It’s been a history-making year for Chico athletics, and the Dragon baseball team has played a huge role – a role they’re still playing.
For the first time in 20 years, Chico qualified for the playoffs with a second place finish in district. Last week they took it a step further with a postseason series win over Lipan in three games.
This weekend they get their biggest test. Chico (19-10) was set to begin their Region II Class A area round playoff series against No. 3 Bosqueville (23-5) Friday. The series continues Saturday at 1 p.m. in Granbury, with game three to follow if needed.
“This is really a good group of kids,” Chico coach Brian McBeth said. “We just missed out on the playoffs last year. They had a goal of a district championship this season, and we just missed getting there.”
The success all the athletic programs have enjoyed throughout the year has filtered down to the baseball program. Winning seasons in football and basketball, along with great performances in track and golf, have the Dragons flying high to end the school year.
The sense of accomplishment felt after a playoff basketball win presented itself again last weekend with another taste of playoff success.
“They were all excited,” McBeth said. “They had a thirst to get it done, and they enjoyed holding that trophy.”
To keep it going, the Dragons have to take down one of the state’s powers in baseball. Coming off a state title in 2007, Bosqueville looks primed for another run after finishing perfect in league play.
“They [Bosqueville] are a good baseball team and a great program,” McBeth said. “They have two of the best pitchers in the state.
“We’ve got to play mistake-free, make the routine plays, and make them play perfect defense.”
Chico has prided itself on offense all season and will need to turn to it again to pull off the upset.
But the offense will also play a key role. The Dragons boast a .400 team batting average, led by senior Hunter Clarke who hits .478. Dalton Tullos is right behind with a .474 average, and a team-leading 36 RBI.
“We swing the bat well, but we spend a lot of time on it,” McBeth said. “Plus, I inherited a lot of kids who could already play.”
Another senior, Hunter York, leads the pitching staff with a 1.52 ERA and 99 strikeouts. He is scheduled to start game two of the series.