2014 Baseball Preview



  • 2013 finish: 31-9 (Class 4A state semifinalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 2
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: No. 3
  • Players to watch: Ryan Cheatham, Sr., P/INF; Patrick Mahomes, Sr., P/INF; Eric Munoz, Jr., INF; Jake Parker, Sr., P/INF
  • Outlook: Whitehouse is hoping to build off last season's record-breaking season, in which the Wildcats advanced to their first state tournament. Whitehouse is armed with perhaps the top pitching combo in the area in Mahomes and Cheatham, who combined for only one loss all last season.
Hallsville's Austin Blakeley. (Christopher R. Vinn,


  • 2013 finish: 28-7 (Class 4A regional quarterfinalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 7
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: No. 7
  • Players to watch: Logan Bailey, Jr., INF; Connor Reich, Sr., P/OF; Jacob Walker, Jr., OF; Coby Weaver, Jr., P/OF
  • Outlook: The Bobcats may have lost Texas A&M signee Ronnie Gideon to graduation, but they return of bevy of talented starters. Included is Reich, a TCU signee who was injured and unable to play in Hallsville's third-round playoff series vs. Whitehouse. Walker, Weaver and Bailey make for a talented 2015 class for the Bobcats as well.
Pleasant Grove's Trey Jeans (left). (Courtesy photo)

Pleasant Grove

  • 2013 finish: 28-14 (Class 3A state finalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 2
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: No. 3
  • Players to watch: Jarod Bayless, Jr., INF/P; Hudson Hopkins, Jr., OF; Trey Jeans, Sr., P/OF; Dylan Silvey, Sr., OF/P
  • Outlook: Pleasant Grove will be shooting for a seventh consecutive trip to the state tournament, and the Hawks will have plenty of firepower back to help in that endeavor. Jeans is a ULL signee, while Bayless enjoyed breakout success as a sophomore.
Carthage coach Jim Goldman (right) talks with Jack Morris. (Christopher R. Vinn,


  • 2013 finish: 29-8 (Class 3A regional semifinalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 6
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: No. 8
  • Players to watch: Kolby Blissett, Sr., INF; Blake Bogenschutz, Sr., INF/P; Tyler Musgrove, Sr., OF/P; William Rittenberry, Sr., P
  • Outlook: Carthage will look to rebound form an uncharacteristically early exit from the playoffs -- the fourth round. The Bulldogs lost last season's staff ace JayDon Day, but return Rittenberry, who posted ace-like numbers as a junior. Blissett, Bogenschutz and Musgrove are capable of providing Carthage with a formidable offensive lineup.



  • 2013 finish: 21-12 (Class 3A regional finalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 15
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: None
  • Players to watch: Alex Aguilar, Jr., INF/P; Eric DeJesus, Sr., P/INF; Gunner Horton, Jr., INF; Antonio Pantoja, Sr., OF
  • Outlook: Diboll came within a game of reaching the state tournament a season ago, and the Lumberjacks are aiming to get there this season. DeJesus, an SFA signee, is one of the area's top overall players and Aguilar gives Diboll adequate depth on the mound.


Nacogdoches Central Heights

  • 2013 finish: 24-8 (Class 2A regional semifinalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 7
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: No. 6
  • Players to watch: Joel Badders, Jr., OF/C; Duke Ellis, Soph., UTL; Zach Johnson, Soph., INF/P; Sheldon McCown, Soph., INF/P
  • Outlook: Central Heights lost Arkansas signee Alex Phillips to graduation, but the cupboard is not bare for second-year coach Robert Ellis. A talented sophomore class that includes Johnson, Duke Ellis and McCown figures to ensure the Blue Devils remain good for a long time.
Hughes Springs players celebrate after a 5-1 win against Bangs in a Class 2A state semifinal June 5, 2013, in Round Rock. (Travis Harsch,

Hughes Springs

  • 2013 finish: 36-2 (Class 2A state finalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 10
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: None
  • Players to watch: Chad McKinney, Sr., C; Dylan Moore, Sr., P; Hunter Smith, Jr., OF; Jacob Taylor, Sr., INF
  • Outlook: Hughes Springs got all the way to the state championship game a season ago, and many are expecting big things from the Mustangs again in 2014. Much of the optimism centers around the return of Moore and McKinney, who could be East Texas' top pitcher-catcher combination.
Edgewood's Sean Grell. (Christopher R. Vinn,


  • 2013 finish: 25-8 (Class 2A regional quarterfinalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 20
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: None
  • Players to watch: Jakeb Hunter, Sr., OF/P; Jace Morgan, Sr., INF; Jason Thompson, Jr., OF/P; Jackson Tyner, Jr., P
  • Outlook: Edgewood returns a young nucleus, led by junior flame-thrower Jackson Tyner. Morgan, Hunter and Thompson give longtime coach Jason Seale plenty to work with in the Bulldogs' attempt to build upon last season's third-round playoff finish.



  • 2013 finish: 24-5 (Class A regional finalist)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 1
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: No. 1
  • Players to watch: Hunter Lee, Jr., UTL; Brandon Stanfield, Sr., C/INF; Matthew Wallace, Sr., P/INF; Bryce Westbrook, Sr., P/INF
  • Outlook: Douglass had its season ended by Carlisle in the regional final, but it is ranked ahead of Carlisle in two polls as those two could once again meet late in the playoffs come May. Wallace is one of the top 1A players in the entire state, while Stanfield, Westbrook and Lee make Douglass an early front-runner to reach Round Rock.
The Carlisle Indians receive their state championship trophy after a 6-1 win against Stamford in the Class A state championship game June 6, 2013, in Round Rock. (Travis Harsch,


  • 2013 finish: 29-1 (Class A state champion)
  • Preseason ranking: No. 2
  • Preseason THSBCA ranking: No. 7
  • Players to watch: Zach Brightwell, Sr., P/OF; Caleb Colley, Sr., INF; Ben Goss, Jr., P/INF; Kolton Heim, Sr., DH/INF
  • Outlook: Defending state champ Carlisle lost standouts Gunner Baker and Shadow Sanders to graduation, but the Indians do bring back several key cogs from 2013. Brightwell was the state championship game MVP, while Colley, Goss and Heim give coach Wesley Colley tons of big-game experience at his disposal.