ALEDO, Texas — When you walk around the campus of Aledo High School, it’s hard not to notice the collection of football state titles. AHS flaunts 10 championship statues in front of Bearcat Stadium, the most by any high school football program in the country. But what about the Aledo baseball team? On the diamond, the Bearcats have only clinched one state title (2014) and hope to make it two by the end of this season.
Among the players poised to have an impact in the playoffs is Aledo’s catcher, Creed Willems. He’s the big man on campus with a big-time swing. So because of his power in the batter’s box, you probably will never see him lay down a bunt.
“I usually try to hit the ball against the wall or over it,” Willems said. “I try to hit it hard rather than bunt because I’m not the fastest guy on the team."
But he is one of the most gifted, which was evident by his starting role in his sophomore season.
“He was an extraordinary talent when he was young,” said Aledo head coach Chad Barry. “He stepped right in and looked like a veteran from the get-go.”
Willems’ love for the game stems from his lineage. Baseball runs in the family.
“Less than a month after I was born, I was at the field watching my brother play at his games,” said Willems. “It started from a young age and ever since that time watching him grow up, I knew baseball was what I wanted to do.”
Creed’s older brother Zayne was also the Aledo catcher in his day. Zayne was on Aledo's 2014 state championship team, the only group of Bearcats to win it all. Fast forward seven years later with another Willems behind the dish, it’s destiny.
“In 2014 when we did win it, he was this little short, chunky kid running around with a soda pop and a candy bar in his hand,” said Barry. “He was watching his older brother play that day and I remember after that game, he came up to me and asked when he got to high school would I save number 11 for him? I said absolutely.”
And so the journey began. Where it’ll take him next is 15 minutes down the road to be a TCU Horned Frog. The TCU baseball program clinched a Big 12 Tournament championship and, for the fourth time in school history, secured a national seed (No. 6) on its way to Omaha.
“I try to watch the Frogs on TV every chance I can get,” he said. “I keep track of their games on Twitter, Instagram or whatever."
TCU is his dream school. But it’s not his dream.
“I’ve always had the dream to get drafted out of high school. It’s one of those things that all depends on where I’m taken in the MLB draft.”
Regardless of which path he chooses, the bigs or the Big 12, he’s set.
“The way I look at it is, whether I end up at TCU or I end up getting drafted, I’m set up for success,” he said.
The main priority now is bringing a second state championship to Aledo and the Willems household.
“It’s special because my brother did it his senior year. So me doing it my senior year would be a cherry on top,” Willems said.
Aledo will play Amarillo High School in the 5A Regional Finals on Thursday at 3 p.m.