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Katy High junior right-hander Lucas Moore is 3-0 with a 1.4 ERA and 0.95 batting-average against in four games this season.
KATY—In his first varsity start this season against Fort Bend Austin, Katy High junior Lucas Moore pitched a perfect game, striking out nine in a run-rule 10-0 win in five innings. While it may be difficult to keep going up from there, Moore is certainly trying his hardest.
The precocious right-hander was again strong Friday in a battle of two of the region’s top teams. The Tigers bested Cinco Ranch, 4-1, at home in a District 19-6A affair, scoring three runs on two errors in the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie, to go to 14-4 overall, 2-0 in district play.
Moore has been a revelation for the Tigers this season. Against a potent Cinco Ranch lineup, he threw a complete game, surrendering one run on two hits while striking out six and walking three.
“It’s really my defense behind me,” Moore said. “They’re making excellent plays. I feel like the team is really backing up each other, and our bats are starting to get hot when we need them the most.”
Moore is commanding the zone impressively with all three of his pitches: fastball, curveball, changeup. His fastball consistently hits 87-88 miles per hour, tops out at 89. His off-speed stuff is exceptional.
Friday, Moore was able to get a feel for when to place his fastball up in the zone when necessary.
“He’s pitched against some good teams and has looked good,” Katy coach Tom McPherson said. “He’s doing a good job getting all his pitches off. They’ve got a bunch of left-handers in there and Lucas is able to throw to left-handers probably better than anyone on our team. He’s got good movement, able to throw his changeup and two-seamer. He’s looked pretty good all year long.”
Moore is 3-0 this season with one save. He has 23 strikeouts to eight walks in 19 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs. He has a .095 batting-average against and a 1.4 earned-run average.
Against Cinco Ranch, Moore allowed a single to Texas A&M commit Blake Hansen in the first inning and a single to Connor Ficcara in the second. Over the final five innings, the Cougars, who entered the game averaging 7.1 runs per game, grounded out five times and had short pop fly-outs twice.
“As the game went on, they really struggled against my changeup,” Moore said. “A lot of pop flies. A lot of ground balls. A lot of weak contact. For the most part, just pound them with the changeup, and with the righties throw curveballs early in the count to get ahead and then get my fastball through them.”
Moore said the transition from junior varsity to varsity has been interesting.
“The atmosphere up here at varsity is a lot better,” he said. “The defense is a lot better. I trust everybody behind me so much more than I ever have, pitch more to contact instead of just strike everybody out.”
The win was Katy’s 17th consecutive district win. The Tigers are reigning undefeated 19-6A champs.
Katy returned four starters this season to the lineup. Following the graduation of ace Caleb Matthews, it needed to find more quality pitching. Moore has provided that.
“We kind of play to our competition and we’ve got to keep (their play) up,” McPherson said. “I expect us to be in the hunt. But we can’t let off. Everybody in this league can beat you. We’re right where we need to be, we just need to keep going up.”
Former Katy High star Ryan Brome poses for a photo at Katy High School on June 17, 2021.
Ryan Brome signed his first autograph when he was five years old.
At the time, the young man had no idea a terrific baseball future was in store, becoming an all-state slugger at Katy High and signing a scholarship to play for Big 12 power Texas Tech. He was a kid. He just wanted to play ball.
But the coach of his Tee-ball team saw it coming, going up to Michael, Ryan's father, and asking if Ryan would autograph a dozen baseballs for him.
"We feel like he's going to be a big-time player," the coach said.
It was the first time, but certainly not the last, that Brome would be asked to put pen to ball. It happened again during his senior season this spring, when he hit .434 with 34 RBIs and six home runs for the state-ranked Tigers. The grandfather of a teammate retrieved Brome's first home run of the season, and his career, out of the school parking lot and asked Michael if Brome would sign it if he didn't want it back.
"It was a powerful moment," Michael said. Other parents kept Brome's home run balls because, they told Michael, they thought they'd be worth a lot of money someday.
Brome smiles proudly recalling the memories, but he can expect it to happen more and more. Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock certainly will. He was on Brome's trail since the start of the high school season, and even after Brome turned down a walk-on opportunity, Tadlock kept at it.
"They always told me that they didn't have money," Brome said. "But they still kept in contact, still wanted to get me up there somehow, and they told me after the (MLB) draft they wanted me up on an official visit. Sure enough, they called me after the draft ended Tuesday and said they wanted to fly me out Thursday for an official visit. I went out there Thursday and Friday and just fell in love with Lubbock."
Next stop Omaha! @TTU_Baseball https://t.co/7DA75Zp395 — Ryan Brome (@Ryan Brome)
Brome signed his scholarship Friday evening. He admired the coaching staff's loyalty to Tadlock and the coach's tireless persistence in his recruitment. Michael saw how Texas Tech thrived with other left-handed power hitters, like Jace Jung and Cal Conley, and how successful they were. The Red Raiders have been to the College World Series four of the last six seasons.
Texas Tech coaches told Brome he has a legitimate shot to be in the lineup as a true freshman next season.
"It's such a big blessing," Brome said. "This is where I want to be. I'd been trying to get to a Power 5 school. I had offers from other places, but they weren't where I really wanted to go. Texas Tech is where I want to be."
Brome always had the physical skills and talent. He stands 6-foot-2 at 202 pounds. He had an outstanding junior season, but it was eventually canceled after 17 games due to COVID-19.
Brome verbally committed to Alvin Community College, but his play on the field this season suggested he was deserving of a bigger stage. He can play first base or the outfield. He has an impressive feel for the strike zone, walking a lot and not swinging at bad pitches. He is a fearless hitter with two strikes and is comfortable working the count.
Still, Brome never got the attention he thought he deserved, despite bashing the ball around for a loaded Katy team. During one particular week early in the season, Brome hit four home runs. From then on, he was rarely pitched to.
"At times, it was really frustrating," Brome said. "I felt like I was putting up good enough numbers to get where I wanted to go. I definitely grew closer to God through all this and trusting His plan and that I'd get where I needed to be. I used it as fuel to keep grinding every day."
Former Katy High slugger Ryan Brome poses for a photo.Bradley Collier | VYPE Media
Michael and Brome went out to a field and hit 4-5 days out of the week on their own. Brome also worked with Sean Danielson, a former Triple A player and owner of the Hunter Pence Baseball Academy, to develop his swing and initiate more power.
"That's all I could really do," Brome said. "I couldn't control anything outside of that. I kept working."
Brome has always had faith in himself. When the Bromes moved to Katy from Washington three weeks before Brome's freshman year, Michael determined where they lived based on the baseball program at the high school they would be zoned to.
Brome wanted Katy. He felt it was the best program, with outstanding tradition and a revered head coach in Tom McPherson, and wanted to be a Tiger, even if it meant possibly getting cut and not making the team as a freshman because of the quality of talent and numbers in the program.
"If I couldn't make it there, then maybe I should be doing something else with my life," Brome said.
He made it, which ultimately came as no surprise to Michael.
"It goes all the way back to Tee-ball," Michael said. "He had the mental part of the game down. He loved to watch baseball and he understood it well. As a player, if you can be ahead of the game on what needs to be done when the ball's hit to you or you're at the plate, there's a sense of calm in any pressure situation, and Ryan had that. He was always a fantastic player. Great tools, great mind for the game, fantastic work ethic."
Marks of a big-time player. Looks like that Tee-ball coach was on to something.