CENTRAL HEIGHTS, TX (KTRE) - On a Central Heights baseball team flooded with 14 seniors, sophomore pitcher and early Texas A&M commit Grayson Rodriguez is commanding respect on the mound.
As the team enters the regional finals for the first time in five years, the right hander has helped lead the way throwing up to 94 mph.
Rodriguez is 11-0, has only given up one earned run all year, and hasn't given up a single run throughout the playoffs. In the postseason, Rodriguez has pitched 27 innings and has four shutouts.
Rodriguez and the team agree he's made huge strides since his freshmen year, and it's perfect timing for the regional finals.
"He's doing a great job with his role and what makes him so confident is the other eight or nine guys, the seniors, who are playing with him," said head baseball coach Robert Ellis. "When you take a kid with that ability, that God given ability with that special talent and you surround them with older guys, that talent really comes out."
"The biggest difference is my maturity now that I've been here for a year," said Rodriguez. "As a freshmen last year, everything was real nerve-wracking. I was pretty nervous going into every game. This year, it's been pretty relaxed and it's been fine. I know all the plays better and there's just a lot less stress."
No. 2 Central Heights will play reigning state champions No. 1 West in the regional finals.
The three-game-series will be played at Stephen F. Austin. Game 1 is Thursday starting at 7 p.m. Game 2 is Friday at 7 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, is Saturday at 3 p.m.