texas A&M signee Alex Magers to seal the deal.
Magers made quick work of the Leopards, striking out three in two innings of work.
"I told Coach Craft at the beginning of the day, if it came down to it, I wanted to close this thing out," Magers said. "I wanted the ball. I wanted to finish this thing out for us."
The key for the Cowboys offensively was situational hitting, starting in the first inning with Jacob Hutto's RBI single through the left side that brought home Josh Rivera for the 1-0 lead.
That was the game's lone score through three innings as Looper and New Home starter Kaleb LeClair both got comfortable on the hill. However, D'Hanis flipped the script in the fourth inning.
Ethan Reyes got things going in the frame, dropping a two-out single into shallow left field to score Jacob Van Damme. Then with Reyes at first base and the speedy Luke Langfeld at third, the Cowboys got aggressive, going for the double steal and executing it to perfection. New Home catcher Bode Stewart's throw was off the mark, allowing Langfeld to easily cross home for a 3-0 lead.
Perhaps the most impressive offensive statistic? All four of the Cowboys' runs came with two outs, something Craft says is the mark of a good team.
"I went to a clinic last summer and listened to a coach talk about the Round Rock 6. It was about the six things you need to do to be a state champion, one of which was two-out hitting," Craft said. "We reiterated it during this playoff run and it really worked for us this weekend."
The baseball team's victory marks a banner week for D'Hanis High School. Last Saturday, the softball team beat Cherino 9-7 to take home the state championship, marking only the sixth time in UIL history that the same school won both the baseball and softball championships in the same year.