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Fort Bend Fabulous
2016 Season: Reached Regional Quarters; Fell to Deer Park
Coach: Marc Jones
The Fort Bend Cougars are often forgotten in the district, but are trending as a regional favorite in 2017. The Cougars have been to one regional final in the history of the school and that was in 2012.
Can they catch lighting in a bottle again?
Coach Marc Jones returns Simeon Woods-Richardson, who was the Co-MVP of the District for his dominance on the mound. The loose-armed junior has committed to Texas along with his hard-hitting teammate Alec Carr, who makes his money at the plate. Carr is also the football team’s starting QB.
Lefty Noah Huerta (Texas Tech) had a big season a year ago, while Jeremiah McCollum (Florida A&M) earned first- team, all-district honors in 2016.
The Cougars are a sexy pick, but fell twice to Travis in district play. Can they get over that hump?
THE WOODLANDS HIGHLANDERS
A Power Coming Out of Region II
2016 Season: Fell in First-Round to Klein Collins
Coach: Ron Eastman
The Highlanders stubbed their toe coming out of the chute in last season’s UIL playoffs, but coach Ron Eastman’s bunch is a balanced team ready for a run in the new Region II.
Keep in mind, The Woodlands has three state titles on the mantle and know how to go the distance. The staff is solid with LSU-signee Devin Fontenot, junior lefty Steven Beard and Cole Sichley (Penn).
Leading at the plate will be senior first-team, all-district selections Ryan Tacket and Vincent Secrest (Lamar), while Zach La Confora holds it down behind the plate. Cole Creighton was a second-teamer.
Sophomore Will Swope has transferred from southeast Texas and has committed to the Longhorns already. He’s a two- way player with college ability. Hayden Williams and freshman Drew Romo could be big contributors, while Michael Rapagnani and Shane Sirdashney bring more varsity experience.
Tough Move to Region III
2016 Season: Reached Regional Finals; Fell to Dallas Jesuit
Coach: Eric Matthews
The Atascocita Eagles’ athletic program is solid. Football reached the state Final Four, hoops reached state last year and baseball advanced to the regional finals. The Eagles drew the eventual state champ Dallas Jesuit and bowed out in the Elite Eight.
Coach Eric Matthews is thrilled to welcome back three first-team, all- district studs to the nest along with second-teamer Austin Nelson.
Crafty, senior lefty Jonathan Petsch returns as the ace of the staff, mowing down district-mates en route to a first- team nod. San Jacinto-signee Alden Blest can also pitch from the left side and is a solid fielder. Blest and Petsch give Atascocita a lethal one-two punch.
Alerick Soularie is a beast at the plate, on the base-paths and in the field. No wonder why Arkansas signed this five- tool talent. Running down balls in the outfield will be Dawud Shorts, who also doubles as a football star.
Region III just got a lot more interesting with the Eagles soaring overhead.
KLEIN COLLINS TIGERS
2016 Season: Reached the Regional Quarters; Fell to Atascocita
Coach: Chris Griffin
Klein ISD has always been a power conference in baseball. Klein Collins carries the banner this season as the district adds the Spring Branch schools. Coach Chris Griffin had a scrappy bunch a year ago, who knocked off The Woodlands and Round Rock, before falling to Atascocita in three games.
It will be the bats that carry this team with the likes of Jon Windham (UL-L), Tyler Rosplock, Dillon Nesbit and Jack Rogers. Rogers is the ace of the staff and is headed to Sam Houston. Rosplock will also help on the mound.
Behind the plate is Nesbit, while Diego Davilla (SFA) anchors the middle-infield. Chasing down balls in the outfield is Cameron Godfrey, who doubles as an all- district cornerback for the football team.
Klein Collins will battle the likes of Klein Oak, Memorial and Klein for the four playoff spots.
KATY TAYLOR MUSTANGS
The ‘Stangs Will Represent Katy ISD
2016 Season: Reached First-Round of Postseason
Coach: Matt Glover
VYPE is taking a bit of a flier on the Katy Taylor Mustangs as coach Matt Glover has a senior-heavy squad with tons of experience. Can they knock off Seven Lakes for district supremacy?
First-team pitcher Matt Whelan returns along with Matt Stockard (UNC-Asheville) and Will Reynaud on the bump. Handling the catching duties is Brandon Fremin. Daniel Butke anchors the lineup and can play virtually anywhere in the field. He’s committed to Pepperdine. Alex Stokes and Chase Carlson man the middle infield, while Brennan Lucas patrols the outfield.
Another big stick in the lineup is Max Wright, who is a four-star football prospect at defensive line for Taylor.