GC Baseball: Tigers to honor Coach Heath Autrey before Tuesday's game

Apr. 15—It's not officially Heath Autrey Day in Corsicana, but maybe it should be.

Tuesday night at Price Field CISD will recognize and honor Corsicana High School's legendary Head Baseball Coach Heath Autrey before the Tigers take the field to play Lancaster.

Autrey won his 400th game on Feb. 29, beating Brownsboro 17-1, averaging more than 20 victories a season on his march to 400, including 273 in his 13 seasons at Corsicana.

Autrey led the Tigers to the Class 5A state semifinals in 2019 in Round Rock, where they lost 2-1 to nationally-ranked Colleyville Heritage, which had two sons of former Texas Rangers, including Bobby Witt Jr., the top-ranked high school player in the nation and the first-pick in the 2019 MLB draft. Heritage won the state title the next day by the 10-run Mercy Rule.

Autrey's teams are always over-achievers and he often leaves opposing coaches shaking their heads after watching Autrey defy the odds and beat uber-talented teams with his own brand of small ball — Autreyball.

He has done an amazing job at Corsicana, where he has won with every type of team, overcoming the odds year after year by teaching his players more than baseball and instilling confidence and discipline and producing skilled players who learned about life and baseball from one of the best mentors in the country. Autreyball is all about pitching, pitching, pitching, great defense and timely hitting — and so much more.

Autrey's players will tell you when the pressure is on in big games with big moments they don't flinch because of their intensive training under Autrey, saying "When we are in a pressure situation we don't panic. We don't rise to the occasion. We fall back on our training."

That's the every day message for the Tigers, who learn to love the challenge and embrace the game and the moment and learn from Day 1 that "The Game knows," which is one of Autrey's favorite messages to his players.

The fact is "Autrey knows" and he has been passing on his wisdom and insight — on and off the field — for two decades, building one of the top baseball programs in the state while helping young men be the best they can be in and out of the classroom, in the community and later in their lives as adults.

Ironically — or fittingly — Autrey has arguably had his best season in 2024, defying the odds and producing a formidable team that began the season with more question marks and young faces than any he's coached at Price Field.

There was no truth to the rumor that the '24 Tigers were so young they would have to wear green jerseys instead of the traditional blue and gold. Instead, they're planning on wearing shirts that say "District 14-5A Champs!"

They're in first-place in the district race with a 7-1 record with a one game lead over Forney (7-3) and a comfortable lead over third-place Ennis (5-3) with four district games left, beginning Tuesday against last-place Lancaster.

After winning No. 400, the young Tigers caught fire and won 16 of their next 17 games, including a brilliant 13-game winning streak that included seven shutouts and a 7-0 start in district before Forney ended the streak Friday in a nine-inning thriller. The Tigers bounced back Saturday afternoon with a three-inning, Mercy Rule romp, beating Seagoville 15-0.

They're 20-5 and have outscored opponents 164-52 this season with four games left — two against Lancaster this week and two against Terrell (2-8) next week.

There's no pressure on Autrey's kids — no matter how green.

If you don't know why by now, you just haven't been paying attention ... There's a reason they call Autrey "The Wizard" — a nickname former Daily Sun and Dallas Morning News sports writer Todd Wills — gave Autrey a decade ago.

The Game knows and so do Autrey's kids.