With one rematch already in the rearview mirror, Jesuit will have to face another team seeking revenge this weekend.
Such is life in the Class 6A playoff gauntlet, where the Rangers are trying to return to the state tournament following a historic run in 2015.
After a narrow victory over Highland Park last weekend, Jesuit will meet Conroe Oak Ridge in the Region II semifinals. The best-of-three series starts tonight at Reckling Park in Houston, with Game 2 set for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Horner Ballpark on the campus of Dallas Baptist University. A third and deciding game would be at 10 a.m. Saturday, also at DBU.
Both teams have been solid in deciding games thus far in the postseason. The Rangers (31-6) are 0-2 on their home field in the past two weeks, but 4-0 in road and neutral-site games against Belton and Highland Park. Jesuit used a Jacob Palisch no-hitter and a Game 3 rally to put away the Scots for the second straight year.
Meanwhile, the War Eagles (22-11) finished in a three-way tie for second place in District 16-6A during the regular season before catching fire in the playoffs. Oak Ridge survived a 13-0 loss to Lake Travis in the series opener a week ago, then won the final two games to pull the upset.
The Rangers swept the War Eagles in the regional final last season to earn their first state tournament berth. That came against an Oak Ridge team that included two-way standout Luken Baker, last year’s Gatorade Texas Player of the Year who’s now a standout at TCU.
Coincidentally, this season’s Gatorade POY is Kyle Muller, a two-way standout for Jesuit who has signed with the University of Texas. Muller is hitting .389 this season with 15 home runs and 51 runs batted in. On the mound, the tall lefthander is 8-0 with a 0.40 earned-run average and 125 strikeouts in 67 innings.
The winner of the series will face either Garland Naaman Forest or Humble Atascocita in the regional final next week.