High School Baseball

No. 3 Katy shows off lineup depth in area playoff sweep

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 5/14/21

The impressive quality of depth Katy High has in its lineup was showcased in the Tigers’ 10-0 Game 2 area playoff win over Cy Ridge in five innings on Friday at Katy High. It was the 7-8-9 hitters that got Katy off to a fast start as junior Parker Kidwell and sophomore Graham Laxton drilled RBI doubles.

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High School Baseball

No. 3 Katy shows off lineup depth in area playoff sweep

Posted

The impressive quality of depth Katy High has in its lineup was showcased in the Tigers’ 10-0 Game 2 area playoff win over Cy Ridge in five innings on Friday at Katy High. It was the 7-8-9 hitters that got Katy off to a fast start as junior Parker Kidwell and sophomore Graham Laxton drilled RBI doubles.

In all, Kidwell, junior Judson Ceyanes and Laxton combined to go 7-for-7 with four RBIs to boost No. 3 Katy (29-3) to its 17th consecutive win heading into next week’s regional quarterfinals.

“They’re so underrated,” junior Ryan George said of the bottom of the lineup. “It’s the fact that our lineup is so good that everyone just pays attention to the top four, top five. But they don’t see all the hard work and dirty work happens at the bottom of the lineup. Those guys have put in a lot of work to have the success they’ve had.”

Laxton was particularly exceptional. The centerfielder, whom coach Tom McPherson said is the team’s best defensive player, went 2-for-2 with three RBIs in the No. 9 slot. His two-run single with two outs in the third gave Katy a 6-0 lead.

“I think our lineup is pretty good all the way through,” Laxton said. “You can flip it around and it’d be just as good. We all see the ball really well and we’re able to drive it to all fields. At any point in the game, we can bust it open.”

It was George, however, who provided the highlight of the evening with a two-run inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning, the first inside-the-park homer of his career.

George launched a shot to right center and the Rams never had a chance to track him down.

“As soon as I started rounding second, I looked back to the ball and was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ That thing was absolutely crushed, and the wind definitely helped,” George said. “As soon as I rounded second, I knew I had a chance.”

McPherson said George is the fastest player on the team. George’s speed reminds the veteran coach of former Katy star Michael Fuda, who played at Rice. George proved it.

“Every bag, I gain at least two miles more per hour,” he said. “I just kept adding extra and extra.”

It was a fun night for the Tigers, who pounded out 11 hits and struck out just three times. Senior shortstop Aiden Huerta drilled a solo homer, his fourth of the season. Senior catcher Jack Johnson had a booming triple off the outfield wall.

The offense was more than enough to support senior ace Caleb Matthews on an uncharacteristic off day.

Matthews earned the win, throwing five scoreless innings and allowing three hits while striking out four and walking three. Only 48 of his 74 pitches were strikes. Still, the Rice signee calmly worked his way out of big jams twice.

In the fourth, Cy Ridge loaded the bases with one out before Matthews induced a shallow flyout to center and struck out Desi Mireles to dismiss the threat. The next inning, the Rams put two runners on with no outs before Matthews struck out Daniel Galloway and forced Kyle Marr to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, the third time the Tigers’ infield turned two in the game.

“Sometimes he gets into his mind, but he doesn’t have to pitch very good every night,” McPherson said of Matthews. “He’ll tell you otherwise, but you saw when guys got on base, he got mad, he competed, and he struck them out. Sometimes it’s a lack of focus just a little bit, but he’s 21-2 in his high school career. He’s a good one to have out there.”

Indeed, even when the Tigers are not at their best at times, they are still dominant.

“As a team, we’re the best we’ve ever been at this point,” Laxton said. “What’s that, (17) wins in a row now? We’ve just got to keep it going.”

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