AUSTIN — Argyle felt like it was only a matter of time before it would break things wide open in Wednesday’s Class 4A state semifinal against La Vernia at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
The No. 1 Eagles scored a run in each of the first three innings by taking quality at-bats and executing with runners in scoring position, but the Bears were still hanging around — at least until Argyle came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth.
The Eagles exploded for 13 runs in the frame to set a 4A state tournament record for runs in an inning, and eventually coasted to a 16-0 win over La Vernia to advance to Thursday’s state championship game against Sweeny.
Argyle (39-1-1), which defeated Sweeny 5-0 in last year’s title game, is one win from a second consecutive state championship.
“We knew we were about to come through with it, and we felt like the flood gates were about to open up any second,” Argyle junior Bo Hogeboom said. “We were barreling balls up left and right, so we knew at some point they would start to fall, and they did.”
Hogeboom, the only player in the Eagles’ starting lineup who didn’t have experience playing in the state tournament, was as composed as ever while continuing his streak of strong at-bats in the postseason. The Houston commit started the big fourth inning by reaching base on a hard-hit ball to third, just before the game got out of hand.
Preston King had an RBI single, Brenden Dixon had an RBI sacrifice fly, Chad Ricker added an RBI single, Hayden Clearman had an RBI double, Austin King had an RBI single and Hogeboom returned to the plate to drive a two-run single to right.
Dillon Carter added a two-run single to center, Ricker had another two-run single and Argyle added two more runs on a pair of errors to cap a frame that featured nine hits and five La Vernia miscues.
Hogeboom finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs in his first state tournament game.
“He started really getting comfortable about three weeks ago and settled in,” Argyle coach Ricky Griffin said. “We felt like he could do that all year long, but we didn’t hand it to him on a platter. He’s had to earn it, and now that he’s done that he’s coming in and hitting the ball really well.”
Ricker put together another strong outing on the mound to back up the dominant offensive showing, throwing a shutout while allowing four hits and three walks. His streak of 21 consecutive hitless innings came to an end just two batters into the game, but he responded by battling his way out of a handful of jams and extended his scoreless innings streak to 29.
AUSTIN — Argyle coach Ricky Griffin was fairly confident all four Class 4A teams in the stat…
Ricker (3-for-3, three RBIs) was one of five Argyle players to have at least two RBIs, joining Hogeboom, Clearman (1-for-2, three RBIs), Carter (2-for-3, two RBIs) and Preston King (2-for-2, two RBIs).
“You don’t come to the state tournament in Austin and expect to throw no-hitters,” Griffin said. “I promise you he was trying to, but he made really, really good pitches. I thought we played smart today, not just offensively but defensively.”
Argyle will now turn its attention to Sweeny, which defeated Kilgore 5-1 in the first 4A semifinal. The state championship game is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s exciting,” Hogeboom said. “It’s a rematch, and it’s going to be a really fun, intense game.”
Sweeny 5, Kilgore 1
Quinton Martin starred both at the plate and in the field for Sweeny, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs while also making a diving catch in right field to fuel the Bulldogs’ win over Kilgore.
Martin’s performance pushed Sweeny on to the state final for the second straight year.
Incarnate Word commit Jackson Kiddy got the start for the Bulldogs and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, four walks and one run. Kilgore loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh before Texas A&M commit Caden Homniok took over on the mound and forced a fly out to right to end the game.
Sweeny (31-9) fell to Argyle in last year’s state final when Bryson Hudgens (Weatherford) pitched a shutout to give the Eagles a state championship in a 5-0 decision.
Argyle 16, La Vernia 0 (5)
La Vernia 000 00 — 0 4 6 Argyle 111 (13)X — 16 12 0
WP — Chad Ricker (12-0). LP — Clayton Chadwick (5-1). 2B — Argyle: Chad Ricker, Hayden Clearman, La Vernia: Lance Kruse. 3B — Argyle: Preston King. Records: Argyle (39-1-1), La Vernia (28-12).
Sweeny 5, Kilgore 1
Sweeny 101 030 0 — 5 10 1 Kilgore 100 000 0 — 1 4 0
WP — Jackson Kirby (10-1). LP — Chase Hampton (12-3). 2B — Sweeny: Joe Effenberger, Quinton Martin. 3B — Kilgore: Jayce McFarland. Records — Sweeny (31-9), Kilgore (32-8).