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HOUSTON – Ty Baker '23 had a sophomore pitching season to remember with Second Baptist School's baseball team.
As one of the aces for Second Baptist School, which reached the TAPPS State Semifinals last spring, Baker posted video-game-like numbers.
In district play, he posted an ERA of 0.00. No, that's not a typo. Overall, he posted a 0.38 ERA, while going 4-0 with two saves, holding opponents to an abysmal .092 batting average and striking out 59 in 144 batters faced.
"Last year we fell short in the playoffs, which was obviously a disappointment," Baker said. "Our goals are to sweep district again and win state this year. We have a lot of great returning players that will have big impacts, and a couple of transfers that will be studs."
Second Baptist School's upcoming baseball season is sure to garner plenty of attention, especially at the collegiate level, including that of new Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle, who made the move from TCU in the offseason.
In July, Schlossnagle got another checkmark on his recruiting board in the form of Baker committing to the Aggies for 2023.
"Texas A&M has always been a top choice," Baker said. "I've always wanted to play in Texas and in the SEC, so it checks both of those boxes. The new coaching staff is awesome, and Coach Yeskie (the pitching coach) is an awesome guy and Coach Schlossnagle is a proven winner.
Baker continues, "The new staff has been great with recruiting, and I think all of us are very excited to see how we can help Texas A&M baseball win a national championship."
Baker, who enters his junior season in 2021-2022, has been working on his mechanics a lot this summer to get his three pitches – fastball, curveball and changeup – where he wants them to be.
It also helps that when he walks into a practice at Second Baptist School, his head coach Rayner Noble, is the all-time winningest baseball coach at the University of Houston and set to be inducted into their Hall of Honor this week, and his pitching coach is World Series Champion Andy Pettitte.
Not a bad combo.
"Having Coach Noble as a head coach is a great resource because of his years coaching in college. He has excellent experience and really understands the game," Baker said. "Coach Pettitte has been super influential on my pitching as well. He is awesome to have in the dugout and has really helped my mental game and holding on runners. He is a great man I want to emulate on and off the field."
But at Second Baptist School, for Baker it is more than what happens between the white lines of the baseball diamond that makes this place feel special for the future Aggie.
"I love SBS. From the classroom to athletics, you always feel like the faculty want you to succeed and are genuinely interested in you," Baker said. "Our athletic facilities and programs are top-notch."
Welcome to the 2021 ATX QB Room! A new series where I, Robert Gonsoulin, preview quarterback talent from high schools in the Austin area. Be sure to follow week by week to be ready for what Austin has in store for this season of Texas high school football!
In our fourth edition, I will be profiling Class of 2023 quarterback Ivan Villegas from Stony Point High School.
The first dual-sport athlete steps into 2021's ATX QB Room under the name of Ivan Villegas from Stony Point High School. What's even more surprising? His main sport isn't football. It's baseball. Villegas is a utility player who plays all over the infield and is working on getting recruited by top NCAA Division I programs. But don't count out his love for football just yet. He's coming into his first year as Stony Point's starting quarterback and cares just as much about his success on the gridiron.
Not all high school quarterbacks also play baseball like Villegas. It can be hard to manage both sports when you're favoring one over the other. But having the ability to play the two does have its advantages. When I asked Villegas how baseball has helped him with playing quarterback, he proceeded to talk about the similar throwing motion that both sports share, and then even added how football benefits baseball reciprocally. "In baseball, definitely pitching and throwing the ball...it's kind of like the same motion when it comes to playing quarterback….so they definitely go hand in hand. And football also helps me with baseball because the football is heavier than the baseball and helps you improve your arm strength….both go hand and hand for sure."
The Tigers open the doors of their 2021 season after recording a 2-4 record in a crazy 2020 year that was impacted by COVID-19. In 2019, they started off on a 6-0 record and made it to the UIL 6A Division 1 playoffs. Villegas looks to turn Stony Point back around this season and make last year's missed playoff appearance just a fluke.
For Villegas, he believes that chemistry and respect are the keys to starting things off right for Stony Point's upcoming season. "I would definitely define myself as a leader on the team. I bring energy to practice everyday. My teammates look up to me. They respect me and I have respect for them and we just all work together." He then alluded to the amount of seniors that the Tigers will have this season and the recognition that he and them both have for the hard work that they're putting in.
Catch the full in-depth interview below:
Getting noticed in football is something that Villegas hasn't ruled out of his future, however. Over the summer, he attended the skill camps at Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, and TCU. At the end of the day, getting to play both football and baseball in college would be the best of both worlds, Villegas made it seem.
As for Stony Point, they'll come into the season with a full desire for vengeance for how drastically they were outscored by multiple teams last year. This year, they hope to not let any of their opponents take them for granted as they hope to make their first season with a new quarterback in Ivan Villegas count. District 25-6A is accompanied by strong talents like Cedar Ridge, Vista Ridge, and Round Rock, but only time will tell to see if they can outlast what Stony Point has put together in 2021.
Ivan Villegas and the Stony Point Tigers will match up against Copperas Cove in Week One on August 26th at 7:00 PM at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin, Texas.