Eaton two wins from first state title in school history

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018.
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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 Region I final series 2-1 over Amarillo last weekend to clinch a berth at the state tournament. The Eagles will play Kingwood Park in the 5A semifinal at 4 p.m. Thursday in Round Rock.

If they win, they will play for the state title at noon Saturday.

CHASING HISTORY — The Eaton Eagles won the 5A Region I title last weekend and are now two victories away from their first state championship in school history. Photo courtesy Mike Fischer.

“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.

“It’s been incredible,” said Fritchen of Eaton’s season. “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 31-9-1 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 Cooper in the regional semifinal. Eaton’s only playoff loss came in Game 2 against Amarillo.

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

The Eaton baseball team practiced Tuesday morning in preparation for their 5A state semifinal game on Thursday. Photo courtesy Anthony Tosie, Northwest ISD.

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’s opponent in the semifinal — Kingwood Park — is 32-12 on the year. The Eagles are the highest ranked team in 5A entering the state tournament.

The Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association has them ranked 8th. The winner of Eaton and Kingwood Park will play the winner of Forney and Corpus Christi Veterans for the championship.

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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