ROUND ROCK - A day of elation was a day emotion took over for one Abbott Panther.
Playing in their first state baseball tournament since 1985, the Abbott Panthers demolished Gilmer Union Hill 12-0 in the University Interscholastic League 1A Semifinals Friday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
The win against the Bulldogs secured their first State Championship game appearance against Fayetteville Saturday at 9 a.m.
Junior Hunter Pope pitched a no-hitter in a game that carried extra emotion for him because he dedicated it to his grandfather.
"My grandpa died six months ago," Pope said. "I feel he's looking over me. He helped me through this game, and he helped us get the win."
Pope's nickname, "Joe Bob," was given to him by his late grandfather, who served as inspiration to to bat 3-for-3 at the plate, driving in 4 runs and scoring 2 more himself.
"He's the kind of kid that can do it," Abbott High School Baseball Coach Kyle Crawford said. "He loves the big moment, gets up there. Nothing can rattle his cage. And, he just throws strikes. He did that today."
On Saturday, Pope will turn to his angel again, hoping for another win to cap an unforgettable season.
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