Warriors look back on playoff run
By L. SCOTT HAINLINE
Peaking at the right time certainly paid off for the Cypress Christian Warriors and third-year coach Greg Bretz.
With an 8-13 season record, the Warriors entered the playoffs and quickly restored their confidence by jumping on New Braunfels Christian 10-0 in the first inning on the way to a 28-0 postseason-opening triumph.
We finished third in district, and then lost a (playoff) warm-up game, but that opening-round win gave the team a jump start," Bretz said. It gave the players a lot of confidence."
Cypress Christian used every bit of everything to blank the state's top-ranked team, Brazosport Christian, 2-0 behind a two-hit shutout by junior Josh Martinez in the next round.
It was a great battle that was scoreless until the sixth inning," Bretz said. Martinez matched their ace pitch-for-pitch, and they only got one or maybe two balls out of the infield."
The Warriors scored both runs in the top of the sixth when a batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and on a RBI single by sophomore catcher Jase Clark.
The Woodlands Christian had defeated Cypress Christian three times this season once in a tournament and twice in district but the Warriors made up for it with an 11-9 regional victory that put them in the state tournament.
After beating the state's No. 1 team, were not scared going in against The Woodlands, but they had beat us (7-5, 8-7, 12-2), and they were our district champion," Bretz said. That made the win even more special, along with earning a trip to state."
The Warriors jumped to an 8-1 lead against Waco Reicher in the state semifinals on May 14 in Waco, but Reicher came back and eventually won a back-and-fourth contest 13-10.
We just kind of ran out of gas and made a couple of untimely errors," Bretz said. We had struggled defensively all season, but turned it around when the playoffs started and came up with several big plays.
We had spurts of good play during the season, but we were just not that consistent."
Reicher went on to beat Bullard Brook Hill 12-2 for the TAPPS 3A title.
Cypress Christian loses senior starters in pitcher-shortstop Jacob Reed and first baseman Kyle Hinn, but returns its top pitcher, Martinez, who's at shortstop when not on the mound.
The Warriors also bring back starters in rising seniors Garrett Higginbotham (center field), Jack Mitchell (third base), Kyle Francis (right field) and Jordan Gray (second base), and juniors-to-be Jacob Hicks (left field) and Clark.
Freshman Shawn Bell also contributed during the postseason run, and Bretz sees even more talent on the way.
We have a few good kids who are enrolling, and there's some players coming up from eighth grade," he said. One more game and a shot at a state championship would have been nice, and it's something to shoot for next season."
The Warriors started over with all freshmen and missed the playoffs in Bretz's first season in 2008, and advanced to the playoffs and fell in the first round in 2009.
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