More than halfway through district, varsity baseball holds second place with 7-4 record

Jaden, Garcia

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The smell of fresh cut grass, damp dirt and hot dogs and popcorn is in the air — it’s just another day at the ballpark.

The Ranger baseball season is well more than halfway through district play, with a 7-4 district record. Second in district only to Lake Travis, the team is looking pretty solid in the eyes of Head Coach Jason Bourgeois.

Coming into the season, the starting pitching rotation had about 20 innings of experience on the mound combined.

“We graduated a lot of talent,” Bourgeois said. “Defensively we are strong, and offensively we are strong. We just need to throw consistent strikes, making them put it in play and not giving up too many walks.”

In an early scrimmage, seniors Beau Vealey and Andrew Chapa, junior Dawson Groch and senior Dathon McGrath had a strong outing throwing 10 innings striking out 18 people total. This year’s senior class is working toward a winning season. The team plays Hays tonight at home at 7 p.m.

“No senior class is the same, but what I have seen more so this year is a pleasant surprise,”Bourgeois said. “The way that they are attacking practice seems like they have a drive, a passion. I’m not saying it wasn’t there in the past, but it feels like they’re just more intent in that area. It feels really good to have guys that have been in our program a long time and for them to understand that they are the seniors — the leaders. To see them take on that role and be leaders, I think they are doing a great job.”

While the team’s goal is always to win a state championship, there are steps that they have to take to get there. Lake Travis, Westlake, Vandegrift traditionally have strong teams. There isn’t ever a night off for the team, but it helps them prepare for playoff teams.

“One of the goals is that we want to win a state championship. We want to win a district championship, but all of that comes down to making the playoffs,” Bourgeois said. “Getting to the state tournament starts by making the playoffs. We want to make sure we get in the playoffs because the playoffs are their own season. Each team can get hot. Each team can go really far in the playoffs. Second place teams can go win a state championship. It’s not really where you finish, its if you get in or not and what you do from there.”

It’s easy to lose focus in the game of baseball that’s why Coach Bourgeois has long practices to ensure players are mentally locked in.

“It is an incredible thinking game. You have to know what to do in any situation before it is ever hit to you or if it even happens,” Bourgeois said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time it doesn’t happen in that play, but you have to be ready for it. In addition to that, it takes thousands of repetitions to gain the muscle memory needed to perform the actions we do. I think those are the main points we get out of those practices. We firmly believe that baseball is the game of life played in seven innings. We have to teach how to deal with adversity how to deal with failure and come back with grace. Hopefully, the players will be able to take that into life in general.”


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