State champs look beyond trophy

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After losing in the bi-district round in 2013 and dropping four straight district contests this season, a trip to the state tournament seemed out of reach for the Flower Mound High School baseball team, let alone the team’s first state championship in the sport.

But that is exactly what happened, as the Jaguars hammered their way through the playoffs with victories over L.D. Bell, South Grand Prairie, Mansfield, Southlake Carroll, Marcus, Pearland and San Antonio Reagan.

Coach Danny Wallace said 2014 was a magical season for his team and said that it is difficult to describe what being a part of it was actually like.

“It took us quite a while to find our niche,” Wallace said. “Our pitching carried us for quite a while. Late in the district season, the team kind of figured it out offensively. We were really pretty good offensively throughout the playoffs. It was fun to watch, and fun to be a part of as a coach.”

Wallace said he and the coaching staff knew all along they had a shot of advancing to state because of their superb pitching, but knew the bats would have to come around to go all the way.

Three players that made a big difference for the Jaguars offensively were Sean Wymer, Casey Jacobson and Noah Hill, all of which will be returning in 2015.

Wallace said he is very happy to have such a strong nucleus of players returning and said they do bring a lot to the team.

“Each one of them is a little different,” Wallace said. “Sean brings, and everyone will see this next year, a power arm, and a guy that hit close to .400 in the playoffs, which gave us a true clean up guy that people were afraid to pitch to…Noah is probably the ultimate team guy. He’s going to play any position, and that is what we love about him.

“He is a very good catcher, but we’re best when he plays second, and he’s worked there for us all year.
Casey has been about as solid as a shortstop can be. He just makes every play. He hits very well from the bottom third of the lineup, and he had some key hits in the playoffs.”

Wallace said that having these three players return is going to make his job a lot easier next season in a couple of different ways.

“It’s certainly going to be a luxury, because not only are they returning, but they are two-year returning starters,” Wallace said. “They are going to be very experienced and knowledgeable, and there are some other players that were juniors who will be back as well.

“We’re going to have some experience back, and that will be refreshing for me, because I won’t have to do all the coaching. When the team takes over the team, you have a better chance of being good.”

Wymer was selected to the state all-tournament team and said that winning a state championship is something that has not completely sunk in yet.

“It meant a lot to me, personally, because after we lost to L.D. Bell in the first round last year, you could see how all of the seniors felt,” Wymer said. “It meant a lot to come back and win it. I know a lot of them watched it and we’re still friends with a lot of them, so that made it special.”

Jacobson was also selected to the all-tournament team, said the objectives for next year are pretty straightforward for he and his teammates.

“We want to go for a repeat,” Jacobson said. “We want to try to go as far as we can, and just play as a team the way we did this year and have the same bond we had this season.”

In order to have another deep run and possibly win back-to-back state championships, Hill said that it will take another strong effort from his team, among other things.

“We’re definitely going to have to come together as a team,” Hill said. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back, which will really help, and we also have some good pitching, but we are going to need some guys to step up that are going to go out and give their all every time they’re out on the mound.

“We have to play the game the way it is supposed to be played; play hard every day and practice and work hard in the offseason to gel as group and give it all we’ve got all year.”

The state champs were honored on the field at the Texas Rangers game on July 9 at Globe Life Park in Arlington.


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