AUSTIN — Drew Gooch’s outing on Wednesday afternoon was nothing the Argyle Eagles have not seen before.
After all, Gooch has been turning in stellar playoff performances for Argyle since he was a freshman. But this time, the Eagles got to see Gooch at his best on the state’s biggest stage.
The TCU signee pitched a one-hitter in Argyle’s 5-1 victory over Sinton in the Class 3A state semifinals at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Argyle (32-9-1) advances to face College Station in today’s 3A state championship game at 6:30 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. College Station defeated Lubbock Cooper 9-8 in eight innings in the other semifinal.
“We’ve had some huge games where he’s pitched well in, but this is the biggest for him at Argyle,” Eagles head coach Ricky Griffin said.
Using a portfolio filled mostly with off-speed pitches, the left-hander gave up an unearned run while striking out six and walking one. The lone hit against him came in the sixth inning, when Sinton senior second baseman Hayden Sager roped a single up the middle.
The Eagles surrendered the Pirates’ only run following a two-base error in the sixth inning. By that time, however, Argyle led 4-0 and had already penciled in their spot in today’s title game.
Gooch picked up the outs he needed to make sure Argyle’s spot couldn’t be erased.
Coming in, Gooch was 9-0 with a 0.66 ERA. The win total increased and ERA decreased after he kept Sinton’s batters off-balance the entire contest.
“I’m probably not giving the guy on the hill [enough] credit,” Sinton head coach Gene Kasprzyk said. “He threw a one-hitter, and you’re not going to win too many games when you get one hit. He was good enough to beat a lot of [other] people today, as well.”
Argyle’s aggressiveness on the bases allowed Gooch to pitch with a lead for almost the entire contest.
In the bottom of the first, Argyle junior Hunter Markwardt reached on a bunt single, stole the next two bases and scored on a wild pitch by Sinton senior Trey Burk (9-2). Burk, who’s headed to Coastal Bend, allowed eight hits and two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Burk was relieved by Texas Tech signee Donivan Lopez after Burk left the game with what looked like an injury.
Argyle’s nine stolen bases kept the pressure on the Pirates (25-10-2), and the Eagles got Gooch all the run support he needed on a hot and humid afternoon in Austin.
“You know you’re going to get zero or one runs every time he [Gooch] comes up,” Markwardt said. “We know we just have to put up a couple of runs.”
Argyle tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning and one each in the fifth inning and sixth inning to clinch a spot in today’s title game.
Markwardt went 2-for-4 with a triple, while sophomore shortstop Tanner Boyzuick went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Argyle junior Cutter McDonald went 3-for-3 with two runs and three stolen bases. Coming into Wednesday’s game, McDonald was batting .483 in the postseason.
“I’m not going to even talk to him or look at him wrong, because it might get him out of this little streak he’s in,” Griffin said. “He has the ability to hit the way he’s hitting right now. He pressed early in the season and got a little frustrated. He’s finally relaxed, and he’s a really good hitter.”
Between Argyle’s aggressiveness and Gooch’s effectiveness, not much went wrong for Argyle in the state semifinals.
“It’s amazing,” Gooch said. “I’ve been trying to do what I’ve been doing all four years I’ve been here — trying to help my team win and trying to get to the state championship [game]. Now we’ve finally made it. It’s been an awesome ride.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.
Argyle 5, Sinton 1
WP — Drew Gooch (10-0). LP — Trey Burk (9-2). 3B — A: Hunter Markwardt. Records —Sinton (25-9-2), Argyle (32-9-1).