The Canyon Eagles walked off the diamond at Crutcher Scott Field in Abilene for the last time this year on Saturday. After losing game one of the 4A regional semifinals to Argyle 3-2, they fell in game two by a score of 7-0, ending their season.
But man, what a big, beautiful ride it was.
Few people would’ve called the Canyon Eagles making the 4A regional semis back in February. Heck, outside of the Canyon dugout, most people probably wouldn’t have called that in mid-March. Not after Canyon started the season 6-7.
It was at that time, head coach John Doan said, that the Eagles made a conscious effort to turn their season around. The Eagles won nine straight games and 17 of their next 19 prior to this week’s series. Doan knew exactly who to credit for that impressive run.
“I think it always comes back to your seniors and the leadership that they provide just because of their experience, where they’ve been and what they’ve been through. They really put it on their shoulders to make sure we got better. This season could’ve gone a lot of different directions and they demanded more out of their teammates to get us out of that hole we were in to start the season.
“What an unbelievable season they put together. I just appreciate the buy-in of this team and them showing up every day with the work ethic and pride in the work that they took. They represented Canyon High School in the very best way.”
After Wednesday’s narrow loss, Thursday didn’t go the way the Eagles planned. They went down 2-0 in the first inning and it was 6-0 after Argyle put up four runs in the third. They managed just two hits against an Argyle squad that has lost just three times this year.
Still, the team couldn’t say enough about how proud they were of the eight-man senior class and the resiliency they all displayed after overcoming the sluggish start.
“I love ‘em all,” said junior pitcher Ben Black. “I’ve gotten to spend two years with them now and just growing up with them has been a great time. I love ‘em all and I think they really propelled us. The way we started the season and the way we turned it around was just great. They did a really great job and I love ‘em all.”
Though this is the end of the road for greats like Mason Alley, Markus Barker and others, this is not the end of Canyon baseball. Black, an outstanding pitcher who also led the team in batting average, will be back next season. So too will second leading hitter Sam Johnson and relief pitcher Javin Cash. Doan will be back again next year as well, and when asked what people should expect from Canyon baseball in 2023, his answer was quite clear.
“We’re young in some spots,” he said. “We’ve got some good, young sub-varsity teams. The expectation at Canyon High School will always be high so we have our work cut out for us next year because those expectations are so high. We’re not going to lower those expectations for anybody. The Canyon Eagles are going to be back.”
Argyle 7, Canyon 0
Canyon 000 000 0 0 2 1
Home 204 100 x 7 7 1
Cam White, Ben Black (6) and Markus Barker. Trevor Duck and Hunter Sandifer. W -- Duck. L -- White. 2B -- Argyle, JC Davis, Micah Roberts. Records: Canyon 22-10; Argyle 32-3-1.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Canyon's season comes to an end, but man, what a ride it was