Hawks Ready for "Unfinished Business" at State Tournament
WALL, TX -- They say it’s best to leave the past in the past, but don’t tell the no. 1-ranked Wall Hawks that.
After losing in the 2017 Class 3A state championship game, Wall is ready to avenge that loss two years later at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
“It’s one of those goals that you set out, every team across the state sets out and puts in their goals at the start of the year,” head coach Jason Schniers said. “We’re one of the four teams that achieved that goal. I can’t say enough about these kids. They’ve worked all year long and gave themselves the opportunity to get that chance and get back to the state tournament. … We’re excited to be going back.”
The Hawks return nine players from the roster of their state runner-up season in 2017. Four of those nine started for Wall and all of them are still trying to get that sour taste of second place out of their mouth.
Seniors Ryan Gully, Gage Weishuhn and Tanner Seider, as well as junior Caleb Heuertz were the four starters who fell to Nacogdoches Central Heights 10-0 in five innings.
“We didn’t like it at all. Not that we got sad about it, but it made us a little mad,” Gully, a Weatherford College signee, said of the 2017 loss. “We knew that we had some unfinished business. Although we were the team to go the furthest at that point in Wall baseball, we knew our job wasn’t done and we knew we had to get back there and try and win a state championship.”
With how close they came two years ago, they know it’s time to bring home the school’s first-ever state baseball title.
“It’s still incredible to get (to state). But after what happened in 2017, we just need to get it done,” said Heuertz, who was a freshman in 2017. “We don’t need what happened last time. We wanna get this job done.”
The experience will come in handy for the Hawks. It won’t feel new.
They know the ins and outs of Dell Diamond in Round Rock and shouldn’t be awestruck of the Triple-A ballpark when getting to the batting cages at 7:00 a.m. to warm up for their semifinal.
“It’s an experience we all learned from,” Schniers said. “(Sunday), I’m filling out the team packet and getting all of our team information sent in. It’s something I’ve done before, it wasn’t brand new to us. I think the kids will be the same way. Nine-o-clock start? That’s early, but our kids will know where to go. We’ve done it before. I think that’s gonna be an advantage.”
Their drive to get back started early and eventually snowballed into a 37-1 record, the best in the state in Class 3A.
“I think you see it first going through tournament play,” Schniers said. “We set our schedule up with some pretty tough tournaments and some good competition. They rolled through that. We made it through district undefeated. That came to an end this past week. It’s one of those things where it would’ve been nice to go undefeated.”
The Hawks’ undefeated run came to an end against rival Brock in the regional final, but the Hawks think that lone loss could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to them.
“We probably needed that game to be lost so we know how it feels and we can come back and win the next one,” Seider said.
Thirty minutes after the loss, Wall put a historic beatdown on their rival with a 20-1 win in five innings and officially booked their spot back in the state tournament.
The Hawks will meet with state tournament debutant Kirbyville (33-7-1) on Friday at 9:00 a.m. The winner will face the winner of the Blanco-Van Alstyne semifinal, which will take place after Wall’s semifinal.
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