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SportzBuzz - July 2016

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Second Baptist Eagles

The Second Baptist Eagles captured the fourth state baseball championship in school history. The Eagles’ star-studded coaching staff including first-year head coach Lance Berkman and pitching coach Andy Pettitte.

From World Series champions to state champions. It’s not exactly your typical path to baseball glory. But that’s the route taken this past season by Second Baptist High School head baseball coach Lance Berkman and pitching coach Andy Pettitte. Second Baptist won the TAPPS 4A state baseball championship with a 7-2 victory over Midland Christian in the final.

“When you win your last game it doesn’t matter if you’re in Little League, high school, college or the big leagues, it’s a very gratifying feeling to win a championship,” said Berkman, the long-time Houston Astros great who won a World Series title with the St. Louis Cardinals. “I have four daughters who go to Second Baptist, so I look at these young men as surrogate sons. I love all these kids. It’s a gritty, hard-working group.”

As for Pettitte, whose son Jared was a standout pitcher and first baseman for the Eagles, winning a state championship alongside his former Houston Astros teammate and longtime friend was especially gratifying. “I was sitting next to Lance scouting Midland Christian and saying to him, ‘Can you believe we’re sitting out here in the burning sun and scouting high school baseball?’ But you know what, you still have that nervous feeling in your stomach. It really doesn’t matter if it’s the World Series or the state tournament at the high school level. I think if you’re a competitor and you care about what you’re doing, you’re going to put in the hard work.

“To have your family and friends here for this, and see guys like Jeff Bagwell in the stands is great. Plus, for me to be able to go through this with my son Jared after moving into Houston from Deer Park is special. You couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.”

Andrew Hoffman, Andrew Waters, Zach Oretsky

A trio of locals were part of the NCAA Division III national championship baseball team at Trinity University: (from left) Andrew Hoffman (Lamar class of 2015), Andrew Waters (Lamar class of 2012) and Zach Oretsky (Bellaire class of 2014). (Photo: Dennis Murphy, D Squared Productions)

In college baseball, a trio of local products won an NCAA Division III national championship with Trinity University. Lamar’s Andrew Waters and Andrew Hoffman, along with ex-Bellaire Cardinal Zach Oretsky, celebrated Trinity’s first-ever national title. Waters, a 2012 Lamar graduate, capped off his collegiate career with a spectacular season in which he hit for a .420 batting average with 17 doubles, five triples and eight homers.

“It’s an indescribable feeling for our senior class to define ourselves as the best team in the nation,” said Waters. “It was also special to do this with Andrew and Zach, who are guys that I’ve know for a long time. During our games this season, Andrew and I would high five and yell ’Skins, which was our old mascot nickname at Lamar. Zach and I would sometimes sit on the bench and talk about Rocky Manuel and his unique coaching style at Bellaire.”

While Waters was Trinity’s second leading hitter, Hoffman was a shut-down relief pitcher with a 1.22 ERA in just his freshman season. “Andrew and the rest of the seniors really set the tone for this national championship,” said Hoffman. “Also, any time you can do something like this with guys you went to high school with makes it even more special.”

Back on the high school level, chalk up yet another state championship for the St. John’s Mavericks girls lacrosse team. The Mavericks defeated Episcopal School of Dallas 10-9 in overtime for its fourth straight Texas Girls High School Lacrosse League state title. “This championship has to rank right up there,” said longtime Mavericks head coach Angie Kensinger. “The girls staged an incredible comeback in the title game.”  

Trailing 9-7, the Mavericks rallied to tie the game on goals from game MVP Lindsey McKone and then Audrey Ledbetter with just over one minute to play. In overtime, Kara Wollmers found senior Jennifer Trieschman for the game-winning goal. Coupled with their earlier SPC title, the Mavericks have won an Southwest Preparatory Conference and/or TGHSLL state title 13 straight seasons.

The Episcopal girls golf team

The Episcopal girls golf team brought home the first SPC girls golf championship in school history: (from left) Caroline Murphy, Margaret Runnels, Anna Giesler, Lex Tsiropoulouis, EHS athletic director Jason Grove, Hunter Reinertsen-Fourhand, Mary Helen Kennedy, Miranda Greewalt and golf coach Meghan Moake.

On the topic of SPC championships, the Episcopal girls golf team made school history by winning its first-ever SPC title, doing so by a lofty 34-stroke margin. Sophomore Margaret Runnels led the way with an impressive two-day total of 156 to finish second individually, with teammate Mary Helen Kennedy finishing fourth overall. Caroline Murphy, Anna Giesler and Miranda Greenwalt were also big contributors for the Knights.

“It was a historic championship for our team,” said Knights golf coach Meghan Moake. “The girls had a goal from the onset of the season to win the championship. It took a lot of hard work and dedication.”

Editor’s Note: Todd Freed is the Emmy Award-winning co-host and producer of the KUBE SportsZone, which airs Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. on Channel 57-KUBE. To submit high school sports news for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email [email protected].

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