On paper Texas High’s chances of winning another district baseball championship are good in 2019.
The only catch is that realignment has taken away traditional powerhouse Hallsville, replacing the Bobcats with Lindale and Royse City.
“We lost three solid seniors, but we return a lot this year,” said veteran Texas High coach John McClure. “Five of our returners have been starting for me since they were sophomores. We still don’t have a dominant pitcher, but we’ve got several quality arms, and our top two starters (Walker Davis and Cameron Radney) are back.”
The Tigers finished 26-7 in 2018, losing to Forney in the postseason.
Graduation claimed outfielder Adam Quinn and infielders Cole Christensen and Dakota Turner. They’ll be missed, but McClure believes he has quality replacements.
Junior Micheal Sikorski and sophomore Rian Cellers are competing for the starting job at third. Cellers is also a possible starter in left, with senior Cole Jean being another possibility. Competing for the starting job at first are Davis, Radney and sophomore Jackson Halter. They could be alternating depending on who is pitching.
The five veteran lettermen include Davis, Jakob Hearn, Chris Sutton, Chris Lyles and Connor Allred. Sutton, Hearne and Lyles have been in the middle of the Tigers’ defense the past three seasons.
“Since we don’t have a shutdown guy on the mound, we’ve got to throw strikes and play flawless defense,” said McClure. “Davis won ten games for us last season. He knows how to pitch, and Radney really finished strong for us. Sutton and Sikorski are very capable, too. We’ve got twelve guys with experience on the mound.”
Dickson has stiff competition at catcher
Senior Caden Dickson was the Tigers’ starting catcher last season, but is facing stiff competition in 2019. Halter and senior Carson Wood are currently in the picture, too. McClure indicated the player swinging the hot bat will likely be starting behind the plate.
Allred, Lyles, Cellers and Jean give Texas High a lot of speed in the outfield. They’re all solid performers at the plate. Allred arguably has the strongest throwing arm on the team. Cellers committed to Mississippi State University in 2018 after starting as a freshman for the Tigers.
Texas High could be doing well to stay around the .500 mark early. McClure’s team will participate in three tournaments, two in the Dallas Metroplex area, where they’ll be facing some of the biggest schools in Texas, including the Allen Eagles. The Tigers will also journey to Shreveport for their final tournament.
The Tigers’ district schedule will not only feature new opposition, but a new format. THS will play each district foe three times instead of two.
“We could see some adversity the first two weeks, but it will be good for us,” said McClure. “It’s very simple. If our pitchers throw strikes, we play great defense, and score a lot of runs, we’ll be fine.”
McClure’s staff includes veterans Scott Minnie and Vince Minter. Lane Elliott and Justin Coats will be working with the junior varsity.