2015 TAPPS 2A STATE CHAMPIONS
2017 TAPPS REGIONAL CHAMPIONS
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."
Assistant Athletic Director
Head Baseball Coach
Loaded with returners, FBCA set for big season
By Robert Avery, Houston Chrom.com
With virtually the entire roster back, it's no wonder longtime Pasadena-First Baptist Christian Academy varsity baseball coach David Turner has been experiencing more flashbacks of his state championship team than ever before.
"We are obviously going to be a stronger team than last year. But that's not to say that other teams aren't going to be as strong or stronger, too. We beat the two teams that are ranked ahead of us in the state playoffs last year but for some reason they've got them ranked ahead of us. But I'm OK with that. This is a good team but everybody has gotten stronger in our district," said Turner, spotlighting Spring Frassati as one of those district concerns.
"Obviously, we have one goal and that's to win a state championship. That's really the one goal we all have as a team," Jonathan Kirk, another returner said.
Pitching-wise, the club is rich in choices for mound duty. But first and foremost, the Warriors return Jake Sweeney, the club's top hurler last year and the younger brother of Nace Sweeney, who belted the memorable walk-off home run in the Class 3A state championship game in 2015.
Turner believes Jake Sweeney has improved all of his pitches, especially the curveball and when to throw it, making him a craftier pitcher.
Since that state championship team, Turner has leaned on "committees" to get work done on the hill. He'll have an ample supply this spring to do that again, if he so desires.
Dylan Heard, Kirk, Carter Goldston, Stephen Shaklovitz to go with three new faces give FBCA lots of potential weapons.
"My curveball is a lot more solid this year. Mainly, it's all these guys encouraging me, helping me out every opportunity they can," Kirk said.
The three newcomers are a pair of move-ins and a freshman. Junior Bailey Baird, a lefthander who transferred from Pearland High School and Josh Towe, a transfer from Deer Park High School's program, should bolster the staff.
The freshman is Brayden Evans, a longtime FBCA student, who was a key cog to the 2016 Pearland Little League Majors all-star team that captured the Texas East state championship in Tyler. It remains to be seen what he can do on the mound, but with the bat, there's potential for Evans to supply some pop. During one game in Tyler, he hit two home runs.
"Up and down the lineup, every single person can hit the ball," Kirk said.
Behind the plate will be either Shaklovitz or Jesse Perry.
Around the infield, look for Towe or Perry at third, Goldston at shortstop, Zach Dillard or Sweeney at second base and either Evans, Towe or Baird at first.
The outfield is in a fluid situation right now. It could be any kind of a combination and that includes another returner in Nicholas Denney, who is currently out with a foot injury, but is expected back by time district arrives.
"I think we're good as a unit, coming off of last year. We have that drive. We've got that bad taste in our mouths to get back to where we were this year. I think we have the team to do it, all we have to do is keep our minds focused on each game and not think too far in the future," Draeger said.
Turner believes if the team stays hungry, the Warriors will be fine.
To prepare for district, FBCA will be competing in two public school tournaments, starting with the 54th annual Pasadena ISD Tournament this week. Then it's on to the Franklin Tournament in the College Station area, an event FBCA has been attending every year.
"We've got our work cut out for us. What this team can't do is rely on the success of last year. Just because we made it to the playoffs last year as a young team doesn't mean we're going to do it this year. It's really hard to get there, much less win the thing," Turner said.