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Concordia, Second Baptist & TWCA win a trio of TAPPS ‘ships

The Woodlands Christian Academy edged Arlington Grace Prep for a 79-76 double overtime victory vype.com

On Friday, Concordia Lutheran, Second Baptist and The Woodlands Christian Academy added a trio of state championships to an already special boys basketball season for Houston-area squads. They join Houston Christian, who topped SPC in February.

The game of the night at the TAPPS’ state tournament was between Second Baptist and Cedar Hill Trinity Christian in the 5A title game. The Eagles battled with the Tigers throughout the match, but ultimately prevailed 60-57 on VYPE Player of the Game Max Modica’s game-winning three with 5.5 seconds left.

“I wasn’t really knocking down many shots early, but I know whenever it came down to crunch time that my team needed me,” the senior said. “I was happy that I was able to deliver that for them.”

Modica scored all his points in the final three quarters, and finished with 11. He was joined by the team’s leader in points Miles Goodman and Donovan Dastmalchian. Both added 14 in the win. Uzoma Dibiamaka and Cameron Fontenot also had important performances, adding nine and seven respectively. The team effort was too much for even the game’s leading scorer. Tyreek Smith led Trinity Christian with 23 points in the loss.

Right before that game, The Woodlands Christian Academy edged Arlington Grace Prep for a 79-76 double overtime victory in the 4A state title game. The Warriors stormed back in the second half to force the extra periods. VYPE Player of the Game Bakari LaStrap lifted his program to its fifth state championship with five critical points after regulation.

“That’s mesmerizing,” LaStrap said of the connection between his overtime point total and his program’s new title count. “Words can’t explain. That’s crazy!”

As important as LaStrap was, he couldn’t do it alone. Zach Baker recorded four in the extra periods, and Zach Golaszewski and Dawson Libonati added three each.

In the nightcap, Concordia Lutheran had an early cushion after a pair of runs (7-0 and 10-0) against district foe St. Pius X. The Crusaders kept a double-digit lead for most of the game, and breezed to a 70-48 TAPPS 6A state championship win.

VYPE Player of the Game Pierce Hellums finished with a game-high 23 points, and also had two important answers in the fourth. Pius had cut the Crusaders’ lead to nine in the early minutes of the period, but his back-to-back three-point plays were the final stand they needed to wrap up a 43-1 season, and complete the three-game sweep of the Panthers.

Hellums will be back to lead SaderNation in 2018-2019, but a number of his teammates won’t. Seniors Joshua Davis, Yosani Clay and Jaylen Reed contributed 10 points each.

“God blessed me with the greatest teammates I could have ever played with this year, and we’ve created a bond that will never be broken,” Hellums said. “We’ve created a legacy at Concordia now, and I’m going to really miss those guys next year. I don’t know what I’m going to do without ‘em.”

 

If you enjoyed the state coverage, follow Thomas (@Texan8thGen) and VYPE (@VYPEPrivates) on Twitter.

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Here's what the data tells us about Bregman. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Alex Bregman had a rough season in 2020 by his standards. He slashed .242/.350/.451 in 42 regular season games. His regular season included a trip to the 10-day IL for a hamstring strain he suffered in mid-August. His surface-level struggles continued in the postseason, where he slashed .220/.316/.300 in 13 games. However, that postseason sample size does include a tough luck game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went 0-for-5 with five hard hit balls.

All-in-all, 2020 felt like a lost season for Bregman. He never really got going. He got off to a slow start, but he's always been a slow starter. Once he started to pick it up, he strained his hamstring, and he played poorly after returning from the hamstring strain. Then, he started to turn his batted ball quality around in the playoffs, but he hit into a lot of tough luck outs.

Hard Hit % - 33.6%

Barrel % - 3.9%

K% - 14.4%

BB% - 13.3%

Chase % - 18.1%

Bregman comes from the Michael Brantley school of hitters. He has elite plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills. This makes Bregman a fairly consistent hitter. That may sound odd considering his 2020 "struggles" but even an extended period of poor performance for him resulted in a .801 OPS and a 122 wRC+. If his valleys are still 22% better than the league average hitter, then that's a pretty reliable producer.

There aren't any alarming trends in Bregman's statistics. Yes, his K% was slightly up, his BB% is slightly down, but it isn't a massive difference in either category. His Chase % was up, but again, 18.1% is elite discipline. The biggest drop was in his Hard Hit%, where he fell from 38% to 33.6%. Even so, his average exit velocity only dropped .4 MPH, so there's not really a catastrophic trend here.

His .254 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) was low, but he's never put up really high BABIP numbers. In fact, his BABIP has gotten worse every year of his career, from .317 to .311 to .289 to .281 to .254. While his BABIP will likely spike back up next year, it isn't enough to be the difference between the 2019 and 2020 versions of himself. His xBA and xSLG weren't out of whack either. His .256 xBA isn't much better than his .240 AVG, and his .400 xSLG is actually worse than his .451 SLG.

Bregman is as forthcoming with his hitting mechanics, approach, and mental cues as any big leaguer out there. Here is what he had to say about his swing this year. This was a Zoom press conference with the media following the Astros game on September 25th against the Rangers.

Bregman says he wants to hit balls in the air to the pull side and on a line to the opposite field, but in reality, he was hitting flares to the opposite field and hitting them on the ground to the pull side.

The data mostly backs up that claim. In 2019, on balls hit to the pull side, Bregman had an average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH at an average launch angle of 16°, a 40% Hard Hit %, and a 16% HR%. Since Bregman has elite bat-to-ball skills, most of those metrics didn't change. In 2020, his average exit velocity was 90.6, essentially the same as 2019. His Hard Hit % was 42%, a touch better than in 2019. However, his average launch angle dipped from 16° to 11°, which contributed to his HR% dropping all the way to 9%. Bregman hit 47% of his pull side swings on the ground. In 2019, that number was 40%. He absolutely had less production to the pull side in 2020.

The data gets a little hazier going the opposite way when comparing 2019 to 2020, as Bregman actually performed slightly better to the opposite field in 2020 than 2019, but he also only had 20 batted balls to the opposite field all season. Considering the small sample size, it isn't worth diving too deep into the data.

He's right that most of the balls he hit that way were flares. He had an average exit velocity of 83.4 MPH with an average launch angle of 32°, but that's about the same as what he did in 2019. A lot of the statistical drop off comes from balls that were backspun rockets to the pull side in 2019 becoming top spinners or roll overs in 2020.

Bregman also performed horribly against breaking balls in 2020. He batted .150 with a .250 SLG against them in 2020. He had an 84 MPH Average Exit Velocity against them and whiffed 26.5% of the time against them.

It was a far cry from 2019, when he hit .265 with a .588 SLG, 87 MPH average exit velo, and whiffed 18% of the time.

Those numbers lend credence to his statement on his mechanics. It's tough for a hitter to have adjustability against breaking balls if he's blowing out his front side and pulling off of the baseball.

Bregman will spend the offseason working on these mechanical fixes and getting back to the hitter he used to be. If he's consistently hitting the ball in the air to the pull side next year, and he's performing better against breaking balls, then he should be right back in the mix for AL MVP.

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