Cy Ranch Mustangs one game from TASO Scholarship Tournament title
The Cy Ranch Mustangs are one game away from repeating as TASO Scholarship Tournament champions.
Cy Ranch defeated Foster HS in the finals last year to capture the title, and beat Bellaire HS in the semifinals of the 64–team tournament to set up Saturday’s championship against The Woodlands HS.
First pitch of the tournament championship game is at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
Each summer and fall, Cy Ranch coach John Pope turns the reigns of the team over to volunteer coaches Kurt Kristynik, Brent Brooks, Zack Stewart and Ross Santos. In this fall's TASO, the gourp has guided the Mustangs past, Pearland, Memorial, Dulles, Lamar, Langham Creek And Bellaire Hs to make it back to the championship game.
“I’d say the confidence of our starting pitchers and their ability to get ahead in the count with different pitches for strike one has been a big key to our success,” said Coach Kristynik.
The team is comprised largely of the next spring's varsity team, minus the five players on the Varsity football team.
“Every school has to deal with guys playing football, so we have been fortunate that many of our younger players have stepped up and come through for us," explained Coach Kristynik.
Not only have the starting pitchers done an uncanny job of sending batters back to the dugout, shaking their heads, unable to tell their teammates what the Cy Ranch guys are throwing early in the count, the batters have come through as well.
“The middle of our lineup has been very consistent with their timely hitting, and as a coach I can’t ask for much for than timely hitting and pitchers who get strike one on many of our opposing hitters on the first pitch,” said Coach Kristynik.
Sophomore catcher Derek Dickerson has been nothing less than a monster at the plate. He has three home runs in the tournament; two of those have been grand slams that have cleared the bases in the first inning of their respective games. Dickerson has 15 RBIs and was the MVP of the JV TASO tournament last year.
Senior shortstop Leon Bryd, who has committed to powerhouse Rice University, is the three-hole hitter, who gets on, steals bases, leads by example and is all business and all glue for the Mustangs.
Byrd has been with Cy Ranch since their birth three years ago, and he is proud to be playing for the same college program that produced his head coach, Coach Pope. He and senior second baseman Bryce Stark form a very solid double play combination and are catalysts at the top of the batting order.
The starting pitcher in Saturday’s championship game at Minute Maid Park is righty Zach Brosch. The junior is extremely confident, having beaten Pearland as a starter and took down Bellaire in the semis out of the pen.
Brosch hits the high 80s with his heater and will mix in a change and a slider while on the hill.
“Not only do we have a great group of kids, who love the game and work their tails off, our three other coaches are just awesome guys who love the game,” stated Head Coach Kristynik.
“As coaches, we're proud to step in for Coach Pope and Coach (Kip) Pridgeon when they are in footbal season. We all played ball at the college level and feel like we can share a few of our experiences to help these guys succeed as individuals, but more importantly as a team for the Cy Ranch program,” said the gracious head coach.
The 64-team field is run by local umpires, with funds going to provide scholarships for athletes. This year’s winners are below:
ALVIN - TREY WILLIAMS
BAYTOWN LEE - CHRISTIAN VALVERDE
BAYTOWN STERLING - CALEB SHAVER
CLEMENTS - PAUL ESPINOSA
CY FALLS - JEFFREY PHILLIPS
ELKINS - MATT MCKINNON
FOSTER - CODY BURNS
JEFF DAVIS - ANGELICA AREVELO
KATY - ANGEL MONTOYA
LAMAR - REGINO MADRID
MAYDE CREEK - PHILIP WILEY
NEW WAVERLY - MICAH BOHANNON
NORTHSHORE - JUSTIN MOLINA
SANTA FE - ANDREW YERRELL
SPRING WOODS - MATTHEW NESLONEY
WESTFIELD - JERRY FORD
WESTSIDE - MATTHEW NASSAB
THE WOODLANDS - JESTIN BUFFINGTON
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 children. There will be baseball and sports items raffled off at the game.
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