High School : : General
Friday, March 18, 2011

HS Regional Preview: Texahoma

Todd Gold         Ben Collman        

Perfect Game High School will releasing previews for each region in the coming weeks. The previews will be released two weeks prior to first regional rankings. The schedule is as follows:

Florida - Week of March 3

Southeast (AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, TN)- March 10

Pacific (CA, HI)- March 11

Mid-Atlantic (SC, NC, VA, MD, DC, WV, DE)- Week of March 21

Southwest (NM, AZ, NV, UT)- Week of March 28

Midwest (WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, KY)- Week of April 4

Great Plains (CO, MO, IA, MN, NE, KS, ND)- Week of April 4

Northeast (PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME)-Week of April 11

Northwest (WA, OR, ID, AK)- Week of April 11

Texas has long been known for producing flamethrowing pitchers like Nolan Ryan (Alvin), Roger Clemens (Spring Woods) and Kerry Wood (Grand Prairie). Oklahoma’s greatest product has to be Mickey Mantle (Commerce). But this year the big story is the pitching from Oklahoma and the hitting in Texas. While in many years Texas overshadows their neighbors to the north of the Red River, this season Oklahoma boasts two of the top teams in the nation. This will be an exciting season for the Texahoma Region.

Top Storylines

1. Bundy, Bradley Battle for Oklahoma

Though the biggest story in the region (and possibly the nation) is the argument about whether Dylan Bundy or Archie Bradley is the top P in the nation, their teams Owasso and Broken Arrow, are equally as big of a story. Last year Owasso dropped the 6A Championship to Tulsa Union, and while there are a few other strong teams in Oklahoma this season, Owasso and Broken Arrow appear to be in a class by themselves.

2. Emergence of Nick Williams

Williams led the Gavleston Ball Tornados with 5 Home Runs as a Sophomore last year. It was a solid season, but it paled in comparison to the breakout summer and fall that followed. Williams broke out in a big way at the WWBA National Championship in Marietta, GA. Earning 16u tournament MVP honors in spite of his team, the Houston Banditos, being knocked out in the semi-finals. Williams’ dominant run at the tourney included a 4-Home Run game, he hit 6 in the 6 game tournament. Williams has kept the momentum going with a very strong showing at Area Code Games (where he posted the highest Sparq score). The momentum has continued into this season as Williams currently has 5 Home Runs on the year, matching last year’s total, and with his power, he will likely hit plenty more.

Williams is one of the best power hitters in the country, but he’s more than just a Home Run hitter. The nephew of former Dallas Cowboys DB Robert Williams, Nick is an excellent all-around athlete. He runs well, has a very strong arm and gets good reads on balls in the OF. With a lean projectable body, he can do it all on the diamond and looks like he has a chance to be a very high pick in the MLB draft come June, 2012.

3. Klein Collins double play combo

Juniors CJ Hinojosa and Austin Dean form what is arguably the best double play combination in the country. Klein Collins will be in great shape to make a deep run in the playoffs (as they did last year) not only this season but in 2012 as well. The duo are teammates in travel ball as well as members of the Houston Banditos. And if things work out they will continue to play together at the University of Texas in the spring of 2013, although there will certainly be interest from a lot of MLB organizations that could prevent it. In addition to playing plus defense both of them are very high level hitters. Dean currently leads all Houston players with 8 Home Runs, Hinojosa is tied for sixth place with 5.


4. The Torch is Passed at The Woodlands

Last year The Woodlands featured the best pitcher in the state of Texas in Jameson Taillon. After his graduation (and being drafted 2nd overall) Bryan Brickhouse ascends to the role. While it is a monumental task to match the level of domination of Taillon from last year, Brickhouse has the tools to be very successful and gives the Highlanders a chance to win every time he takes the mound. Brickhouse features a 4-pitch mix from a low ¾ delivery, with a low 90’s fastball.

5. Draft Stock of Josh Bell

Dallas Jesuit OF/3B Josh Bell has positioned himself over the past few years to have a chance to be drafted very high this June. A big season this spring, building off his .412, 11 Home Run campaign as a Juinor last year would be help prove that the jump from his Sophomore campaign to last year is for real. Following an impressive performance at several high profile events last year, including the WWBA National Championship in Marietta, GA and the World Championship in Jupiter, Bell had firmly established himself as the top prospect in Texas’ 2011 class. The Texas commit has really shown big improvement since he first attended the Perfect Game South Underclass Showcase in 2008. Bell’s scouting report from that event reads:

“High projection body and young, slender, long limbs, wiry strong now. To ball well in outfield, athletic, good arm strength with more to come, throws on bag. Swagger at the plate, hits it where it's pitched, open - upright stance, good hands, throws bat head, some juice now with good power projection.”

Over the next year Bell increased his arm strength by 10 MPH, going from throwing 78 from the Outfield in 2008 to 88 at the 2009 Junior National Showcase. Fast forward to 2011 and that projected power has certainly been realized. Bell is currently hitting .556/.667/.1.044. More impressively he’s hit 6 Home Runs through 18 games, in spite of being pitched to very carefully, as evidenced by his 15 walks.  Bell  is currently ranked 10th in the nation in PG’s class of 2011 rankings.

Top Teams (listed alphabetically)

Broken Arrow- The Tigers feature relentless pitching depth with arguably the best pitching staff in the nation, led by ace Archie Bradley. The Tigers supplement their pitching with power hitting Catcher Dylan Delso, and slick fielding SS Nick Pettus up the middle and get power from Bradley’s bat. Broken Arrow is off to an 8-1 start, with the lone slipup coming in the semifinal game of the Blue Devil Classic in Florida this week. 

Carroll- The defending 5A state champs returned several very important players this year. OF/RHP Courtney Hawkins had a brilliant run through the tournament last year on the mound, but his development as a pitcher has lagged a bit behind his strides as a hitter. The Tigers have one of the best lineups in the state, if not the county with 1B/RHP Oshea Dumes, SS Trey Rodriguez and 2B/RHP Chris Cano. The question with this team is whether or not Hawkins can pitch as well down the stretch this season as he did last year.

Fort Bend Clements- The Rangers are a perennial contender in 5A. Coming off a very strong showing in 2010, the Rangers got off to a very fast start this season, going 11-0. They cooled off a bit with a couple of losses last week, but at 14-2 they look to be a strong contender for the state title this year. Clements has had a flare for the dramatic in the early going, knocking off district rival Dulles twice this season, both times via walkoff Home Run (by Cline Andrews and Blake Johnson).

Galveston Ball- The Tornadoes feature one of the best OF in the nation in Jr. Nick Williams. They also boast very good pitching in seniors RHP/OF Aaron Garza and RHP/C Austin Orewiler. After an underwhelming 16-15 showing in 2010 the Tornadoes look much improved this season. Sophomore SS/RHP Kyle Ott is emerging as an interesting prospect, building off his .312/.349/.403 as a freshman last year and now also sees time on the mound.

Klein Collins- The Lions have arguably the best double play combination in the country with CJ Hinojosa and Austin Dean, but Klein Collins is not just a 2-man show. The lineup features power throughout with OF Ryan Schilhab has 7 Home Runs on the year, 3B Vinny Mejia has 5, 1B Austin Webb has 3 and freshman RHP/Util Jake Jarvis has a pair as well. At 12-4, the Lions are the  6th highest scoring team in 5A, in spite of playing a very difficult schedule.

Lamar-C Cole Lankford and OF John Williamson were expected to lead the Redskins offense coming into the season. But so far they’ve had a pleasant surprise with a breakout season from Senior 1B Matt Luna, who is hitting .521 with 4 HRs thus far has given them a boost. At 14-2-2 Lamar is sitting in 1st place in District 20. Lamar is looking to build off of a playoff run that saw them get to the 2nd round last year.

Owasso- Owasso may feature arguably the best player in the nation in Dylan Bundy, but they are not merely a one-man show. The Rams have another big time prospect in C Drew Stiner (Oklahoma State commit) and feature several more talented players in 1B Justin Steelmon, SS Payton Allen, OF/RHP Phillip Wilson and RHP Tyler Horn. The Rams are  7-1 after winning the Blue Devil Classic in Winter Haven, FL this week, going 5-1 against quality competition in Florida.  Owasso is expected to make it back to the State title game again this season.

Rockwall-Heath- An emerging national powerhouse, the Hawks grabbed national headlines last year when they went through the regular season undefeated in the program’s 4th year of existence. They had a successful postseason run, reaching the 4A state semi-finals before being swept by Wakeland to finish the year 39-3. This year they are off to yet another strong start, going 17-2-1 thus far. Jovan Hernandez tied a state record with a 42-game hitting streak that carried over from last year into the beginning of this season. Ace RHP Jake Thompson has been dominant, going 3-0 without allowing a run over his first 17 innings and is looking like one of the best pitchers in the state. Heath has competition in their district from Highland Park, the two teams will meet twice, on March 29th and April 21st.

St. Pius X- The Panthers are led by Senior RHP/OF Justin Anderson. He has done it all so far to lead St. Pius to a 21-2-1 start to the season. Currently hitting .565/.662/.887 (5-for-5 on SB attempts), the Panthers ace is pitching very well thus far (5-1, 1.38 ERA, 55 K in 36.2 IP). SS/RHP Matt Eureste has produced for the offense as well, hitting .377/.488/.609 with 7 doubles and 3 HRs out of the 2-hole and working 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Their biggest competition in TAPPS 5A will be defending champion St. Thomas Catholic, who they will face on March 24, April 5th and 12th.

The Woodlands- The Highlanders lost arguably the best player in the nation, Jameson Taillon, to the draft last year (2nd overall) but still return a strong group. Led by RHP Bryan Brickhouse, The Woodlands will rely on 1B Elliot Richoux for run support, which will be the key to their season. The strength is clearly the pitching staff, which in addition to Brickhouse, boasts LHP Ryan Bielitz and RHP Michael Clemens.

Notable Matchups

Klein vs Klein Collins – March 18, April 8

A rematch of last year’s regional championship game, Klein Collins currently sits in first place in District 13 and will be looking for revenge after being knocked out of the playoffs last year.

St. Pius X vs St. Thomas Catholic – March 22, April 5 & 12

This three game set between the two top private schools in Texas will be very exciting to watch. SS/RHP Patrick Leonard is the 6th ranked player in the state of Texas and is the top player for the defending TAPPS 5A State Champions, St. Thomas Catholic.

Tulsa Union vs Owasso – April 12 & 29

Rematch of the 2010 State Championship game. Union is down from last year after losing several key players to graduation, but are still a team that can’t be overlooked, not even for a powerhouse like Owasso.

Rockwall Heath vs Highland Park—March 29 & April 21

The Hawks won’t lose many games when they use Thompson and Hernandez on the mound, but Highland Park (currently 17-3) will give them a big test. These two games could decide the regular season champion of District 10.

Clements @ Dulles – April 5

These two teams have met twice this season, both games being won by (no. 39) Clements, both times via walkoff Home Run. You can bet that Dulles will be very motivated the third time around.

Lamar @ Bellaire – April 8

48th ranked Lamar and Cole Lankford will take on traditional powerhouse Bellaire. The Cardinals are led by LHP Toller Boardman and sophomore IF/C Cameron Miller.

Broken Arrow @ Owasso – April 15

Not just the game of the year in Oklahoma, this is possibly the biggest matchup of the season anywhere in the nation. A pair of top 10 teams in the nation facing off, possibly with two of the best pitching prospects in the country in a game that will likely have big postseason implications. Biggest game of the year, bar none.

PG High School Texahoma Dream Team

C- BreShon Kimbell, Mesquite (TX), Sr.

1B- OShea Dumas, Carroll (TX), Jr.

2B- Austin Dean, Klein Collins (TX), Jr.

SS- Trevor Story, Irving (TX), Sr.

3B- Willie Schwanke, Wakeland (TX), Jr.

OF- Nick Williams, Galveston Ball (TX), Jr.

OF- Josh Bell, Dallas Jesuit (TX), Sr.

OF- Courtney Hawkins, Corpus Chrisit Carroll (TX), Jr.

Util- Daniel Mengden, RHP/C, Westside (TX), Sr.

P- Archie Bradley, Broken Arrow, RHP (OK), Sr.

P- Dylan Bundy, Owasso (OK), RHP, Sr.

P- Bryan Brickhouse, The Woodlands (TX), RHP, Sr.

P- Cory Geisler, Klein Collins (TX), LHP, Jr.

P-  John Curtiss, Southlake Carroll (TX), RHP ,Sr.

P- Parker French, Dripping Springs (TX), RHP, Sr.

Regional Best Tools

Best Hitter For Average: CJ Hinojosa, Klein Collins (TX), Jr.

Best Hitter For Power: Nick Williams, Galveston Ball (TX), Jr.

Best Baserunner: Chris McFarland, Lufkin (TX), Sr.

Best Defensive Catcher: Dylan Delso, Broken Arrow (OK), Sr.

Best Defensive Infielder: Trevor Story, Irving (TX), Sr.

Best Defensive Outfielder: Harris Rome, Memorial (TX), Sr.

Best Outfield Arm: Nick Williams, Galveston Ball (TX), Jr.

Best Fastball: Dylan Bundy, Owasso (OK), Sr.

Best Offspeed Stuff: Archie Bradley, Broken Arrow (OK), Sr.

Best Command: Dylan Bundy, Owasso (OK), Sr.

Best Pitchability: Archie Bradley, Broken Arrow (OK), Sr.

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