by JASON GORDON
The Texas State University baseball team will be getting quite a left-handed slugger. Hays High star centerfielder Granger Studdard gave a verbal commitment to play with the Bobcats beginning in the fall of 2013.
Studdard, who can’t officially sign his national letter of intent with Texas State until November, will be a senior at Hays High when school starts this month.
Studdard hit .525 in district action, walked 14 times and scored 18 runs for the Rebels and was named a First-Team All-District selection for Hays.
This summer, Studdard’s Austin Wings 17-and-under team beat out 46 other teams and won the Junior National Championship, going 9-0 in the tournament held in Joplin, Missouri. Studdard hit .423 in the tourney with five home runs.
The all-around athlete also broke the school record with 41 catches in 2011. He also scored six receiving touchdowns for the area-finalist Rebels.
“Granger just has a ton of talent,” said Hays head baseball coach David Null. “He’s one of those guys that can get on a super hot streak and just carry your team for a long time. He always seems to come up big in the important situations, and you know you can plug him into several different positions in the field and he’s always going to do a great job for you.”
Studdard said Texas State was a good fit. The Bobcats season this past spring under longtime head coach Ty Harrington was highlighted by their highest ranking in the program’s history (No. 20 nationally) and national exposure from a record-breaking scoreless innings streak of 57 2/3 consecutive innings from late February to early March.
“I really respect the program and what Coach Harrington has accomplished with the team,” Studdard said. “I think I’ll get an opportunity to come in and compete for playing time right away and to help the team continue their winning tradition. Plus, it helps to be so close to home where my family and friends can come see me play.”
Texas State completed its conference schedule with a 19-14 record in its final season in the Southland Conference, earning the Bobcats the No. 3 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament hosted at Bobcat Ballpark. The postseason appearance was the 16th consecutive for the Bobcats, while the team’s winning record in conference extended Harrington’s streak of consecutive seasons with a winning conference record to all 13 years he has been at the helm.
Last season, after earning the No. 3 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament Texas State hosted at Bobcat Ballpark, the Bobcats won their opening game of the SLC Tournament, an 11-1 triumph over No. 6 seed Stephen F. Austin. But that would be the only victory of the tournament for Texas State as No. 2 seed Southeastern Louisiana defeated the Bobcats on the second day before SFA came back to avenge its earlier loss with a 9-7 win that ended Texas State’s season with a 32-24 overall record.
Studdard helped Hays qualify for the playoffs earlier this year, but the Rebs were swept out of the postseason in the first round by a talented Boerne Champion squad.
“I definitely think the seniors have some unfinished business at Hays,” Studdard said. “I think everyone on varsity believes we have the capability to compete for the district title and that’s one of our main goals next season.”