Jesuit is now within one round of capping one of the most successful baseball seasons in program history with its first trip to the UIL state tournament.
But fittingly, the final obstacle could be the most difficult as the Rangers meet Conroe Oak Ridge this weekend in the Class 6A Region II final.
The best-of-three series will begin tonight at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville before shifting to Prosper for Game 2 on Friday night, and a third game if necessary on Saturday.
Jesuit advanced to the regional finals for the first time with a three-game win over Lake Travis last weekend. After dropping the first game, the Rangers (33-3-2) trailed for most of Game 2 before some clutch hitting prompted a late rally. Then they used a Kyle Muller shutout to win a decisive third game for the second time this postseason.
The War Eagles (29-2) were tested last weekend against Rockwall, dropping the opening game before a pair of impressive victories. Oak Ridge also is seeking its first state tournament appearance.
While Jesuit has plenty of talent both at the plate and on the mound, the War Eagles have Luken Baker, the two-way standout and TCU signee who earlier this week was named the Gatorade national baseball player of the year. Baker is hitting .448 with eight home runs this season, and likely will showcase his 12-0 record and 1.02 earned-run average as the starting pitcher on Friday.
With both teams already posting four shutouts in the playoffs, it’s a matchup between two teams that some consider the two best 6A squads in the state. The winner should certainly be battle tested when it heads to Round Rock next weekend.