Seeing as they're ranked No. 1 in the state, it came as no surprise that Central Heights won district this year, making it their 9th consecutive championship. They even went about winning the ninth straight title in undefeated fashion.
“We had high hopes and I think we carried it through by winning our 9th consecutive title. That's a big thing to carry, especially for a big program like Central Heights,” said junior Grayson Rodriguez. “I'm just glad we could accomplish something like that and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Winning is expected for the Blue Devils, but the odds they defied in making it happen is a different story.
After graduating 14 seniors last year, Central Heights managed to keep their winning streak alive with a completely new team and even under a new head coach.
“The mentality was to work hard. We got to fill those spots because it was difficult losing that many guys with experience. But these guys have come in to try and fill their shoes, and so far we've done a good job of that,” said Rodriguez.
It also helped having a not-so-average JV team coming in that went 21-1 last year.
“I thought of it as our time to shine,” said senior Cole Reneau. “I definitely think we play more together as a team. These guys are like my brothers. I'd do anything for them and they'd do anything for me.”
“They're a group that knows how to win baseball games,” said first-year head baseball coach Travis Jackson. “They just came together really well and played the varsity schedule. They've done great.”
Jackson has now stamped his name in the rich Blue Devil tradition and was thrilled to get the chance to build a winning team from scratch.
“When I interviewed for the job and walked in the hallway, there's gold gloves all the way down the trophy case. It meant something to me to keep the tradition going and get another one of those gloves in the trophy case,” said Jackson.
“He is the best coach I’ve ever had. He coaches us up and he's not negative all the time. There's moments we get down but he's always boosting us back up,” said Reneau.
At 25-1-1, Central Height's season is hopefully long from over now that it's playoff time.
“We want to win it all. Every team does but I feel like we have the ability to this year,” said Reneau.
"The way we've been playing, we just got to keep it up and got to keep our heads up. You can't get too cocky or else something’s going to bite you,” said Rodriguez. “As long as we keep playing our brand of baseball, we'll be fine.”
Central Heights will play Onalaska in the bi-district. Their best-of-three game series will be at the Stephen F. Austin baseball field starting Friday night at 7 p.m.
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