Corpus Christi High School Baseball: Coaches, Focused Players
High School Baseball: Bishop, London players and coaches talk game
Bishop and London players and coaches talk about the game in the Region IV-3A baseball final.
The hardest part for coaches and players at this week’s baseball regional finals will be convincing themselves and the fans that this is just another game.
Because – in reality – the two all-local Class 4A and 3A regional finals in the region this week are not just regular matches.
Callallen and Sinton face off in a titanic matchup that features a pair of highly successful programs and the No. 1 and 2 Class 4A teams in the state for much of the season. Moreover, the hype for the game started a few weeks ago even before the actual match was decided.
Bishop and London in Class 3A is a contest between an established program with a record of late-round wins, and a promising program that is poised to become a mainstay in the region.
So for all the cliches about this being just one more game, they fit the realization that these two matchups are a big deal.
“I’m proud that we’ll have two representatives from Coastal Bend at the state tournament this year,” Bishop coach Mike Medina said. “I think as 2020 comes to an end, it’s a testament to all of the programs in the state of Texas how difficult it has been this year to get their players to where they needed to be.”
The specter of 2020 and the cancellation of the season dominated discussion at the start of the season and teams began training with strict protocols in place for games, tournaments and venues. But as the season progressed, the focus shifted back to the pitch and match results.
And as that same season wore on, it seemed inevitable that one game was destined to happen and the other was a surprise.
Callallen vs. Sinton
Callallen and Sinton were seeded high early on and remained there throughout the season and even in March there was talk of the two programs facing each other in the playoffs.
The question was not if, but when.
Both teams, however, focused on the seasons they were playing, but always knew they would see each other at this point in the season.
“Throughout the year, the talk has been that the two best teams at 4A have been us and Callallen,” said Sinton junior Canon Chester. “All year it’s been like that. There might be a chance we didn’t make it or they didn’t, but yeah, I mean most of the time we thought we were going to meet them at some point.
Tickets for the game at Whataburger Field sold out quickly on Monday, and even some of the stadium suites will be occupied for the event, along with several teams airing radio or streaming shows, adding to the scale of the event. .
Players and coaches, however, will do their best to remember to focus on the game ahead of them and the opportunity the game presents.
“Everyone knows the atmosphere is going to be absolutely crazy with something like this,” Callallen receiver AJ Yepez said. “No. 1 and No. 2 in Texas, questionable, go for it.
Bishop vs. London
Across town, at Cabaniss Baseball Field, also the site of many legendary baseball moments, London wants to continue its magical season against a team it has beaten twice this season. The Pirates’ rival at the top of the district, Bishop, raised eyebrows in the region and helped those outside the London program realize the side were becoming one to watch.
“Just talking about it in the mix with these caliber teams must be a great feeling for us,” said London co-coach Kevin Carr. “It’s an amazing feeling to play after graduation and these kids are ready and hungry to try and keep going.”
Bishop, however, has found his identity and is back in a familiar position in the regional finals. The Badgers are playing in their fifth regional final in six playoff seasons and will face their second District 30-3A opponent after beating rival Banquete in the regional quarterfinals.
“I think it means a lot, it’s two talented baseball clubs in the same district and it shows what South Texas baseball is all about,” Bishop pitcher Ruben Rendon said. “I can’t wait to put on the boots on Thursday and see what happens.”
Two directed to the state
Bragging rights will be on the line in both games with a state tournament berth, and that state tournament berth will be the region’s first since 2018, when the Veterans Memorial made the trip to Round Rock.
This season’s regional double finals help make up for the lack of state schools qualifying for the UIL State Tournament, and both games provide an opportunity for all four teams to start a new streak.
Plus, it’s another reminder that this week’s games are pretty big.
“Coastal Bend and South Texas handled it the same way Coastal Bend and South Texas handle things, we messed up and we didn’t get the job done (in 2019),” said Bishop’s coach Mike Medina, “But hey, we’re coming back twice.
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Len Hayward is sports director for the USA Today Sports Network region and sports editor for Caller-Times. Support more coverage like this by checking out our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe