VYPE 2022 Baseball Preview: Public School Sleepers
Welcome to the 2022 baseball season.
The season kicked off this week with out-of-district games starting across the city. VYPE screened 22 public school teams around the city.
Let’s take some flyers here. Santa Fe had a magical run a few years ago and Kingwood has had flashes of greatness over the past few decades. Alvin has a new skipper, who could change the color of the program. Here are the Sleepers in 2022.
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SANTA FE INDIANS
Coach Ronnie Wulf is another pillar of the Greater Houston baseball coaching fraternity. Wulf has worked there for more than 30 years and has more than 530 victories to his credit. Santa Fe fell to State Champ Barbers Hill in regional quarters, but brought back some serious firepower. The strength of the Indians is in the middle. Jacob Cyr (St. Thomas) is the ace, going 8-1 with a sub-2.00 ERA in 2021. He was on the first team and teammate Rhett Ostermayer was on the second team. Ashton Lozano will play shortstop and in center field is Newcomer of the Year Kyeler Thompson. On the corners will be Brandon Vassallo (Texas Lutheran) at third and Brice Smith at first base. Vassallo was also 6-1 on the mound. Santa Fe will chase Friendswood for the district title.
“Protect the K” is Coach Kelly Mead’s motto this season, as he’s been around East Houston for nearly two decades at Huffman and Kingwood. He knows the talent and how to get the best out of his players. Last season, Kingwood made his sixth straight playoff appearance going 24-10 overall and 9-3 in district play. The ‘Stangs will play seven straight on the arm of Ryan McClish (Bossier Parish JC), who was 9-1 last season and a first-team member. Josh Hebert (Texas State) and Josh Pelfrey will also help on the mound, while Ashton Rodriguez, Paxton Singleton and Braelon Richardson (South Alabama) will produce runs on offense. Also watch for Jack Bruckbauer as a utility star for the ‘Stangs. “To be successful, we have to buy in, grow as a team and be consistent,” Mead said. They will chase Atascocita for the district title.
SUMMER STREAM BULLDOGS
Don’t sleep on Summer Creek. Coach DJ Wilson’s team has made the playoffs six years in a row and brings back seven senior starters. Midfield is important with second baseman Ahmar Donatto (PVAMU-signed) and first-team shortstop Jayden Duplantier (Texas-signed). Summer Creek fires first-team pitcher Adam Troy, who will be the ace. He signed with Pepperdine. The outfield is athletic with first teams Erick Arcay and Bryan DeShazier-Miles, and Diego Arcay. Ayden Bell is solid behind the plate and Aaron Hernandez is a hard-hitting corner infielder. Nico Young and Drew Mausy will also be big contributors in 2022. Atascocita and Kingwood will be the targets in the District 21-6A game before the playoffs begin.
SHADOW CREEK SHARKS
The Shadow Creek Sharks are under new management this season as Jose Guerra takes over the program. The Sharks had a great year in 2021, finishing second in the district 23-6A and advancing to the regional quarters. What will they do for an encore? Well, they’re going to need throwing for starters to get past Strake Jesuit, Pearland, and Alvin. They do have some basics, though, with the return of outfielders Tre Broussard and DeJuan Lewis. Broussard was an honorable mention, all-state pick, while Lewis signed to play football and baseball at Prairie View A&M. Juan Guzman will be the hot corner man. Hopefully Coach Guerra can keep up the momentum from last year and build on the success of the Sharks.
ALVIN YELLOW JACKETS
Well, well, look who landed at Alvin High. None other than Anthony Scalise, who led Pearland to two state tournament appearances, left to volunteer as a coach at Rice University and led Shadow Creek to a historic season a year ago. The Yellowjackets have talent and won the district 23-6A last year before retiring to North Shore in the regional round. Scalise has 239 wins as a high school coach and knows the closet isn’t empty. Back in the dugout, newcomer of the year Cooper Williams pitches and plays on the pitch. He is only a second year student. Receiver Tanner Marek (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) is a first-team returning receiver and his brother, Jack, will pick and play a corner position. All-district outfielder Connor Keithley is a terrific hitter and athlete on the field and on base. Grant Davis will flash the glove at shortstop. Beware of these jackets – they are ready to sting.
There is a Renaissance going on at Stratford High School. The Spartans have had a terrific football season and their basketball team is making noise. Let’s talk a bit about baseball as Keith Humphreys looks for a breakthrough season. Stratford made the playoffs and won a playoff series last season and are once again hosting decorated starters. Some might say the strength of your team has to be behind the plate. Bingo, Cameron Donley anchors the defense and has signed with Texas A&M. Brecken Minuet is a long shortstop and Luis Camargo and Luke Rives are defensively oriented in the outfield. Rives also plays football and had a record season as a receiver for the Spartans. Paxton Terveen should be the ace of the staff and can play a corner.