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Texans own edge in first playoff round
Deep rotation to lead Lamar against Tompkins this weekend
By Jeff Jenkins Published 3:24 pm, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Houston Chronicle
Houston, Texas - Pitching, postseason experience and the home-field advantage are Lamar's greatest assets as the Texans open the University Interscholastic League baseball playoffs this week. Lamar, the District 20-6A runner-up, will face Katy Tompkins, the third-place team from District 19-6A, in a Class 6A-Region III bi-district series. Game 1 will be at 6 p.m. Friday, May 6, on its opponent's field. The Texans will host the Falcons in Game 2 at noon Saturday, May 7, with Game 3, if needed, 30 minutes later.
"We're really excited about having a playoff game on our field. We've put a lot of sweat equity into making it happen," said Lamar head baseball coach David Muñoz. "We're not allowed to play district games at home because of Houston ISD rules, so this is something new for us."
Should Lamar (18-8-1) advance to the second round, it won't be due strictly to the venue. The Texas feature one of the deepest pitching rotations in the state. Senior left-hander John Doxakis and senior Jimmy Winston should get starts in the playoffs. Doxakis and Winston have signed with Texas A&M University and Baylor University, respectively.
"John and Jimmy have been terrific all year," Muñoz said, "but we're fortunate to have some good arms out of the bullpen."
Seniors Carter Cochrane (University of Texas-Dallas) and Mark Tindall (Villanova University) could take the mound along with juniors Owen Holt, Jacob Millender, Lawrence Sandoval and Michael Streitmann.
According to Muñoz, one of the main issues has been finding ample work for his hurlers. However, it's possible several of them will be called to duty this weekend.
Offensively, Lamar has plenty of firepower. Senior Tyson Thompson (Richland College) has excelled in the leadoff spot, while Doxakis, Holt and Winston have done a commendable job driving in runs.
Senior catcher Charlie Bartlett, who signed with University of Houston after throwing out four runners against Bellaire, anchors the infield. Also starting are Doxakis or Winston at first base, senior Aaron Cranfield at second base, junior Cameron Gibbons at short stop and Holt or Winston at third base.
The outfield is comprised of Thompson in left, senior Julian Cranford in center and Millender or Doxakis in right.
Muñoz expects his players to handle the pressure of playoff baseball.
"We played two classic, extra-inning games against the eventual state champion Cy Ranch last year. Even though we lost, it was great experience," Muñoz said. "This is Katy Tompkins' first time in the playoffs. They're a new school. Hopefully, there will be some nerves, but we're not counting on it. We know we need to be at our best."