As it heads into uncharted territory at the UIL state baseball tournament, Jesuit at least has been battle-tested during its historic playoff run.
When the Rangers face Cypress Falls in the Class 6A state semifinals today in Round Rock, they won’t have any margin for error. Unlike previous postseason rounds, it’s a single game — not a best-of-three series — that will determine whether Jesuit advances to the state championship game or takes an early bus ride back to Dallas.
Cy Ranch has an edge in experience after winning a state title in 2012, and the Mustangs (29-6) have a stellar pitching staff that has posted shutouts in five of their nine playoff games so far.
However, Jesuit has demonstrated the type of resiliency and clutch hitting that could come in handy in a situation with such high stakes. The Rangers bounced back in decisive third games against both Rowlett and Lake Travis, rallying while on the brink of elimination in the latter. They also swept Highland Park in a pressure-packed series, and topped Conroe Oak Ridge with national player of the year Luken Baker.
So perhaps those victories provide the type of experience and confidence that Jesuit needs to bring home its first UIL title.
Cy Ranch earned its state berth with a three-game series win over League City Clear Creek in the Region III final last weekend. Prior to that, the Mustangs swept Houston-area opponents Eisenhower, Lamar, Memorial, and Deer Park.
The Rangers (35-3-2) have the most wins among the four semifinal teams, as Arlington Martin and Laredo Alexander will match up in the first game this afternoon. The winners will play at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.