ARGYLE — Argyle baseball coach Ricky Griffin stood in a foyer full of students and parents, next to tables adorned in red and purple, and told those gathered that Wednesday’s ceremony was something special for a school of Argyle’s size.
Two of Griffin’s players, Drew Gooch and Parker Mushinski, became the latest from the Class 3A school to take a path to playing sports at the state’s major universities.
The left-handed pitchers were two of the many athletes around the country who signed national letters of intent. Wednesday marked the first day when recruits in basketball, baseball, volleyball and other sports could accept scholarship offers.
The first day recruits in football, soccer, track and field, cross country and water polo can sign is Feb. 5.
Gooch is headed to TCU after graduation, while Mushinski will be playing for Texas Tech.
“It’s always our dream,” Mushinski said of signing. “I’ve played with Gooch — summer ball, high school ball. It’s amazing that we signed together. I’ve grown up with him. It’s cool to see him produce and how he finished, and it’s just so exciting.”
The duo will be a staple of Argyle’s pitching rotation in the spring. Last year, Gooch was the team’s primary pitcher and finished with a 10-2 record and a 1.23 ERA. Gooch racked up 118 strikeouts and walked 20 batters in 74 innings pitched.
Mushinski pitched and played in the outfield last season. He batted .303 while going 5-1 on the mound with a 2.26 ERA.
Griffin said they are the third and fourth Argyle baseball players to receive Division I scholarships. Former Argyle standouts Pat Vickery and Austin Aune also signed with TCU. Aune left before his freshman year after he was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2012.
Griffin said Mushinski primarily relies on the high velocity of his pitches, while Gooch mostly depends on his off-speed pitches. However, Griffin said that Gooch has increased the speed of his fastball over the summer.
Gooch and Mushinski play summer baseball for the Dallas Tigers, a select baseball team. Griffin said their involvement outside of high school played a big role in their recruitment.
“The kids here do a great job of going throughout the summer and playing really high-quality baseball,” Griffin said. “While high school baseball is still recruited heavily, they also play summer baseball, and these guys play at the highest level that you can.”
Gooch viewed offers from Texas Tech and Rice before tabling both of them to play at TCU. Gooch has been the Eagles’ ace since he was a sophomore. He twice has beaten Texarkana Pleasant Grove, a team that’s reached the 3A state tournament six years in a row.
Gooch said he’s blessed to get an opportunity to pitch for the Horned Frogs, and that he’s excited to see what he, Mushinski and Argyle can accomplish this season.
“The way he throws, it’s just great to have him,” Gooch said of Mushinski. “We should do really well.”
Once the two players depart from Argyle, there’s a strong chance the two could play on the same field in college. TCU and Tech are in the Big 12, and the two lefties could find themselves pitching against each other.
“I just can’t wait,” Mushinski said. “Hopefully we get to throw against each other.”
Robertson signs with Angelo State
Argyle senior Brooke Robertson could have asked for better circumstances to sign her national letter of intent to play volleyball at Angelo State. Argyle was slightly more than 12 hours removed from its elimination from the 3A playoffs by Decatur in a five-set thriller.
But one of the main reasons Argyle has enjoyed success the last few years inked her paperwork to play at ASU, a member of NCAA Division II’s Lone Star Conference.
Robertson said Wednesday’s signing made the day following the playoff elimination a bit more bearable. She was far more excited about joining the Rambelles.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Robertson said. “I love the coach, I love the girls and I really like the school, so I’m really excited.”
Last season, Robertson recorded a team-high 425 kills, including 27 in Argyle’s state semifinal loss to Abilene Wylie. Robertson was the lone Lady Eagle named to the all-state tournament team.
“She’s been an example for the younger kids on hard work and dedication and how far that can take you,” Argyle coach Clarke Oberle said. “But in matches and stuff, she’s always been one to step up and get a big kill when we needed it or an ace when we needed it.”
Liberty’s McCann, Hawkins headed to major schools
Down the road in Argyle, another player signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at a Big 12 school.
Liberty Christian’s Connor McMann signed a letter to go to West Virginia in 2014. In 57 1/3 innings for the Warriors, McMann was 8-1 with a 2.44 ERA. He compiled 62 strikeouts and 21 walks. At the plate, he batted .402 with two home runs, 28 RBIs and a .461 on-base percentage.
Liberty catcher Benn Hawkins agreed to play for Air Force after graduation.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.