Wall's Gully Flourishing in Altered Role for State-Minded Hawks
WALL, TX -- The no. 1-ranked Wall Hawks (35-0) are in familiar territory. They’re facing Brock in the playoffs for the third straight year, albeit a round later than expected and with different starters than expected at the beginning of the year.
Senior Ryan Gully was a starter for the Hawks’ state final run in 2017 then was sidelined in 2018 with an injury. This year he’s accepted and adjusted to his role as the nearly everyday shortstop and late reliever for the Hawks.
Gully, a Weatherford College signee, never fought the decision because he knew it was best for his team’s chances of getting back to the Dell Diamond.
“Baseball is a team sport. It’s nothing individual,” Gully said. “So, any role I have to do on the team, I’m more than happy to do it. I don’t wanna be a selfish person. I’m just trying to be a good teammate and whatever coach (Jason) Schniers tells me to do, is what I’m gonna do to the best of my ability.”
The decision to keep Gully in the infield stemmed from his recovery from the injury that kept him out all year last season. The recovery was smooth, but Gully had to wait for clearance to pitch again. During that time, Caleb Heuertz and Luke Young proved to be go-tos on the mound early on.
Gully made six starts in the postseason during his sophomore year and won all six, striking out 69 batters in 37.2 innings of work. This season, Gully has made one start in seven appearances and allowed just one run in 10 innings pitched with 22 strikeouts. With effectively three aces on their staff, Gully took to the infield to help out his team however he could.
“It’s kind of a luxury to have him in your back pocket in clutch situations when you need a big out or a big pitch,” Schniers said. “Luke and Caleb have done a great job and Ryan hasn’t had to be called upon in that situation. But I think it’s a matter of time before we get to that and he’s ready to go. He’s done a fantastic job playing for us on the infield.”
Schniers and Gully have talked about what his role is this season and the senior is “waiting back” to be called on in a big situation.
So, Gully has accepted his role and flourished. He’s hitting .406 with 27 RBIs and 47 runs scored in an offense that leads the state. Wall has outscored their opponents 397-53 with 15 shutouts in their 35 contests.
While most of those wins came via the long ball, Wall’s wins over Breckenridge were thanks to small ball and manufactured runs. That gives the Hawks confidence they can win a game no matter the circumstances.
“These guys, they’ve been playing good baseball all year long,” Schniers said. “So, they’re a confident group. Winning those games the way we did, finding a way, anyway possible to win that game one and then the way we kinda blew it open in game two. I think these guys feel they can win any type of ballgame.”
That confidence doesn’t mean the Hawks are looking past Brock, despite the Eagles’ stumbles this season. Brock and Wall were first and second in Texas High School Baseball’s Top 25 from March 11 to April 8. Then the Eagles dropped three out of four games in the second round of play in District 7-3A, which dropped them to 12th and bumped Wall to first.
In Schniers’ eyes, Brock is still the same dangerous team they’ve always been in the playoffs, but with a different, faster look.
“They’re tough. They’re pesky hitters,” Schniers said. “They get up on the plate, they wear pitches and they’re scrappy. So, we’re gonna have to throw strikes and locate pitches. Then when they put the ball in play, we’re gonna have to make plays behind (the pitcher) and hopefully limit their ability to use their speed by not allowing them to get on base.”
This rematch has been a year in the making, with Wall’s seniors wanting to exact their revenge after Brock left a sour taste in their mouth in the regional semifinals.
“All of us are really ready to play,” senior right fielder Gage Weishuhn said. “We want to go out there and get our revenge on Brock since they beat us last year and win both games.”
Heading into Wall’s rematch with Brock, Gully and the Hawks have fond memories of their 2017 meeting with the Eagles.
After dropping the first game of that regional semifinal series, Wall needed a clutch performance from somewhere. Gully delivered that with a complete game effort where he struck out 10 and allowed only two runs on four hits. That sparked Wall to win the final two games and eventually advance to the state tournament.
The senior doesn’t expect much to change from the atmosphere he experienced in 2017.
“Going back to sophomore year, it was probably one of the most fun games we played all season,” Gully said. “Knowing it’s probably gonna be the same way this year with a lot of intensity and a lot of loud fans and a lot of loud people. It’s just gonna be fun.”
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