Perhaps Jesuit is just better in the clutch. Or maybe the Rangers have just survived more close calls.
Either way, Jesuit finds itself on the brink of second consecutive berth at the Class 6A state tournament heading into its toughest test yet against Humble Atascocita this weekend in the Region II final.
The series begins at 7 p.m. today at Concordia University in Austin. Game 2 is slated for noon Saturday on the same field, with a third game to follow, if necessary. And given Jesuit’s recent history, that’s a good possibility.
The battle-tested Rangers (33-8) have won a decisive third game in each of the past three rounds during their playoff run, twice rallying after an opening-game loss. That included a 3-0 victory over Conroe Oak Ridge on May 28 in the regional semifinals.
Jesuit’s 11 postseason games have provided heroics from plenty of sources, including pitcher J.J. Montenegro, who hurled six shutout innings in the finale against Oak Ridge after picking up a win in relief the night before.
The Eagles (29-8), who reached the state tournament in 2014, were the champions of District 16-6A during the regular season. That’s the same league in which Oak Ridge tied for second.
They’ve been extended to a third game just once in the playoffs thus far, and that came in the third round against Klein Collins. Last weekend, Atascocita swept Garland Naaman Forest.