The Jesuit Rangers baseball team came into their 2013 campaign with high expectations, as the predicated 9-5A champions for the 4th straight year. With the Rangers halfway through district play, it’s time to check up on the team and how they have lived up to these high expectations. With good pitching and some timely hitting the Rangers have fought through a tough schedule, and have come out with a record of 19-5-1. Here is how they did it:

Centex Hardball Tournament

The Centex hardball tournament is an annual tourney held in Austin drawing some of the best competition from around the Lone Star State. The Rangers started off the tourney and the season against Austin’s Lake Travis. This game featured the Rangers starting three sophomores in the first game of the season, Darius Hill ’15 in center field, Nic Ready ’15 at 1st base and Grant Reuben ’15 in right field. However it was the veterans that stole the show as seniors Johnny Morin ’13, Shea Stine ’13, and William Hairston ’13 came up big in multiple ways.

Morin pitched a complete game, Stine had a big RBI double, and Hairston was 2-3 with a HR and double.

In the second game they knocked off Odessa Permian 8-6 behind the help of pitcher Luke Gibbons ’14 and Stuart Deary ’14, who had a monster game with 2 clutch HR’s.  With senior Al Higgins on the mound, they then dismantled Pflugerville 14-0 before dropping their first game of the season to Austin Bowie 9-6. After the tough loss, they came to play on the final day of the tournament as they won a pair of one run games, besting San Antonio Central 4-3 and Cedar Park 7-6. The standout player for the two games was “diaper dandy” Darius Hill ’13 as he was 3-8 with a double.  Second year varsity player Max Ready’14 said “Overall we played really well in the tournament, but we still have some things to work on, also it was good seeing the sophomores not nervous and ready to play.”

Jesuit Classic

The Jesuit classic has been a stalemate on the schedule of the Rangers for the past couple of years. The Rangers play host to a tournament that allows for the odd occurrence of some teachers taking their classes to watch the games at Jesuit baseball stadium. The Rangers started off the tournament with a shutout from Garret Franzoi ’13 and a big game from Phillip Young ’13 as they knocked off Mesquite Poteet 4-0.

That led to the pronounced “Battle for Booher Part 3” as Jesuit squared off with cross-town rival Bishop Lynch for baseball bragging rights. Johnny Morin
took the ball for the Rangers and played in the moment, pitching well and getting the W allowing 4 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings as the Rangers won the big game 10-5. Next up for the Rangers, from just down the Tollway, were the West Wolves of Plano. The always competitive Wolves however played second fiddle to the Rangers as Jesuit kept the good times rolling with a 7-1 victory. Later that night they got demolished by Rockwall 11-0.
The next day, Jesuit came out for the last game of the tourney and tied Burleson Centennial 4-4, a disappointing outcome as the Rangers felt like they should have knocked them off. Chris Mueller ‘14, who came in relief for the game, said “We were disappointed in our performance because we couldn’t swing the bats, our pitching kept us in the game but we couldn’t get any run support.”

Arlington ISD tournament

The third and last tournament the Rangers competed in was the Arlington ISD tournament. They came into the tournament with high hopes. Luke Gibbons ‘14 said “Honestly we thought we should sweep the tournament, the teams in the tourney weren’t as strong as some of the past teams we played.” The tournament started off well as they bested Arlington Lamar in the first game 5-2 and knocked off Arlington Bowie 6-1 in the second game.

Then the team hit a snag as they dropped a game to Keller Timber Creek 4-2. They bounced back in the next game, run ruling Arlington Sam Houston 14-1, before losing to Euless Trinity 3-2. While they had a 3-2 record through the tournament, the Rangers didn’t play up to their full potential. Charlie Young ’14 commented “Coach also talks about doing the little things right, and in our two losses we did just the opposite, we didn’t bunt well and didn’t hit with runners in scoring position.” The star for the tournament was the pitching staff, as they only allowed 11 runs through five games, with 31 K’s and only 7 Earned runs.

District play

Then the Rangers entered district play, with their sights set on a 4th straight district crown. Wheeler Nakahara ’13 commented that “going into district we knew our main competition was Lake Highlands and W.T. White.” In the first district game of the season, the Rangers gave Johnny Morin the ball and he came through with a dominating complete game with 15 strikeouts as the Rangers started off district 1-0 with a 9-1 win.

Next, they took on Richardson Berkner, who had upset Lake Highlands 1-0 in their first district game, but they couldn’t get two in a row as Jesuit won 4-1. This brought up a tough district matchup with W.T. White; however the game didn’t live up to expectation as the Rangers won 7-1 behind the golden arm of ace Johnny Morin.

Later that week the Rangers took on Lake Highlands in a game of epic proportions. It lived up to expectations as the scoreboard read 4-4 going into the bottom of the 7th. After a leadoff single from Darius Hill and a walk from Grant Reuben, the stage was set. Nic Ready walked up to the plate with the game on the line, having 2 outs, on the third pitch of the at bat ripped a fastball over the head of the Wildcat’s center fielder for a walk off home run.

This was a huge win as it gave them momentum for the coming matchup with the surprising JJ Pearce Mustangs, who were undefeated in district play. The Mustangs came to play and beat the Rangers 2-0 in a pitcher’s duel, handing Jesuit their first loss in district play in 3 seasons. This loss lit a fire in the Rangers as they came back and beat Sunset 18-0 and Richardson 10-4.

They stand at 8-1 in district play and 19-5-1 overall. They also sport a #7 area ranking in the 5A polls. While the Rangers are playing some good baseball they need the fans’ support as they complete their district play.  So grab a chair, sunflower seeds, your friends and family, and come out to the Jesuit baseball field this season.