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Tag: 6A State Championship

Lake Travis fall to Southlake Carroll

ROUND ROCK — Lake Travis had made it through the bulk of the playoffs mostly unaffected by an injury that had previously sidelined ace pitcher Jimmy Lewis.

Then they ran into the Southlake Carroll Dragons.

The Cavaliers’ Brett Baty, who had filled in for Lewis brilliantly along the way, kept Lake Travis right with the Dragons every step of the way, as he left the game in the top of the sixth with the score tied at 2-2.

However, Carroll — the eventual Class 6A state champion — struck for four runs in the top of the seventh against reliever Storm Hierholzer to seize a 6-2 victory and eliminate the Cavaliers in the semifinal round at Dell Diamond.

Lake Travis (37-5) tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first when Braden Olson drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in Jack Lopez from first. From there, Baty and his counterpart — Dragons starter Cutter Sippel — began to settle into a groove.

The Cavs managed to take their first lead in the bottom of the fourth when Lopez lined an RBI single to center field to plate Dawson French. Unfortunately, Carroll used a late outburst to once again vault ahead of Lake Travis, and reliever Luke Gornell tossed 3 1/3 innings of shutout baseball to preserve the Dragons’ place in the state finals.

A day later, Carroll (33-11) bludgeoned Fort Bend Ridge Point 17-0 in five innings to claim the 6A crown.

Still, it was an unforgettable season for the Cavaliers, who won the outright District 25-5A title before rattling off consecutive playoff series wins against Smithson Valley, San Antonio Brandeis, San Antonio Johnson, Laredo United South and Laredo Alexander. 

With the exception of the Johnson series, all of those resulted in a two-game sweep for Lake Travis. Against the pesky Jaguars, the Cavaliers had to battle back from a 2-0 loss in the opener of a regional quarterfinal best-of-three matchup. 

Head coach Mike Rogers’ team did just that, as it defeated Johnson 12-6 in Game 2 before closing things out with a narrow 1-0 win on May 18. In that contest, Baty tossed a complete game two-hitter and struck out 13 batters.

It was only the beginning of a truly special spring for Baty, who was later selected by the New York Mets with the 12th pick overall in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. The power-hitting third baseman will now have to choose between the University of Texas or a multi-million dollar signing bonus and a trip to the minors.

Good news came for Lewis on that same night, as he became the 78th overall choice of the draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lewis, an LSU commit, will have his own decision to make in the near future.

Coincidentally, a former Cavalier — 2017 graduate Jared Triolo — heard his name called just six picks before Lewis when he was chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates at spot 72.

While a few big names are set to move on to bigger and better things, Lake Travis will have plenty of talent due back for the 2020 campaign, including Lopez, Hierholzer, Olson, Kal Edmunson, Trey Triolo, Parker Guerin and Jack Jalufka.

Lake Travis Baseball

Lake Travis one of the best baseball teams is set on winning a state championship

A year after losing in the 6A regional quarterfinals, Lake Travis High School’s baseball team has returned with a vengeance. At 27-3 (14-1 in District 25-6A) on the 2019 season, the Cavaliers, who are district champions and among the top teams in the state, have their eyes set on winning the whole thing. Lake Travis coach Mike Rogers said rankings aren’t at all important, because the school’s team has been ranked highly before, only to get knocked out of the playoffs prematurely.

“The purpose was not to maintain a ranking but to get ready for the playoffs,” he said. “Going in, there is no, ‘Hey, we have to do this now’ mentality. It’s just doing what we’ve been doing. We’re going to pitch really well, we’re going to play great defense. And we’re going to take advantage of offensive situations and try to put pressure on people.”

Coach Rogers said the team has increased its running game, amassing more than 100 stolen bases this spring, and also bunting the ball better than past years. But mostly his Cavaliers are strong on defensive and pitching. “We’re always going to be a pitching and defensive team first. You get in the playoffs, I think that’s the key,” he said. “You’re facing everybody’s number-one [pitcher], quality arms are solid there. So, we’ve done that. We’ve sure been blessed with offensive talent and just performed well throughout the season.”

Brett Baty at the Dell Diamond for our Photo-shoot with
Texas Sports Monthly. Photo: CJ Bills

Powerhouse seniors Brett Baty and Jimmy Lewis, and junior Storm Hierholzer, are the team’s top arms. Baty, also the team’s third baseman when he’s not on the mound, was named Gatorade Player of the Year last year when he hit .435 with 12 home runs. But he pitches consistently in the low 90s; although he has committed to play next year at UT, he is expected to be a first-round draft pick in June and will likely sign on to play professionally instead of attend college. Lewis, who also plays first base, throws in the mid-90s and has committed to play next year at LSU. He is also expected to be drafted pretty high, which may also encourage him to choose professional baseball over college. Lastly, Hierholzer, who has already signed on to play baseball at TCU, throws in the low 90s and is dominating in his own right.

And with strong pitching and defense, the team’s offense has been able to loosen up at the plate, often putting up football score-type games. Baty alone is hitting over .650 with about 50 RBIs and more than 15 home runs. “Obviously, we’re happy. I think the kids have embraced the early-season expectations and their own expectations as well,” coach Rogers said. “They’ve put a great effort forward, and [our record] is pretty nice. … We have the same routine every day. I think kids respond to that and get confidence in what they’re doing. It’s worked well for us.”

But the team is not invincible, as seen in the April 2, 9-5 loss at home to Akins, one of the worst teams in the district. Coach Rogers said he threw some different arms and wanted to see some non-starters get some playing time, although he said it’s not excuse. “It happens in baseball,” he said. “It didn’t work out. Also it was a wake-up call. Sometimes people think success is easy and take it for granted, so it kind of refocused us.”

Nonetheless, the team is focused on what it has to do to win a state championship in 6A. “We’re right where we thought they would be. It’s one of those things that really separates this bunch from earlier bunches as teams; is just the closeness as a unit. That’s something we talked about again in August, trying to maintain that bond and that cohesiveness and togetherness throughout the season. It’s easy to talk about; it’s hard to do sometimes when you’re playing more or not playing as much. But they’ve done a really good job of making sure that we stayed together.”