ODESSA — Zach Drury grasped the full attention of every spectator watching Friday’s Class 7A, District 8 championship as he threw no-hitter, striking out 10, and led Wiregrass Ranch to its first baseball title, 1-0 over No. 1 seed Sickles.
“It feels real great. We just made history and it couldn’t have come in any better way” Drury said. “We played as a team.”
It was lights out for the Gryphons from the moment Drury threw his first fastball down the middle of the plate. He threw just 89 pitches, pacing the Bulls (18-6) to a smooth victory by giving up only one walk and one hit batter. The only other runner to reach came on an error.
“Getting ahead was the key. That and a low pitch count,” Drury said. “I wasn’t going for the strikeouts but they came easy because I was just trying to let them hit the ball.”
Drury also had help from his catcher, Alex Goebel. In the top of the third inning, Goebel drove in Richie Piazza from second base on a hard hit single up the middle.
“I didn’t think it would get through” Goebel said. “I just booted it out there; it just got through the way we needed it to.”
Sickles had one opportunity to put pressure on the conservative pitcher when the Gryphons (17-7) put runners on first and second in the bottom of the fourth inning with one out. But Drury had some tricks up his sleeves, using his slider and curveball to strike out consecutive batters.
“It’s my first year as the head coach and the reason I took this job is because I wanted to see kids play the game well and the right way. And that’s exactly what happened tonight,” Wiregrass coach Marshall McDougal said.
The Bulls host 7A-7 runnerup Brandon in Wednesday’s region quarterfinals. Sickles travels to Durant, also on Wednesday.