Bobby Witt Jr. leads team to state semifinal win three days after being selected No. 2 overall by Royals

Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News

Bobby Witt Jr. leads team to state semifinal win three days after being selected No. 2 overall by Royals

Baseball

Bobby Witt Jr. leads team to state semifinal win three days after being selected No. 2 overall by Royals

By

ROUND ROCK — It’s been quite the week for Bobby Witt Jr., and he still has a chance to add more icing on the cake.

The Kansas City Royals drafted the Colleyville Heritage standout with the No. 2 overall pick in Monday’s MLB draft, three days before the Panthers took on Corsicana in the Class 5A state semifinals.

Witt played a key part in making sure his draft selection wasn’t the week’s only highlight.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 5 candidates for ALL-USA Baseball POY

The senior scored both runs — wreaking havoc on the basepaths — in a 2-1 victory Thursday to send Heritage to its first state championship game. Witt also sealed the win with a three-out save, striking out two in a near-perfect seventh inning.

“Right after the draft, it was a super exciting moment. I’ll never forget that, ever,” Witt said. “The day after, I just kind of flipped a switch. Now it’s time to go win a state championship.

“We got one done, and now we’ve got to go out there and compete Saturday.”

MLB DRAFT: Bobby Witt Jr. selected No. 2 overall by Royals

Witt showed a little of everything Thursday that made him a top draft selection. The senior went 1 for 2 at the plate with a walk, stole two bases and had a pair of assists from his shortstop position.

“I do whatever I can just to try to help the team as much as possible,” Witt said.

What he can do is a lot.

Bobby Witt Jr. is interviewed by reporters after Thursday’s UIL Class 5A state semifinal game between his Colleyville Heritage team and Corsicana. Witt was picked second in the Major League Baseball draft by the Kansas City Royals. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

Witt, batting second, singled in his first plate appearance on the balmy, humid evening. After drawing some pick-off attempts, he stole second with ease. Witt took third on a fielder’s choice before giving Heritage a 1-0 advantage on a Corsicana throwing error.

After the Tigers knotted the game, Witt led the third with a walk. It was another chance for the MLB draftee to show off his baserunning prowess.

RANKINGS: Latest Super 25 Baseball Rankings

Pitcher Micah Burke threw behind Witt to first, forcing him to take off for second. Witt worked his way out of the rundown, safely sliding in to advance.

“I think that’s just kind of instincts now,” Witt said of his unconventional stolen base. “…The game’s so quick nowadays. You’ve just got to be ready for anything. So, it’s kind of just muscle memory by now.”

Even at second, Witt had Burke’s attention.

An errant pick-off attempt sent Witt to third, and Mason Greer hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly to deep left to score the speedy Witt. The two runs proved to be enough behind a two-hit performance by starter Austin Glaze, who improved to 14-0.

MLB DRAFT: High school athletes taken in first round

“We try to win every inning,” Witt said. “We won two of them, so that’s what we did to get the job done.”

Witt made sure of it, showing some velocity in the process.

The Heritage star, son of former major leaguer Bobby Witt, registered as fast as 96 mph on the radar gun. He also worked in some off-speed pitches, dropping 15 mph in a sequence against Kolby Kinkade, who struck out looking for the second out of the seventh.

Following a walk, Witt induced the game-ending ground out to first base. It was a tense situation for the future pro, but he was glad to be called upon.

MIDSEASON POY: Frontier Region Baseball POY Candidates

“Those are the moments, I like it,” Witt said. “I like the pressure moments. And I know my team has my back, so I’m just trying to throw strikes to get the job done.”

The save was a bit of redemption for Witt, whom Kinkade struck out to leave the bases loaded in the fourth. Heritage coach Alan McDougal expected as much from the senior.

“(Witt) does everything to the highest degree,” McDougal said. “He’s going to find a way to affect the game, one way or the other. He’s really good at shortstop in the times he got to do that.

“I had a feeling when he didn’t come through with the bases loaded and (got) punched out in that at-bat that he was going to be really good on the mound. And I thought he was really good on the mound.”

McDougal shared in the excitement of Witt being drafted, for more reasons than one.

“You’re getting me teared up,” McDougal said. “He started a ton of games for me for four years. I’m blessed to have my two boys, especially my oldest son Jackson, to be around Bobby Witt. My son doesn’t even like baseball, but he loves Bobby Witt.

“To see that culminate Monday night, with my son, was very special because it’s just kind of like one of my own. I know that I’ve had a small part of the development of that, more so as a human than a baseball player. But it was really special to be a part of it.”

Now, Witt has one more game with his Panther teammates before the journey toward the major leagues begins. He plans on taking full advantage of his last time in the Heritage black and red when the team takes on Georgetown for the state title.

“We’ve been working on this since February, and even years past,” Witt said. “We’ve never made it here (before) … It’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get after it with my teammates.”

And if the Panthers were to lift the trophy Saturday?

“Definitely, no doubt, the best week of my life,” Witt said. “I’m excited.”

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports
Home
https://usatodayhss.com/2019/kansas-city-royals-bobby-witt-jr-leads-team-to-state-semifinal-win?utm_source=smg&utm_medium=wasabi&utm_content
Bobby Witt Jr. leads team to state semifinal win three days after being selected No. 2 overall by Royals
I found this story on USA TODAY High School Sports and wanted to share it with you: %link% For more high school stories, stats and videos, visit http://usatodayhss.com.