Rockwall-Heath baseball is gearing up to face Smithson Valley in the UIL Class 6A State Semifinal matchup. Let's take a look at the breakdown between the teams per MaxPreps.
The Hawks have posted a 36-11-1 record on the season en route to the UIL State Semifinals. With a strong offense and an even stronger defense, the Hawks have been favorited to win state despite a couple of injuries to key players throughout the season.
Outscoring their opponents by 71 runs on the season, the Hawks offense is cohesive with eight athletes batting over .300. Seniors Karson Krowka (.326), Kevin Bazzell (.431), Zach Rike (.312), Kaston Maston (.371), juniors Aidan Johnson (.304), Alex Stowers (.308) and Jett Williams (.341) along with freshman Caleb Hoover (.322) should be watched in this huge matchup.
Smithson Valley Rangers
The Rangers have posted a 35-5 record on the season with impressive defensive skills. Holding their opponents to only 61 runs on the season while their offense has scored over 300 runs themselves, the Rangers will be the toughest team that Rockwall-Heath has had to face all season.
Not only is Smithson Valley good at scoring early, often, and consistently throughout their games, they have pitching depth that keeps them out of trouble. Senior Brandon Taylor has tossed 14 undefeated games while junior Tim Arguello has an 11-1 record on the bump. Arguello has also posted a .383 batting average on the year.
At the plate, the Rangers have over half the lineup that's batting over .400 to include junior Wyatt Hansen (batting .600 on the season) and freshman MJ Espinosa (batting .500 on the season).
It will be a battle to the finish. If Rockwall-Heath's bats can overcome the firewall that is Smithson Valley's defense, they just might have what it takes to advance to the state championship game.
The semifinals matchup is set to begin at 7 p.m. Friday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
The Indians have posted a 35-7 overall record on the season. After finishing first in their district, they fought their way through an incredible playoff run to make it to the UIL State Tournament. With six athletes posting above a .300 batting average, the Indians' lineup will be hard to shut down. Seniors Gray Rowlett (.393), Trey Orman (.345), Clayton Thomas (.333), Aidan Connors (.369), and Todd Baffa (.304) alongside junior Mike Dattalo (.409) have led the charge all season as the Keller offense has outscored their opponents by over 170 runs this season.
The Keller bats combined with a nearly unmatchable pitching duo in Eric Hammond (USC signee) and Robert Cranz (Wichita State signee) gives the Indians a possible upper hand against a strong Strake Jesuit team.
Strake Jesuit Crusaders
The Crusaders have posted a 27-12-1 record on the season so far en route to the semifinals. As a team that consistently scores behind a great lineup, the Crusader's offense is going to be hard to shut down.
Outscoring their opponents by nearly 100 runs this season, the Crusaders have been on fire. With sophomore Clay Richardson (batting .421 on the season) and junior Trey Duffield (.314) leading the way in batting averages for the team, Strake Jesuit has what it takes to truly put Keller's defense to work.
Defense wins championships. Keller's defensive strength will have what it takes to advance to the state final, but not without a fight.
The semifinal is set to begin at 4 p.m. at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.