After last week’s Regional Semifinals offered fans a series of comebacks and statement wins, four of the eight remaining teams in the Class 6A race are from the Houston area.
The two prime-time matchups slotted this week--Cy Woods v. The Woodlands in Region II, and Pearland v. Katy in Region III--are sure to keep audiences out of their seats.
Here is a look at the H-Town powerhouses aiming to punch their ticket to Austin for the State Tournament.
H-Town 6A Standouts: Brett Smajstrla (Sr. OF)--Pearland
Region II Finals: Cypress Woods Wildcats v. The Woodlands Highlanders
2022-23 Cy Woods Baseball
Bradley C. Collier (VYPE)
Cypress Woods Wildcats
2022-23 Regular Season: 28-3/District 16-6A Champions
Head Coach: Phil Schwarz
- Bi-District: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 11-1, Game 2: W 7-2) v. Tomball Memorial
- Area Round: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 7-5, Game 2: W 4-2) v. Oak Ridge
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 10-0, Game 2: W 15-0) v. Klein Oak
- Regional Semis: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: L 1-9, Game 2: W 7-0, Game 3: W 8-4)
The Woodlands Highlanders
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-6-1/District 13-6A Champions
Head Coach: Ron Eastman
- Bi-District: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 1-0, Game 2: W 6-0) v. MacArthur
- Area Round: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 5-0, Game 2: W 7-0) v. Klein Collins
- Regional Quarters: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: W 2-0, Game 2: L 3-4, Game 3: W 9-1) v. Tomball
- Regional Semis: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: L 7-8, Game 2: W 8-0, W 3-0)
Cy Woods has shown time and time again that they can bounce back from any defeat.
Case in point, they dropped the opener against Rockwall Heath, only to answer with a definitive 7-0 victory in Game No. 2.
Subsequently, the heavy hitters on the Wildcats lineup--senior OF Sam Myers (2-4, R, RBI), senior SS Tristan Russell (1-4, R, 2 RBI), senior 3B Ethan Farris (1-4, 2 R, RBI), and junior 1B McClane Helton (1-3, RBI)--helped to seal the deal in the 8-4 series clincher.
If the Cy Woods batters keep clicking the way they have, they will be a tough team to keep down for long.
Similarly, The Woodlands narrowly fell in game one against Rockwall (7-8), and responded with a dominant combined no-hitter thrown by senior LHP Brayden Sharp
and sophomore Caleb Holifield to take the second.
Senior 3B Carson Kimball, Jake Escovedo (Sr. OF), Kyle Hubert (Jr. OF/P), Jack Johnson (Sr. IF), and the aforementioned Sharp were among the TWHS batters who stepped up throughout the series.
After falling to Rockwall in the Regional Semis a year ago, the Highlanders flipped the script on the Yellowjackets, winning the clincher 3-0 to advance to Round No. 5.
With a trip to the State Tournament on the line, you'd better believe that fans will be flocking to witness the spectacle of these two contenders facing off.
2022-23 TWHS Baseball
Justin Hartojo (VYPE)
Region III Finals: Pearland Oilers v. Katy Tigers
Some of the stars of 2022-23 Pearland Baseball
Jamie Wright (VYPE)
2022-23 Regular Season: 27-5-1/District 23-6A Champions
Head Coach: David Rogers
- Bi-District: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 11-3, Game 2: W 11-1) v. Brazoswood
- Area Round: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: W 8-0, Game 2: L 6-7, Game 3: W 4-3) v. Atascocita
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 4-1, Game 2: W 6-2) v. Clear Falls
- Regional Semis: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 3-0, Game 2: W 1-0) v. Cinco Ranch
2022-23 Regular Season: 22-6-3/Finished 3rd in District 19-6A
Head Coach: Wes Hearne
- Bi-District: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 13-0, Game 2: W 16-6) v. Fort Bend Austin
- Area Round: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 9-0, Game 2: W 7-3) v. Cy-Fair
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 4-3, Game 2: W 5-3) v. Tompkins
- Regional Semis: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 4-0, Game 2: W 4-3) v. Clear Springs
Both Pearland and Katy are coming off consecutive hard-fought wins to advance to Round No. 5.
The Oilers bullpen and defense played at the top of their game, as Nico Partida (So. RHP) and junior right-hander Jake Mader-Cooper combined for a no-hitter in their 3-0 victory in the opener.
Game No. 2 saw junior LHP Jaden Barfield come in to save the day, as he played a key role in getting Pearland out of not one, but two bases-loaded jams with some help by Pearland's fielding.
Furthermore, SHSU-signee Brett Smajstrla (Sr. OF) and Texas A&M-signee Caden Ferraro (Sr. 1B/P) anchored the Oilers lineup on the batting side.
Katy, on the other hand, shared the wealth at the plate.
Andrew Hilton (Sr. OF/P), Reese Ruderman (Sr. C/IF), Cole Kaase (Sr. IF/P), Josh Dunayczan (Sr. IF/P), and senior IF Graham Laxton each contributed an RBI through their two-game sweep over Clear Springs--with Laxton, in particular, sealing the series with a walk-off RBI-double in game two.
The Tigers bullpen isn't to be underestimated either. Seniors Caleb Koger and Lucas Moore have been proven to be effective starters, while the likes of Kaase or sophomore pitcher Cade Nelson can seal a victory at the relief spot.
Neither team in this matchup has yet to lose a game throughout the playoffs, which will inevitably change in the coming series at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.
The Region III crown is up for grabs. Stay tuned to see who takes it.
2022-23 Katy Tigers Baseball
Justin Hartojo (VYPE)