The Decade of Dominance
The 1994 Team
Head Coach: Joe Koesal
Asst. Coach: Kevin Worthy
|Gabe Johnson||Cody Bounds|
|Lino Villaneva||Micah Ledbetter|
|Matt Johnson||Thomas Byrd|
|Greg Pecina||Grady Lewis|
|Adam Denton||Joe Westman|
|Rodney Pecina||Sean Pelly|
|Jaimie Mercado||Ricky Jaresh|
|Juan Rodriguez||Cory Crane|
|Rob Jordan||Don Mercardo|
The 1998 Team
Head coach: Kevin Worthy
Asst. coach: Woody Young
|Brad Earnheart||Paul Pecina|
|Chris Millar||Justin Ferguson|
|Matt Line||Dustin Hunter|
|Peter Uselton||Corey Streetman|
|Sergio Falcon||Thomas Torres|
|Randy Miller||John Joiner|
|Eric Pecina||Rolando Lopez|
The Gunter Tiger Baseball program has always been a focal point for residents of Gunter, TX. In the years of 1994 and 1998, the town of Gunter was put on the map by the State Champion Baseball program.
The idea of a State Championship was not an outlandish concept to the 94’ team of the Gunter Tigers. The players knew they had an exceptional chance to advance to state because of their stacked line up; with Don Mercado and Cody Bounds serving as ace pitchers.
The 94’ team’s frame of mind for making it to state was set in stone after winning a District Championship. The Tigers raced through the playoffs to the state tournament, where they run ruled their first opponent in the semi-final matchup.
The team faced Trinidad in the final game and they were prepared for a battle. With a comfortable lead of 7-0, Coach Koesel decided he wanted to put in some of the hard working JV players to finish out the game. The final score was 9-4 and the team had defeated Trinidad to earn the school’s first State Championship. Amazing enough, none of the team went on to play college ball. Teamwork was definitely the key to success in this team.
Not only was this the very first State Championship of any academic or sport related activity in Gunter’s history, but this win would put the small town of Gunter on the map. From this point on Gunter, Texas would establish their dominance around the area.
In 1998, it was Coach Kevin Worthy’s chance to win another state title as the Tiger’s new head coach. Gunter had recently bumped up a classification to 2A, and was returning six starters from the 97’ team. As expected, Gunter won their district with only one loss. With dominant ace John Joiner, the Tigers coasted into the playoffs.
Up until the Regional Finals, the team had no problem advancing. However, they faced Bangs in the regional final game and the Tigers were forced into extra innings. With bases loaded, a passed ball launched the runner from third in to score, and the Tigers were going back to Round Rock to compete for a second State Championship.
In the semi-final game, Gunter trounced Hutto in a 10-0 win. Pitcher, John Joiner, had thrown a perfect game up until the last batter. Don Mercado also tied a state record with three hits in one game. In the Championship game, Gunter lined up against Rosebud-Lott. Again the dominant Tigers had no problem putting away the opponent.
Joiner came through in the clutch by only allowing three hits throughout the entire state tourney. Finishing with a 29-1 record, Coach Worthy had his second state ring, and first as a head baseball coach.
The ‘94 and ‘98 squads are still the only Gunter Tiger teams to win a State Championship in the school’s history.
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