GC Baseball: Tigers win twice, drive Coach Heath Autrey closer to 400

Feb. 23—MESQUITE — Take that!

Corsicana's Tigers not only bounced back from a tough 3-2 loss to West in the season opener, they won twice Thursday in the Mesquite ISD Baseball tournament and moved the Tigers' legendary Coach Heath Autrey to the threshold of winning his 400th game.

Those two victories were No. 397 and No. 398 for Autrey, who left Mesquite Thursday needing only two more victories to join the 400 Club — and he might just get it this weekend in Mesquite, where the three-day classic continues Friday and Saturday.

Autrey's Tigers handed him No. 397 on a platter, slamming North Mesquite 15-1 in their opener Thursday, and then rode the arm of Brody Dobbs, who threw a beauty in the second game, shutting down a talented Farmersville team 2-1.

Dobbs finished off the five-inning Mercy Rule win against North Mesquite, throwing 16 pitches to close out the game, and Autrey had a why not moment.

"He threw only 16 pitches so I told the coaches, 'Why not let him just keep pitching," said Autrey after the two-game sweep.

They don't call Autrey the "Wizard" for nothing ...

Dobbs was brilliant, stopping Farmersville on just four hits and a run. He struck out three and walked one over 5 1/3 innings to get the win before handing the ball to Easton Autrey, who nailed down the save, throwing 1 2/3 perfect innings, striking out two along the way.

Autrey couldn't have prouder of Dobbs, who stepped up in a new role Thursday and soared.

"He pitched his heart out," Autrey said. "I'm so happy for him. That was his first win!"

Dobbs set the tone like a big league pitcher, throwing 16-of-17 first pitch strikes to take control with his control.

Blake Phillips went 2-for-2 and drove in a run when he bunted home Connor Perkins in the second inning with a squeeze bunt, and leadoff man Adrian Baston doubled, stole two bases and scored the second run in the sixth. Baston laced a liner to right to lead off the sixth with a double and moved to third on Easton Autrey's single.

Then Josh Portillo's sacrifice bunt brought home Baston, who flew down the third base line to give the Tigers their second run — which was just enough with Dobbs and Autrey on the mound.

This wasn't just a big win, it was a statement for the Tigers' young team, a group that obviously embraces Autreyball — a brand of small ball that has driven Tiger opponents crazy for 13 years.

"We played very well defensively in the infield and Brody pitched great," Autrey said after the game. "We squeezed the first run in on Blake's bunt and scored on Josh's bunt in the sixth."

No one needed to bunt in the opening game Thursday. The Tigers pounded out 14 hits and scored 15 runs to shake off that tough 3-2 loss in the opener.

Isaiah Miranda, the only returner on the pitching staff, got the easy win on the mound, but he pitched like it was a one-run game, stopping North Mesquite on just one hit over three innings without allowing an earned run and striking three without allowing a walk, before Dobbs closed the game out on 16 pitches over the final two scoreless innings.

Easton Autrey led the Tigers at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a lightning rod homer — a sizzling liner to right field that would have landed on the street at home at Price Field. He also doubled, walked, scored three runs and drove in three more.

Portillo went 2-for-5 with a double and drove in two runs, Dylan Anderton doubled and scored twice, and Garret Joles singled and drove in three runs.

Oscar Castenada played well at second base and went 2-for-2, scoring twice and driving in a run, Phillips singled, scored twice and drove in a run and Baston singled, stole another base, scored and drove in a run. Perkins singled, walked twice, scored and drove in a run and Walker Smith singled and drove in a run.