The work Central Heights put in all year has come down to one final moment.
The Blue Devils are about to step foot on the biggest stage at the high school level, and that is the state tournament. 208 3A teams started the baseball season, and now Central Heights is one of four left to take the state title.
It's a platform no player on this team has been before, but one their postseason has proved they're more than capable to handle.
“It feels amazing, honestly. I can't believe we're here. It feels like we just started yesterday,” said Central Heights’ outfielder Devin Yates.
“It feels pretty unreal. We had high expectations coming into the season. To accomplish your goals feels great, but we still got two more games. We just got to finish it out,” said Central Heights’ pitcher Grayson Rodriguez.
The Blue Devils have defended their No. 1 ranking by cranking over seven runs per game, while recording six shutouts this postseason.
“We've played consistent enough all year long to get to this point. I just hope we can play two consistent ball games, play our brand and pull out two wins,” said Central Heights head coach Travis Jackson.
Jackson, a first-year head coach at Central Heights, is no stranger to the state stage. After two trips to state with Overton, he's relayed the message of what his guys can expect.
“We just need to play our brand of baseball. We don't have to do anything extra special in the games. Just play how we've been playing all year long and try to pull out a win,” said Jackson.
“Even though it's a bigger stage, we still have to play the game we know how to play and slow it down. You can't get ahead of yourself just because there's a lot of people,” said Rodriguez.
“If we keep everything in front of us, we keep the game in front of us. We just got to stay on top of it,” said Yates.
While Central Heights will look to bring a second state title back to the program, Whitesboro will be the first opponent looking to put a halt to that.
The Bearkats have proven they can pile up runs averaging over six a game, but can be broken and have recorded just three shutouts in playoffs.
“They hit and run well. They're solid on defense and we've just got to hit the baseball. If we do that everything will be fine,” said Rodriguez.
“They're kind of like us and putting things together at the right time also. It's going to be a good ball game,” said Jackson.
Central Heights already surpassed plenty of expectations when they returned only one starter this year, and now that two games is all that stands in their way, they're holding nothing back.
“You honestly can't break our bond,” said Yates.
“I think all the pressure has been put on us throughout the playoffs and we're ready for the next step,” said Jackson.
“We’re dogs. We’ll fight until the end. We won't give up, we won't back down and we're scared of nobody,” said Rodriguez.
Central Heights and Whitesboro will play at Dell Diamond in Round Rock Wednesday starting at 4 p.m.
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