High school baseball teams on deck for another great season

The southern Denton County Region has a knack for producing some of the strongest baseball talent in all of Texas, and 2013 promises to be a season where that talent is showcased throughout the entire state early and often.

Five of the six teams earned playoff spots in the 2011-2012 season and played in a combined 11 post-season games or series.

One such team was the Flower Mound Jaguars, who wrapped up the season with a three round trip into the post-season, including a series victory over Coppell in the bi-district round, and a victory against Mansfield at area.

All-District selection Connor Wahanan, OF, should lead the way for the Jags in 2013, batting .301 last season with 13 RBI and seven stolen bases.

Over at Marcus, a trip to the bi-district round last season has the Marauders ready for more in 2013.

Marcus will be led by Matt Holcombe, who hit .308 last season with 11 RBI and three doubles for the Marauders.

For Guyer High School a move to 4A could prove very beneficial for the Wildcats in 2013, as the team went 7-7 in district 7-5A competition last season, and just missed the playoffs, finishing fifth overall in district competition.

Coach Johnny Kinzy said he is confident in what this year’s team is capable of doing on the field.

“The 10 seniors that we have remaining had a 23 wins and 0 losses record when they were together on the freshmen team,” Kinzy said.

The Wildcats will be led by pitcher Jud Kinzy, who was 6-3 with a 1.74 ERA  and 48 strikeouts last season in 52.1 innings pitched.

Offensively, senior outfielder Cole Wessling hit .324 last season with six doubles and 15 RBI last season and will anchor the Guyer line up this season.

Down the road at Argyle, the Eagles wrapped up the 2012 campaign with a 23-8 mark and won a district championship.

Argyle advanced three rounds in the playoffs as well, and coach Ricky Griffin said there is a lot to be excited about for the Argyle fan base this season as well.

“Things are good,” Griffin said. “We have lots of pitching returning.”

Pitchers Drew Gooch, Dillon Harp, Seth Jones, and Landon Rodgers all return to the Argyle rotation and bullpen this season and put the Eagles in great position to make another lengthy run into the post-season.

Griffin said he anticipates Aubrey and Celina as being the two toughest opponents in district for Argyle, and said the goal for this year is to make it to the state tournament.

Across town at Liberty Christian, a 9-3 finish in district was good enough to earn second place for the Warriors, who made it all the way to the final four before losing to Houston St. Thomas 3-2 in eight innings in the state semifinals.

St. Thomas is coached by former MLB great Craig Biggio.

Coach Johnny Isom said the objective for this season is to focus on the task at hand and not to get ahead of itself.

“The boys are working hard, and we have a goal to take it one day at time,” Isom said.  “Not to look at the big picture, but make every day an opportunity to compete, learn and get better.”

The Warriors overall record in 2012 was 20-17-1, and the team will be led offensively this season by outfielder Carson Dowdle, who hit .464, with three home runs, eight doubles and 32 RBI.

On the mound, look for pitcher Hayden Holley, who finished 7-2 with a 1.54 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 2012 to have a great season.

Coram Deo Academy also earned a spot in the post-season in 2012, and while the Lions field a very young team in 2013, CDA Interim Athletic Director Rodney Ashby still believes his team will compete.

“We are a very young team with nine freshmen on the varsity team,” Ashby said. “So we will be fielding a young team with no high school experience.  Even though they are young, they are eager and excited to play. 

“As a coach, that is what I look forward to going into the season, is having a bunch of hungry young players that want to go out play hard and be successful.”

Coram Deo finished last season with a 7-3 mark in district competition, and Ashby said he expects senior second baseman Matthew McKee, the teams’ lead off hitter, and junior catcher Andrew Kuykendall who bats cleanup to the lead the way for the Lions in 2013.

Ashby said the objectives for this season are to “develop the younger players during non-district games and prepare them to compete well by the time district season starts on March 7.”

Ashby said he believes Fort Worth Calvary, Fort Worth Temple, and Bethesda will be the top teams in the district this season. 

“They take the top two teams to advance to the playoffs,” Ashby said. “It will be fun to compete against them this year.”

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