AUSTIN — Seven years ago, Argyle had never been to the baseball playoffs.
That was before Ricky Griffin took over as the school’s head coach. Seven years later and under Griffin’s guidance, the Eagles are one game away from bringing home the school’s first baseball state championship.
Argyle faces the College Station Cougars at 6:30 p.m. today at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin for the Class 3A state championship.
At the beginning of the year, Griffin knew he had quality players to work with, but as the year progressed, his squad proved it could be the one to bring Argyle a chance at the state title.
“You never know what team’s going to do it,” Griffin said. “Starting out the year, I knew we had two good arms, but I wasn’t sure about the team. You just don’t ever know how it’s going to come together. Some teams just seem to come together and get hot at the right time.”
The Eagles (32-9-1) could make the most of their first state baseball tournament appearance and become only the third school in state history to bring home a Class 3A football state title and the 3A baseball state championship in the same season. La Grange (2000-01) and Carthage (2008-09) are the only other schools to accomplish the feat.
Argyle earned its berth in today’s game with a 5-1 victory over Sinton in Thursday’s first semifinal; College Station (34-6-1) defeated Lubbock Cooper 9-8 in eight innings in the other.
Argyle senior left-hander Parker Mushinski will start the game for the Eagles. Mushinski, a Texas Tech signee, enters the contest with a 7-2 record this season and a 2.37 ERA. He is 2-1 in the postseason with a 2.14 ERA.
“I hope he comes out like he has in the playoffs,” Griffin said. “If he does, he’s going to give them problems.”
The Cougars will put junior MacGregor Hines (8-2) on the mound. Hines is one of several College Station players that have orally committed to a Division I school — one of the main reasons the Cougars were ranked first in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 3A polls for much of the year.
Hines only threw 15 pitches in an inning of work against Cooper on Wednesday.
Hine is committed to Florida, joining fellow teammate outfielder Ryan Johnson (TCU), catcher Baylor Rowlett (Oklahoma State), outfielder Cody Staab (Rice) and pitcher Kyle Richardson (Texas A&M) as Division I pledges.
None of the aforementioned players are seniors, as the school has only been open for two years.
College Station head coach Scott Holder said his team will need to keep Argyle from running the bases like it did Wednesday, when the Eagles stole nine bases against Sinton.
“They’re a very athletic team,” Holder said. “They like to keep their runners in motion and create problems that way. That’s what they really do well.”
Both teams are coming off big wins in the semifinals, and parties from both teams said they have to put Wednesday’s wins in the past as both teams are vying for their first state title.
Argyle junior Hunter Markwardt said the Eagles will try to forget about their first win in the state tournament and worry about picking up the second one as soon as they get back to the hotel.
“That means nothing if we can’t win the next one,” Markwardt said.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.