All the way to State

Cypress Ranch advances to State behind power performance by Thompson

Cypress Ranch advances to State behind power performance by Thompson
The Mustangs will face Carroll in the state semi-final game Vype

OUSTON - RBI hits from Colton Cowser and Westley Shields backed the one hit, 13 strikeout performance of Matt Thompson as Cy Ranch punched their ticket to Austin with a 7-0 win over Cy Fair on Saturday night.

The pivotal game three victory came one night after Cy Fair forced the deciding game with a 5-3 win moving the Mustangs one step closer to a 2018 Class 6A Texas high school baseball title.

Through two innings, Cy Fair starter Rhett McCaffety matched Thompson pitch for pitch before the wheels began to fall off in the third. With one out and one on, McCaffety issued the second of his four walks in the inning setting the stage for Cowser.

The Sam Houston BearKat commit hit a 2-2 offering from McCaffety to the base of the right field wall scoring Shields and Scotty Scott. Cowser would later score on a wild pitch and Cy Ranch led 3-0 after three.

“They beat me with two fastballs and then he dropped the foul pop and I knew I had a second chance,” said Cowser following the game. “I got to 2-2 and I knew he was going to throw me a fastball and I just sat on it and the rest is history.”

Cowser finished the night 1 for three with two RBI’s and a run scored and the series with a .444 average and 5 RBI’s.

Cy Ranch was far from done though as they chased McCaffety in the fourth plating another run on an RBI hit by Shields.

Meanwhile Thompson had Cy Fair swinging and missing more times than they cared to count. The junior right-hander recorded nine of his 13 punches on a swinging third strike. The Texas A&M commit reached his pitch limit with two outs in the seventh and was replaced by reliever Kyle Gough who struck out Tyler Ashy to end the game.

“It starts on the mound,” said second year head coach Corey Cephus. “Thompson was dominant tonight. He had pinpoint accuracy all night.”

The Mustangs put the finishing touches on their 32nd win of the season with a three run sixth. This time it was Fabian Mayfield and Shields doing the damage. Mayfield doubled home Cy Ranch’s fifth run of the night before Shields rifled a 0-1 pitch into rightfield scoring Mayfield and Brandon Griffin.

The win marked the eighth time in 11 postseason games that Cy Ranch had scored at least seven runs and the victory gave them their third shutout of the playoffs.

Cy Ranch (32-8-2) moves to within two games of claiming its third Class 6A baseball title since winning it all in 2012 and 2015. The Mustangs will face Carroll (33-6) in the state semi-final game on Thursday.

 

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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