No. 7 Sweeny (35-5) is heading to the State Championship after defeating No. 3 Godley (30-3) 3-0 in the second semifinal game on Wednesday afternoon at Disch-Falk Field.
“I’m just excited,” Sweeny head coach Mark Durham said. “I’m excited for these kids, I’m excited for the community. Every time you advance since [the playoffs] started, it’s just a sigh of relief. We’re exhaling a little bit right now, and tomorrow if we happen to hold that trophy up, we’ll just let it all out.”
It took a couple of innings for the Bulldog offense to get going, but they mustered just enough runs to support the great pitching performance. Junior Nathan Nance recorded Sweeny’s first hit in the third with a single to left-center. He came around to score later that inning on an error after a Ty Ringo single. Senior Jaden Bohlar drove in the next two runs with a double in the fourth inning.
“The bottom of our order has carried us a lot this year, Nathan Nance and Jaden Bohlar,” Durham said. “Those guys are huge. I tell everybody this: if we can just get the lead somehow and put pressure on the other team, I think our pitching and our defense is good enough to keep us in the game, and it was today.”
Junior Caden Homniok put forth an incredible effort on the mound for Sweeny. He pitched 6.1 innings before reaching his pitch count, striking out seven and giving up just four hits to contain a very dangerous Godley offense.
“That first inning I had, I guess jitters, but after that I was ready to go and pumped up,” Homniok said. “I’ve thought about this ever since I was a freshman and we went to round five and everyone thought we would get here and then we lost. Now we’re finally here and I couldn’t have dreamed it up like this.”
Homniok got some help from the defense behind him. Junior Blake Benavides made a great diving catch in center in the sixth to stymie a Godley scoring threat. Then to start the seventh, Nance flashed the leather up the middle to send the message that Sweeny would not be backing down.
Ringo took the mound in relief when Homniok was pulled and got two huge strikeouts to end the game. Durham said Ringo, who only threw 16 pitches, will likely get the start on Thursday.
Godley’s senior pitcher Brett Brown went the full seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. He also tallied two of Godley’s five hits.
Now, Sweeny gets its chance to take down No. 1 Argyle in the biggest game of the year.
“Are we supposed to beat them? I don’t know. Do we think we can beat them? Sure. Our guys are confident… they’re excited for the chance,” Durham said. “We’re here for a reason, because our kids are good. And their kids are good. Just lay all the chips on the table and let’s go.”
THSB Player of the Game: Caden Homniok, 6.1 IP with 7 K, 0 R, 4 H, 3 BB