— By GREG WEBB
ROUND ROCK — In terms of athletic performance, and enjoying success at a high level, a sage adage is to “act like you’ve been there before.” None of the four teams in the Class 4A State Baseball Tournament had been there before, but there was certainly one who played the part.
Aledo played near errorless baseball in its two-game stint at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, enjoyed masterful pitching and enough hitting to best the other bests in the state, culminating with a 4-0 victory over the Victoria East Titans in the championship match on Friday.
Aside from formidable talent of the Aledo baseball team who seemed to find their apex of play level at precisely the right time, the two handfuls of Bearcats who have played in the “Big Show” before proved to be a good advantage.
“Our guys who played football helped set the tone for competing at this level and as we went through the playoffs,” said Aledo head baseball coach Chad Barry. “Obviously its a different game, but the mentality is the same.
“You have to prioritize and block out all of the external distractions.”
Aledo senior hurler Taco Anderson, who pitched a 3-hit gem and was named the Championship Game’s Most Valuable Player by the press writers, acknowledged the clear advantage of being able to focus on the task at hand.
I really think we developed nerves of steel because of the experience we had in football,” Anderson said. “We were playing in front of 30,000 people in football, so I think that prepared us well, even though the it’s a different sport.
“And that helped the team as a whole, as well.”
Friday’s title match was set up when Aledo eliminated Hallsville, 9-1, and the Titans beat George Ranch. 4-1.
The 4A State Final was a meeting of two teams who did not claim titles in there own district. Aledo went into postseason as the third seed from District 7, the Titans as District 30’s second seed.