High School Baseball

No. 3 Katy secures 19-6A title with ease

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 4/20/21

All offseason and through the early part of this season, Katy High baseball players talked often about redeeming 2020.

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High School Baseball

No. 3 Katy secures 19-6A title with ease

Posted

All offseason and through the early part of this season, Katy High baseball players talked often about redeeming 2020.

The Tigers felt last season’s team was special before the 2020 high school baseball campaign was abruptly canceled because of the pandemic. That only served as fuel heading into this year, with players desperately intent on making the 2021 club one to remember.

They talked the talk, and they’ve gone out and justified it.

Katy has started the season with 24 wins in its first 27 games and a No. 3 state ranking in Class 6A. The latest achievement is the District 19-6A championship, which the Tigers secured with Tuesday’s 11-2 win over Seven Lakes at home.

“From the beginning, we had a lot to prove,” said senior ace Caleb Matthews, who earned his eighth win and allowed two runs on five hits while striking out three and walking two in six innings of work. “Last year, we felt we had a lot to say and didn’t get a chance to show it. This year, we’re stronger and better.

“Accomplishing a district title is something we all expected, but it’s for sure a great moment. And this is just the beginning. We’re ready to keep going and our confidence keeps going.”

The Tigers improved to 11-0 in district, 24-3 overall, in winning their first district championship since 2017 and their first outright district title since 2014.

“Our guys have worked extremely hard and they’re a great bunch of kids to be around,” coach Tom McPherson said. “They’re special. They deserve this. Great kids, great academics, great people. And they’re pretty good baseball players, too.”

That would be a drastic understatement.

Trailing 2-1, the Tigers blew the game open in the third inning, scoring 10 runs on eight hits off junior right-hander Ethan Van Horn.

Six Tigers recorded RBIs in the frame. Matthews, senior Jack Johnson, senior Ryan Brome and senior Aiden Huerta had RBI singles. Sophomore Graham Laxton executed a textbook hit for an RBI on a squeeze play. Junior Ryan George crushed two RBI triples in the inning.

“When we get a flow going, it’s unstoppable,” George said. “It really is. We noticed the curveball and changeup. He was slow, so we had to lay back and try to drive it to the opposite side.”

From there, Matthews, who had an atypical inauspicious start, held the Spartans scoreless. The Rice signee stayed true to his fastball and allowed one hit over the next three innings.

As talented as the Tigers are—and McPherson thinks this is one of his better teams—it’s the intangibles that separate them from the pack, specifically their chemistry.

“It’s so much fun,” Brome said. “The energy in the dugout is unlike any team I’ve ever been on.”

McPherson has two starting pitchers who are undefeated, five quality arms in his bullpen and a lineup that hits .350 with power. But it’s the determination and moxie of the nine seniors—especially four-year letterman Johnson and three-year lettermen Matthews, Brome and Huerta—that serve as the foundation of a team that plays together and for each other.

“It is an honor to be a part of this team,” George said. “We’re all brothers. We have chemistry, a special chemistry, and that leads to championships and leads to wins. You can’t beat that.”

More so, the Tigers are not content. More impressively, they are playing like it, game in and game out.

“We know everyone’s coming for the Katy Tigers,” Matthews said. “Everyone wants to beat us. Everyone wants to play us. But we’re going out confident every game and giving it our best.

“Our coaches always say that there’s a difference between good teams and great teams, and the great teams are the ones that play hard, play up to their ability all the time and don’t stoop to their competition. We respect all, fear none.”

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