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The Woodlands' Brayden Sharp
Another week, another slate filled with guaranteed developments on the diamond.
The Class 6A Area Round separated the good from the great, which is precisely why the schedule for the Regional Quarters has such an ample supply of stacked ball clubs. So much so, that it’s become increasingly difficult to pick a clear favorite.
These are the types of games that will alter the entire outlook of the postseason, which should make the quality of the matchups that much more entertaining.
With a trip to the Regional Semis on the line, here are the best prime time series of the week.
Juan De Leon (VYPE)
2022-23 Tompkins Falcons Baseball
Bradley C. Collier (VYPE)
2022-23 Regular Season: 22-6-1/District 19-6A Champions
Head Coach: Kenneth Humphreys
2022-23 Regular Season: 22-6-3/Finished 3rd in District 19-6A
Head Coach: Wes Hearne
This round of the playoffs features an old fashioned district rivalry between two powerhouse Katy ISD teams.
Tompkins seemed to handle Cy Creek with ease throughout the Area Round, which started from their bullpen.
Senior LHP/OF Ty Dagley was phenomenal from the mound in game one, throwing eight strikeouts and nearly completing a no-hitter before being retired after the sixth inning.
The series clincher saw Adam Benavidez (Sr. 3B) rise to the occasion from the batter's box, as he would proceed to drive in five of the thirteen runs--three of which were from a homer he hit in the second inning--that the Falcons would score before ultimately reaching the run rule.
Katy enjoyed similar fortunes against Cy-Fair in the Area Round.
Caleb Koger (Sr. OF/P) had an impressive outing as the starting pitcher in the series opener. Combined with the top-notch Tigers defense, he didn't allow a single run to be scored while sitting down four batters in the six innings he pitched.
While seniors Cole Kaase (P/IF) and Reese Ruderman (C) in the two-game sweep over the Bobcats, Andrew Hilton (Sr. OF/P) added to his highlight reel with five RBIs, which included a three-run shot in Game No. 1.
Given the familiarity and close proximity of these two clubs, the tension in the air should be palpable.
2022-23 Katy Tigers Baseball
Justin Hartojo (VYPE)
2022-23 Ridge Point Baseball
Ridge Point Panthers
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-4-2/District 20-6A Champions
Head Coach: Clinton Welch
Cinco Ranch Cougars
2022-23 Regular Season: 27-4/Finished 2nd in District 19-6A
Head Coach: Brett Wallace
The Ridge Point hot streak continues.
March 9th is the last time the Panthers took an L. Since then they've gone on a 22-game winning streak, thanks to the direction of ninth-year coach Clinton Welch, not to mention the considerable depth of the RPHS roster.
The Panthers pitching was on point in Round No. 2, with senior right-hander Kellen Gradisar limiting Lamar's batters to one run in the contest and racking up nine K's. Texas-commit Jack McKernan (So. LHP) also had an exceptional performance in his game two start.
Ridge Point's batting was as efficient as ever--particularly that of seniors Travis Vlasek (1B) and JJ Kennett (C)--to secure yet another sweep in the postseason.
They will be tasked with matching up against Cinco Ranch, who touts a 31-4 overall record and recently made history by reaching the Regional level for the first time in school history.
2022-23 TWHS Baseball
The Woodlands Highlanders
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-6-1/District 13-6A Champions
Head Coach: Ron Eastman
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-11/Finished 2nd in District 15-6A
Head Coach: Doug Rush
The Woodlands continues to cook in the playoffs.
Having yet to allow a single run thus far, this is indicative of the lock-down capability of the pitchers in the Highlanders arsenal.
Klein Collins experienced that first-hand when Nolan Roycraft (Jr. LHP) and senior Ethan Coronel combined for a shutout and 8 K's in Game No. 1, followed by Tennessee-signee Brayden Sharp (Sr. LHP) following suit with 13 strikeouts to close out the series.
Senior 3B Carson Kimball enjoyed the most success at-bat against the Tigers, hitting for .500 with one RBI and a scored through the two-game sweep.
Tomball has enjoyed its fair share of success in the fledgling postseason.
LSU-commit Cade Arrambide (Jr. C) will likely be the difference-maker in the Cougars lineup against TWHS, having most recently contributing two RBIs in Tomball's 4-2 deciding victory against College Park.
But don't sleep on senior 2B Alan Lopez (Houston-signee) making an impact in the batter's box, either. Paired with an impressive bullpen of their own, the Cougs can pose a threat to any team.
2022-23 Tomball Cougars Baseball
Jamie Wright (VYPE)
Cy Woods Baseball after becoming Area Champs
Matthew Ogle (VYPE)
Cypress Woods Wildcats
2022-23 Regular Season: 28-3/District 16-6A Champions
Head Coach: Phil Schwarz
Klein Oak Panthers
2022-23 Regular Season: 20-10-1/District 15-6A Champions
Head Coach: Bo Hernandez
Cy Woods Baseball is nothing if not tenacious.
Despite falling behind 5-0 in the opening match against Oak Ridge, the Wildcats--buoyed by a remarkable showing by junior 1B McClane Helton (2-3, 5 RBI, 2 2B)--rallied to claim a 7-5 comeback victory in Game No. 1.
CWHS would then proceed to make another late-game comeback in game two to secure a trip to the Regional Quarters. This was thanks, in large part, to the efforts made by senior outfielders, Sam Myers (2 RBIs) and Kolvin Davis (3-4), as well as relief pitcher Ty Mason (Jr.) who earned the night's save.
The next obstacle they face is Klein Oak, who has emerged has one of the scary sleepers this Spring.
Oaks' Makoy Stone (Jr. OF) had himself a series against Grand Oaks, racking up some key RBIs to help lead the Panthers to Round No. 3. Junior infielders Reed Osborne and EJ Garcia also remained consistent, hitting 3-for-7 and 3-for-8 respectively.
Cy Woods and Klein Oak will be facing off at Tomball High School starting this Thursday. This is a matchup you won't want to miss.
2022-23 Klein Oak Baseball
2022-23 Clear Falls Baseball
Clear Falls Knights
2022-23 Regular Season: 19-12/District 24-6A Champions
Head Coach: Eddie Youngblood
2022-23 Regular Season: 27-5-1/District 23-6A Champions
Head Coach: David Rogers
Clear Falls made history this past week by reaching the third round of the playoffs for the first time in school history.
The Knights have been able to depend on the two-punch knockout of Alec Beversdorf (Sr. RHP) and Texas-commit David Ramirez (So. LHP) into the postseason, which was evidenced by their consecutive shutout victories against Summer Creek.
Clear Falls will also look to senior OF Maxwell Williams to anchor the lineup when they need some big hits against Pearland this week.
Speaking of, the Oilers are coming off a thriller of a series against Atascocita, which was highlighted by a 4-3 walkoff win in Game No. 3 via an RBI-single hit by Bubba Moya (Jr. OF).
Look for Texas A&M-signee Caden Ferraro (Sr. P/1B) to have a major impact on the outcome of the ensuing series.
The two surging ball clubs will meet at Channelview High School to decide who advances to the Regional Tournament
Some of the stars of 2022-23 Pearland Baseball
2022-23 Kingwood Mustangs Baseball
Kingwood Mustangs (22-7-3/District 21-6A Champions) v. Clear Springs Chargers (20-9-1/FInished 3rd in District 24-6A)
Senior C JJ Kennett of Ridge Point Baseball
Class 6A’s opening round has effectively set the stage for the upcoming spectacle of postseason baseball.
City-wide fanbases should be chomping at the bit for the various contenders and dark horses slotted to face off through the coming days of the Area Round.
Without further ado, here are VYPE’s picks for the can’t-miss series matchups of the UIL-Class 6A Area Round.
Who you got going to Round No. 3?
2022-23 Atascocita Baseball
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-10-2/Finished 3rd in District 21-6A
Head Coach: Eric Matthews
What an exhilarating postseason debut Atascocita had!
The Eagles had the district 22-6A runner-ups against the ropes for the entirety of their thrilling series, ultimately resulting in a 6-4 series clincher over a formidable Deer Park team.
You wouldn't have guessed that AHS missed out on the playoffs last season by the way they've performed throughout 2023. Sixteenth-year coach Eric Matthews has an imposing roster--Arkansas-signee Kendall George (Sr. OF), with 2022 second-teamers Kaden McCoy (Jr. IF/P) and Nicholas Baker (Jr. RHP)--prepared to take their talents to the next round.
On the flip side, Pearland showcased exactly why they reached the Regional Semis a year ago, during their outclassing against Brazoswood.
Any one player on their lineup is liable to go off, evidenced by big-time hits made by various batters--senior SS Anthony Avalos, Texas A&M-signee Caden Ferraro (Sr. P/1B), SHSU-signee Brett Smajstrla (Sr. OF), and senior C/3B Jace Caceres--through the first series.
Pair that with the lethal pitching at coach Rogers' disposal--Tennessee-commit Ryler Smart (LHP), junior righty Jake Mader-Cooper, the aforementioned Ferraro, and more--and the Oilers look to be one of the most lethal programs in the state.
This should amount to be one of the more entertaining bouts to witness this week.
2022-23 Cy-Fair Bobcats Baseball
2022-23 Regular Season: 18-14/District 17-6A Champions
Head Coach: Billy Hardin
Cy-Fair earned their fourth district title out of the the last five years, this Spring, for good reason.
For one thing, the BFND crew's bullpen can be downright lethal. This was evidenced by the lockdown pitching shown by seniors Brayden Vickery and Dylan Parton, with the latter throwing 10 Ks while allowing a single run in the series clincher.
In addition, coach Billy Hardin has a highly capable group of batters, featuring the likes of 2022 first-team all-district selections--seniors outfielders Kyle Chambers and Parker Lewis--to anchor the pack.
Katy has imposed their will on the opposition on more than one occasion throughout this season as well.
The dominance displayed against Fort Bend Austin is just a taste of what the Tigers are capable of, in all facets of the game.
Senior catcher/infielder Brady Englett had one of his best performances of the year, hitting not one, but two long-bombs to to cap off Katy's first round sweep. Team captain Graham Laxton (Sr. IF) and senior Cole Kaase were also among those on the lineup who were major contributors to the score-fest.
Be sure to stay posted on this matchup. The winner may very well have a significant impact on the proceeding rounds of the postseason.
2022-23 Regular Season: 12-13-1/Finished 4th in District 18-6A
Head Coach: David Muñoz
Round No. 1 was business as usual for Ridge Point.
The back-to-back undefeated district champs won't settle for anything less than another trip to the State Semis, and they have the star-power to back it up.
Texas-commit Jack McKernan (So. LHP/IF), senior catcher JJ Kennett (Dallas Baptist-signee), Travis Vlasek (Sr. 1B)--the list goes on as to who will be the ultimate difference-maker at any given point of a game.
The Panthers are now tasked with facing Houston Lamar, who has subtly emerged as a potential sleeper this Spring.
2022-23 Regular Season: 22-7-3/District 21-6A Champions
Head Coach: Kelly Mead
Strake Jesuit Crusaders
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-11-1/Finished 3rd in District 23-6A
Head Coach: Raul Garcia-Rameau
Kingwood handled Channelview with authority in their Spring playoff debut, outscoring them 22-0 through the series sweep.
The Kelly Mead-led team is already ahead of schedule, given that they were eliminated in the first round a year ago. But don't think means the Mustangs will become complacent--they assuredly will be aiming for more.
With some of the group various leaders on the diamond--Ty Boatright (Sr. OF), senior catcher Liam O'Leary, and Joshua Pelfrey (Sr. P)--steering the ship, KHS seems to be one of the scarier teams in Class 6A.
Strake Jesuit might just give them a run for their money, so there won't be any reason for either side to hold back.
2022-23 Cy Woods Baseball
Oak Ridge War Eagles
2022-23 Regular Season: 16-13/Finished 2nd in District 13-6A
Head Coach: JJ Peirce
Cy Woods topped our power rankings just before the playoffs kicked off due to the tremendous prowess they conveyed during the regular season.
Under first-year head coach Phil Schwarz, the Wildcats have one of the most complete rosters across the board and they currently tout a 30-3 record heading into Round No. 2.
TCU-signee Sam Myers (Sr. OF) remains efficient at the plate, most recently batting .500, with a pair of RBIs and a run scored against Tomball Memorial. Future Aggie Brady Sullivan (Sr. OF) went 2-for-3 (RBI, R), while senior catcher Kaden Stegent converted both his plate appearances to tack on a trio of RBIs.
On the other hand, Oak Ridge has proven themselves to be worthy competitors in 2023, which was indicated by their 13-0 rout versus Dekaney.
Hats off to senior outfielder Dillon Staples who went 3-for-3 on the night, sending four runners home while scoring three more himself.
Also look for Texas-signee Hayden Morris (Sr. RHP) and senior catcher Conner Bennett (Houston-signee) to have an impact on this anticipated series.
2022-23 Oak Ridge Baseball
Cinco Ranch Cougars (27-4/Finished 2nd in District 19-6A) v. Memorial Mustangs (17-12-1/Finished 3rd in District 17-6A)
Clear Falls Knights (19-12/District 24-6A Champions) v. Summer Creek Bulldogs (16-12-1/Finished 2nd in District 21-6A)
The Woodlands Highlanders(25-6-1/District 13-6A Champions) v. Klein Collins Tigers (16-12-2/Finished 3rd in District 15-6A)
Cy Creek Cougars (10-19-1/Finished 4th in District 17-6A) v. Tompkins Falcons (22-6-1/Finished 19-6A Champions)
Dobie Longhorns (21-6-2/District 22-6A Champions) v. Clear Springs Chargers (20-9-1/Finished 3rd in District 24-6A)
Klein Oak Panthers (20-10-1/District 15-6A Champions) v. Grand Oaks Grizzlies (19-8-2/Finished 3rd in District 13-6A)
College Park Cavaliers (18-13/Finished 4th in District 13-6A) v. Tomball Cougars(21-11/Finished 2nd in District 15-6A)