VYPE’s 2022 Baseball Preview: The Private School Prospectus

VYPE's 2022 Baseball Preview: The Private School Prospectus (Copyright (c) 2022 VYPE - All rights reserved)

Welcome to the 2022 baseball season. Check out the season preview for VYPE top private school baseball teams in the city of Houston.

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IT WAS RING SEASON IN 2021 AS LUTHERAN SOUTH ACADEMY AND BAY AREA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL WON TAPPS STATE DIVISION II AND DIVISION III TITLES, RESPECTIVELY. THE EPISCOPAL KNIGHTS WON THE SOUTHWEST PREPARATORY CONFERENCE TO PUT ICING ON THE CAKE. CONCORDIA LUTHERAN HAD A BRILLIANT SEASON BUT JUST FELL SHORT IN THE TAPPS DI STATE FINAL AFTER THE PASSING OF THEIR COACH BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED. THE PRIVATE SCHOOL LANDSCAPE IN THE GREATER HOUSTON AREA IS HEALTHY AND SHOULD BEAR FRUIT IN 2022.

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CONCORDIA LUTHERAN CRUSADERS

It was a tough year for Concordia Lutheran baseball with the passing of their legendary coach Rick Lynch before last season. Coach Royce Kennedy took over and led the Crusaders to a State Final appearance. Back in the fold are some special talents. It starts with lefty pitcher Sean Fitzpatrick. Mr. Everything was first-team, all-state and all-district, and was on the State All-Tournament team. What will he do for an encore? All that is left for the Arkansas- signee is to win TAPPS State. He will have some help with super talents Jax and Nolan Traeger. Jax, the senior, will likely be relegated to the field as he gets totally healthy from an arm surgery. Nolan, the sophomore, is a national recruit at catcher and was a first-team, all-district selection as a freshman. Both will be playing their college ball at TCU. Junior Michael Herndon will pitch and also play outfield, while Alex Petrovic (Auburn) will pitch and play infield. Both were second-teamers. Concordia Lutheran finished second to St. Thomas in district play and second in State. That will likely not happen in 2022.

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BAY AREA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL BRONCOS Unleash the Broncos! Bay Area Christian School is the defending State TAPPS DIII Champs after going 28-4 and 6-0 in district play. Coach Kyle Kennedy has to be licking his chops to get back out on the diamond as he returns a decorated crew of experienced starters. JoJo Medellin is the man... literally. He was the TAPPS 4A Male Athlete of the Year after earning the District MVP; first-team, all- state honors and an all-tournament team selection. The shortstop has signed to Baylor and is the heartbeat of the team. But there is more. Grayson Thallman (St. Edwards) was a first-team, all-state centerfielder; Lane Escamilla (St. Thomas) was a first-team, all-state corner infielder; Michael Tweed was a second-team, all-state catcher; Adam Atwell was a second-team, all-state second-baseman and Ethan Mann was an honorable mention, all-state selection in the outfield. Also, watch out for David DuPont, Josh Flory and Jeremy Goza to play big roles in 2022. The Broncos are loaded and should fit for their State rings now.

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SECOND BAPTIST SCHOOL EAGLES Under the leadership of Rayner Noble, the Second Baptist School Eagles are not a team to toy around with. They have the arsenal of arms, led by Ty Baker Jr., who is committed to Texas A&M. Pairing with him is Dallas Baptist-commit Luke Pettitte, son of former major leaguer Andy Pettitte - who serves as the pitching coach for the Eagles. They could be one of the best one-two combos in the league by season’s end. Another arm in the arsenal is sophomore Turner Murdoch. The righty is the future for SBS and spins the baseball as good as he does the football after leading the Eagles to the TAPPS 5A State Championship game this fall. Another key returner is first-team, all-district selection Grayson Kim, who has pop in his bat. Other names to remember are Leighton Reddy, Andrew Rivers and Tommy Willis. In an ultra-competitive district, the Eagles soared to a 24-5 overall record last year and reached the Regional Finals. Now, in a district with defending State Champ LSA and perennial power TWCA, can the Eagles make that run to State in 2022?

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LUTHERAN SOUTH ACADEMY PIONEERS If you can win TAPPS DII District 5, you can win the State Tournament. Lutheran South Academy is a power baseball program, period. Coach Aaron Schneider has led the Pioneers to four TAPPS State Titles over the past six years. That’s a dynasty, folks. The Pioneers finished second behind Second Baptist School in district play before catching fire in the playoffs. They knocked off district-mate The Woodlands Christian Academy in the State Semis in a 1-0 instant classic, before crushing Southwest Christian School (Fort Worth) 16-0 in the finals. Really? Returning to the Pioneers program are seniors Deundre’ Jones (Kansas State) and twins Tyler (first base) and Garrett Helpenstill (catcher), Colt Powledge (third base) and Axel De Jesus (outfield). The Helpenstill brothers are both signed to Texas Lutheran. LSA is going to have to develop some much-needed pitching but, “In Schneider We Trust”. Can the Pioneers get one for the thumb?

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EPISCOPAL KNIGHTS The Episcopal Knights won another Southwest Preparatory Conference title, going 25-3-2 overall and 5-0 in conference play. Coach Matt Fox just continues to build on his 12-year resume with over 460 wins. Fox will need to develop some pitching, but he has some pieces that should get the Knights back into title contention. Paul Smith is the headliner at catcher. The Rice-signee will also eat up some innings on the mound and will be relied upon for clutch hitting. Tres Organ (UTSA) will also be looked at to pitch, when not playing his natural position of second base. Organ is the team’s leading hitter. The corner infielders are Andrew Thornton (third base) and Adam Katz (first base), who can also put the ball in play. Whitley O’Donnell will run down balls in the outfield. If the Knights can get some youngsters to step up, Episcopal will be back as the favorite.

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THE WOODLANDS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY WARRIORS The Woodlands Christian Academy lost a heart-breaker in the TAPPS Division II State Semifinals 1-0 to eventual champion Lutheran South. It was a tough way to say goodbye to the likes of Caedmon Parker (TCU), Payton Moser, Christian Berger, Austin Boyd and Bryce Burton among others. That loss has fueled the Warriors going into 2022. “When it happened, I told the returners to remember the feeling,” coach Brett Cleveland said. “When we worked all fall, we worked with that memory in our minds.” Cleveland returns some serious talent and senior leaders in catcher Marshall Hale, outfielder Carson Queck (Kansas State-signee) and lefty Nolan Newcomb. Ryan Lovell, Dane LeMaster, Hale and Queck will all get innings and work by committee. Chase Fuentes and move-in Arrington Eason (Grambling State-signee) will also be names to look for this Spring. “We will be pretty good on offense and defense, but our biggest question mark will be on the mound,” Cleveland said. “We are going to get a bunch of kids some reps before district play and see who emerges.”