Houston baseball led by West Side

By on February 17, 2015 8:33 am

Some of Houston’s best baseball programs reside in the West.

It’s at a point where not making deep playoff runs is unacceptable for Cypress Ranch. That’s how good the program has been since winning it all in 2012. Expect a reloaded Mustang squad despite some key losses. Just switch the names. Instead of players like Corbin Martin, Derek Dickerson or Bryce Johnson, it’s hard-hitting catcher Marshall Skinner and outfielder Elijah McNamee leading the way. Riley Gossett will be key on the mound with Weston Brown. Senior infielder Ryan Leftwich is a veteran on this team now.

Cy Ranch is loaded again.

Cy Ranch is loaded again.

No reason Cy Ranch shouldn’t be in the mix for a 17-6A title and then some. However, the Mustangs will have to pry it away from a very talented Langham Creek team.

Sure ace pitcher Aaron Fletcher is at University of Houston now and speedy Eric Thomas is with the Pittsburg Pirates’ organization, but don’t tell head coach Armando Sedeno his team is taking a step back.

This lineup is stacked and basically the same exact one from last year’s regional semifinal team. Senior centerfielder Tyler Rand (a Texas-signee), junior catcher Mikey Hoehner and junior second baseman John Michael Sopher are just a few big names on this roster who were all big contributors from 2014. Don’t sleep on Zach Sweet as well.

Senior infielder Jarrod Wells returns from injury too. He took a ball to the face last year that sidelined him. Only question is, who’s pitching?

Much like a lot of teams on this list, George Ranch doesn’t know what a down year is. The Longhorns got all the way to the Class 5A state semifinals, but took a graduation hit.

No worries. Kevin Kopps (Arkansas-signee) returns as one of the best pitchers in the class. He’ll have catcher Garrett Gray (Tulane) and outfielder Alex Shaver (Oklahoma State). The core is intact for George Ranch to keep the success up. Don’t forget covergirl and crafty lefty Sarah Hudek and Jonathan Kastens.

The Westside Wolves are kings of 20-6A. While last year’s end in the area round might’ve been tough to swallow, this team can be even better in 2015. The key? They’re all juniors — seven of the nine returning starters to be exact. This is basically the same team with a ton of big-time experience.

Westside is the king of HISD.

Westside is the king of HISD.

Brandt Belk is a beast on the mound, so is senior Taylor Masaryk. Won’t be easy to get around a Westside lineup with Mitchell Caskey and Zach Cherry, among others.

It’s a new era at Cy-Fair with Paul Orlando taking over for retired head coach Woody Champagne. The Bobcats certainly gave their head coach a great send-off by getting to the regional semifinals.

Expect an even stronger team this year with ace pitcher Clayton Kopecky back on the mound. Maxx Chrest will do some pitching this year, too. Shortstop Beau Orlando has become one of the better players in 17-6A. This team is loaded with seniors. Outfielder Johnny Rizer, Luis Silva, first-baseman Will Dawson and pitcher Noah Hess will keep Cy-Fair among the elite.

Katy always fields a competitive team in Region 3-6A. The Tigers will be expected to win 19-6A in 2015. The Tigers have eight returning starters including top-notch first baseman Taylor Cox and catcher Trey Clapp. There are strong arms in Garrett Doiron, Tyler Whillock, Dane Haveman and Jack Silva, too. Everything is here for the status quo to continue at Katy.

Strake Jesuit jumped into the playoff picture last year out in 19-6A. Could the Crusaders do even better in 2015? Zach Zubia will lead the way on the mound and at first. Coll Stanley at second is headed to Texas A&M. Travis Parker is a mainstay at third, while Stephen Price serves a few roles. Strake Jesuit has everything it needs to compete in 19-6A again.

Foster is hoping to avoid last year’s first-round out. Experience counts with Riley Hood leading the way at third and shortstop Hunter Kasuls and outfielder Trent Murphy earned all-district honors in 2014.

As far as disappointing years go, 2014 was a big one for a Cy Woods’ team used to being among the elite. So naturally, the Wildcats expect to jump back into the conversation. Centerfielder Grant Golson returns as the most experienced Wildcat. Riley Richert – a Houston-commit – will pitch and play in the outfield after making second-team all-district. Gabe Guzman brings power to the lineup.

Last year, Cy Creek players presented head coach Rusty Sample with a toy championship belt, signifying their belief he deserved Coach of the Year honors. The first-year skipper had the Cougars come out of nowhere to jump in the 17-6A title hunt last year.

Cy Creek should be good again with pitchers Christian Rivera and Gabe Sequeira back. Outfielder Stone Anderson impressed last year and shortstop Trey Smith and infielder Kyle Jeffcoat will provide the offense. Phillip Sanchez will play a big role as well.

The Cougars are ready for a breakout season.

The Cougars are ready for a breakout season.

Katy Taylor will have something to say about 19-6A too. The Mustangs are much younger, but it’s never wise to count them out. Shortstop Kendrick Holmes, pitcher/outfielder Zack Schindler, pitcher Tanner Knowles and pitcher/outfielder Ryan Hill are key seniors on this team.

Jersey Village is ready to get back at it and hopes to earn a playoff spot in the highly-competitive Cy-Fair ISD. Returning to the nest are Cole Frost, Kevin Survance, John Sliepka and Frank Sheehy.

The 12-Pack

Top Teams

 

Cypress Ranch Mustangs

Langham Creek Lobos

George Ranch Longhorns

Westside Wolves

Cy-Fair Bobcats

Katy Tigers

Strake Jesuit Crusaders

Foster Falcons

Cy Woods Wildcats

Cy Creek Cougars

Katy Taylor Mustangs

Jersey Village Falcons

Difference-Makers

Brandt Belk, P/INF, Westside

Tyler Rand, CF, Langham Creek

Riley Hood, INF, George Ranch

Riley Gossett, P, Cy Ranch

Trey Clapp, C, Katy

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