#1 Tomball (34-4) vs #2 Corpus Christi Moody (33-6-1)
June 7, 7pm @ Dell Diamond (Round Rock)
Some might have seen this matchup coming once the four entries to the State Tournament were set. Tomball on their first trip in school history to the State Tournament, but chock full of talent. A team loaded with senior leadership, big arms, hot bats, and the cream of the crop in a very tough Region III. Corpus Christi Moody……. Need you really say more? Moody is a perennial contender that operates on the mindset of State Champions or bust, led this year by exceptionally talented juniors in Kenny Saenz and Michael Cantu. Not to say that any other matchup would have been a letdown in the final game of the season, but this one just seemed to have been in the making weeks ago.
Tomball enters tonight’s game on the heels of their 5-2 Semifinal win over Wichita Falls Rider in a game that seemed almost effortless for the Cougars. Rider was definitely a worthy opponent, but Tomball just seemed to be able to execute at all the right moments as though they had been in that same situation multiple times before. Tomball’s situational hitting in their half of the 3rd was truly a thing of beauty and accounted for four Cougar runs. Nicholas Banks set the tone in the lead-off position in the first when he went yard on a ball that never appeared to get more than 15 feet off the ground before being deposited well beyond the right field fence. Banks also threw a complete game 5-hitter en route to the win. That being said, Tomball has an abundance of pitching going in to tonight’s contest, as Banks was not a primary pitcher to this point for the Cougars, going only 1-0 on the year. Tomball collected 7 hits against a Rider pitching staff that doesn’t compare to what Moody will have to offer in the likes of Michael Cantu. However, Tomball is batting .319 as team on the season and last night’s starting lineup had hit .394 coming in. Look for Tomball to start Dugger (6-2) and go to Dunbar (7-0), Welborn (5-0), and Holub (5-0), according to what the game dictates.
Moody advanced to tonight’s final game by virtue of defeating a very pesky and talented Whitehouse team. Much of the credit goes to Kenny Saenz for holding a quality Wildcat lineup in check for 7 innings en route to the win. Moody’s victory didn’t come quite as easy as Tomball’s, as it took 3 unearned runs to beat Whitehouse 3-2, with the last run coming in the bottom of the 6th. No doubt that Moody’s constant pressure and crowd support very well could have been the deciding factor in the ball game. All of that is in the past; and tonight, look for Moody to send Michael Cantu (12-0) to the mound. Cantu seems to be made for these types of games. He has a high energy level and a charismatic personality that is unbeatable, not to mention that he possesses as much athletic ability as you, me, and the Roman army. The kid is magic and could be the ‘X’ factor in tonight’s game for Moody. Moody’s bats come in very hot, with last night’s starting lineup batting a sultry .404 on the year.
In summary, both teams have had some of the best pitching you will see in all of baseball, not just at the 4A level. The two starting lineups from last night’s games are only separated by 10 percentage points on the season and have had the propensity to rattle off runs at the drop of a hat. After a full year of doing this, I’ll call myself an amateur prognosticator and will stick with my preseason prediction of Tomball as the #1 4A team in the State of Texas. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not going to enjoy this contest immensely and wish both teams the best of luck.
Tomball – Banks (.521), Anthony Lucas (.476), Dillon Menville (.429), Nick Falcone (.404), Ian O’Bryan (.400)
Moody – Aaron Hernandez (.520), John David Garcia (.485), Kenny Saenz (.474), Michael Cantu (.400), Chris Estrada (.400)
Tomball – Dunbar (7-0), Bryce Welborn (5-0), Braeden Holub (5-0), Austin Gryder (3-0)
Moody – Cantu (12-0), Kenny Saenz (15-2), Aaron Hernandez (3-1)