Amarillo High back at state for the first time since 2016

Sandies looking for first state title in program history (UIL State Semifinals: 1952, 1952, 2016 and 2021)
Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 11:27 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo High Sandies are back in the UIL baseball State Semifinals for the for the first time since 2016. The Sandies are a team full of hardworking veterans and underclassmen, and everyone plays a special role.

”It’s been awesome honestly just having our season cut early last year and not being able to go to playoffs is really fun going this year,” said Amarillo High senior right-handed pitcher Sandler Needham. “Hopefully we can go all the way.”

“This being my senior year, it’s been a super special deal,” said Amarillo High senior and base runner Trey Thomas. I’m super excited we’ve made it this far, but we’re not done yet.”

The Amarillo High Sandies, led by 14 seniors, have batted their way back into the State Semifinals for the fourth in program history.

“You know it’s fun when your whole team is hitting. It’s easy to pitch when your team is hitting,” said sophomore right-handed pitcher and third baseman Jett Johnston. “You just throw to your defense and know that your bats are going to cover behind you.”

“Every game we lost to in the playoffs was a one run game, so those guys have really kept us in it and battled,” said Amarillo High baseball Head Coach Randon Johnson. “Of course the defense is the next part of it, and the hitting comes behind it. When you add all three of those we get really, really hard to stop.

The Sandies’ roster features three solid starting pitchers, depth at reliever and a variety of speeds and styles.

“We have a bunch of righy and lefty combinations that throw whole different pitches and stuff like that,” said Needham. “I think it really throws off the hitters.”

Everybody has their role, and that’s what’s made this Sandies team so strong. Senior base runner Trey Thomas, a Texas Tech Track hurdler commit, had not played baseball since eighth grade.

“It means a lot. You know just coming into it I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but I just knew I could utilize my speed on the bases,” said Thomas. “I just reached out to Coach Johnson and he said he thought I could help.”

“I mean his speed obviously he’s going to Tech to run track and it’s just like a plus on the bases,” said Johnston. “Cayden Phillips gets on and automatically Trey is waiting for his chance to get out there and run the bases and he does a great job for us.”

Amarillo High is strong in all aspects of the game, and hope to make history in the Texas Panhandle.

“Everybody is just kind of playing for the seniors. Playing for themselves. Playing for the whole community. I mean we have everybody behind our back,” said Johnston. “You know great fans, I mean it would just mean the world if we could come home with a state ring.”

The Sandies face Barbers Hill in the 5A State Semifinals on Thursday, June 10 at 4 p.m. at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. Barbers Hill is playing in their first State Semifinal in program history.

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