All the way to State

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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The future is bright for the Astros. Composite image by Jack Brame.

2020 has shown us lots of things. A few of the things it's shown us is that anything is possible, expect the unexpected, and do not be surprised at the outcome. Well, the Astros checked all three of those boxes in this pandemic season and post season. Anything was possible when they finished the 60 game season 29-31 and barely made the playoffs (yes, the new format helped, but they made it). We should've expected the unexpected when they were able to beat the Twins in the first round 2-0 after the A's ran away with the division this season. We for damn sure shouldn't have been surprised at the outcome of their ALCS series when they forced Tampa to a game seven after being down 3-0 because this team is experienced and scrappy. We are talking about the team that's made it to the ALCS four years running and won it all in 2017.

Sure, there are some high dollar guys that mean a lot to this team that they may lose (looking squarely at George Springer and Michael Brantley), but that's the end of it. They'll also be without Justin Verlander after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Some will say coming back from a 3-0 deficit to force a game seven was good enough. They'll tell this team to accept its fate and fall into the background. They replaced their manager and general manager after the cheating scandal, no way they can move forward and succeed right? (insert your favorite GTFOH GIF)

Springer and Brantley could both leave as free agents

This team may not be thought of a contender moving forward, but I have faith in the talent that's still there. I believe Jim Crane knows who and what he can't live without moving forward, so I think he'll shell out the cash necessary to keep guys like Springer and Brantley...as long as it's within reason. Crane won't, and shouldn't, get into a bidding war with another team for either guy, but I think he will make a fair offer to both. Verlander being out in his last season under contract is a big blow. However, I think it can work to the team's advantage.

Let's say they're only able to bring back Springer OR Brantley, but Kyle Tucker takes that next step. Let's say Forrest Whitley, Framber Valdez, and Jose Urquidy all take that next step while Lance McCullers continues his accent. What will the league say when Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman return to their previously dominant forms? All of this speaks to the continued era of the dominant Astros.

Even if they lose Brantley and/or Springer this offseason, I still think they have enough in place to keep the lineup competitive and threatening. The pitching staff has enough firepower to put some fear into opposing lineups. If they continue to make the right moves and develop the talent they have in-house, this team won't fall off or take a dip. Instead, they'll continue to be a force if they hold true to the talent they have, and acquire the complimentary talent they need to accent the players they have now. The pitching staff will be in good hands. McCullers, Framber, and Urquidy are guys I feel that can carry the load. Meanwhile, Forrest Whitley is waiting in the wings. Kyle Tucker is poised for the next step in the lineup, and Captain Correa clearly established himself as a leader this post season.

The future is bright for Astros fans. If ownership and the front office pony up the money to keep some guys, it'll be even better.

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