Baseball: Eaton one win from state title

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, June 9, 2018
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Chasing History

CHASING HISTORY – The Eaton Eagles won the 5A semifinal over Kingwood Park 3-2 in extra innings on Thursday. Eaton will play Forney in the championship at noon Saturday. Photo courtesy of Mike Fischer

In just their second season playing at the varsity level, the Eaton Eagles now have the opportunity to play for something else.

A state championship.

Eaton won the 5A semifinal in dramatic fashion, edging Kingwood Park 3-2 in extra innings Thursday. The Eagles will play Forney for the championship at noon Saturday in Round Rock.

“Once the guys realized how good they could really be there was no looking back,” said Eaton coach Jeremy Fatheree. “They don’t question themselves. It doesn’t matter who’s pitching against us or who they’re pitching to. They know they can get it done.”

Several members of the team, like outfielders Colbie Fritchen and Cole Plowman, are from Wise County. Both Fritchen and Plowman live in Newark.

Fritchen delivered the walk-off hit in the eighth inning, sneaking a 2-1 pitch just past the outstretched arms of Kingwood Park’s third baseman.

“It’s been incredible,” said Fritchen of Eaton’s season on Tuesday before heading to Round Rock. “From day one we’ve been working so hard. It’s so exciting. We’ve earned this.”

Eaton went a perfect 14-0 in District 6-5A, capturing its first league championship in school history. They are 32-9-1 overall on the season.

The Eagles won eight straight games to start the playoffs. Eaton beat Denton Ryan in the bi-district round and went on to sweep Grapevine – the state runner up last season and state champion in 2016 – in the area round.

“I told them after they beat Grapevine in two [games], ‘Y’all could win a state championship,'” Fatheree said. “A Northwest ISD baseball program has never been this far. It means a lot.”

After knocking off Richland in a one-game regional quarterfinal series, the Eagles swept Abilene Cooper in the regional semifinal. Eaton’s only playoff loss came in Game 2 of the regional final against Amarillo.

The Eagles are averaging 6.8 runs per game this season. Opponents are managing just 2.9 runs per game against them.

Fatheree credits Eaton’s balanced approach at the plate and getting contributions from every part of the order for the Eagles’ offensive prowess.

“I can’t imagine it’s very easy to pitch to us,” Fatheree said. “When you have your No. 9 hole hitting balls out of college parks and your No. 8 hole is ground-rule doubling to the opposite field, it’s a great thing to have.”

Eaton was the highest ranked team entering the 5A tournament.

The Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association has them ranked 8th. If the Eagles can top Forney on Saturday, they will make history for Eaton High School and Northwest ISD.

And Plowman had a simple message for his hometown of Newark.

“We’re going to win it all,” Plowman said. “We’ve got it for them.”

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