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Calallen baseball players Carroll and Mitchell in the spotlight for the state championship in Austin

AUSTIN – The Calallen baseball team failed to win a state championship last week at Disch-Falk Field.

But what happened on the mound is what baseball fans in South Texas saw last season, and the rest of the state got to see on its biggest stage.

Sophomore left-handers Drayton Mitchell and Coll Carroll were Calallen's doubles aces last season, and in the two state tournament games in Austin, the duo showed that the future on the mound looks bright for the Wildcats.

“That says a lot, two second-year pitchers in a state championship, they're real firecrackers and they're going to compete,” said veteran catcher Justen Calederon, who caught both games in Austin last week. “They're going to do what they do best and they're going to come back and fight back. They've handled the pressure really well, they've hit their spots, they're doing what they need to do and you can't ask for a better pitching staff than those two.”

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Carroll received a no-decision in Wednesday's semifinal win over Longview Spring Hill as the Wildcats pulled off some late-inning heroics to win. But the sophomore left-hander was solid throughout the game, getting out of multiple foul troubles to allow two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and four walks.

He lasted until the seventh inning before Cody Andrade came in, keeping the game scoreless and allowing the Wildcats to win in the eighth inning.

Mitchell was coming off a loss in Thursday's championship game against Texarkana Liberty-Eylau, in which a three-run third inning gave the Leopards all the runs they needed for a 3-1 victory. Aside from that inning, Liberty-Eylau had trouble getting past Mitchell, who lasted until two outs in the seventh inning before reaching his pitch limit.

The two, who were once teammates on the Oil Belt Junior League team that made a World Series appearance in 2022, combined to win 21 games for the Wildcats this season and suffer three losses. Best of all for Calallen and worst of all for opponents, the pair are returning for two more seasons.

“I'd say they did a great job,” Calallen coach Steve Chapman said. “Basically, those two little balls in the infield cost us three runs (on Thursday), they weren't hard-hit balls. But that's baseball sometimes.”