Cougars dominating district at halfway point


Addison Burnham

The Cougars celebrate a home run during their game against Morton Ranch earlier this season.

Ashton Lux, Sports Editor

As the Cougar baseball team approaches the halfway point of 15-6A district play, varsity is currently sitting in fourth place at 16-6 on the year (5-2 in district). Coming into district play the Cougars were 10-4 and opened up their year with cross-town rival, Tomball Memorial.

Going into the first game of the series it was a battle between two Texas State University signees, senior pitcher Brian Panneton for the Wildcats and our very own senior pitcher Chase Mora.

To open up the game both pitchers took care of business keeping the game scoreless through the first three innings. To open up the third inning a pitching change occurred bringing in junior reliever Brady Jensen for Chase Mora due to injury.

After retiring the side the Cougars were up to bat and began with getting junior Maddox Feldott on base who was brought in by sac fly by senior Micah Andrejczak  putting them up 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

Another pitching change was made, this time bringing in junior Sam Houston State commit Cade Daniel. Throughout the bottom of the fourth multiple defensive errors allowed the Wildcats to take the momentum in their favor putting them up 4-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth.

Trying to rally back into the game sophomore Thomas Williamson hit an RBI groundout to put them down two heading into the bottom of the fifth. Another pitching change happened bringing in sophomore closer Keegan Demmer who closed out the inning with no hits given. 

With the Cougars back up to bat, pitcher Brian Panneton excelled and closed out the inning leaving Tomball with only one more opportunity to hit. With the defense back on the field and needing to close shut down the Wildcats multiple errors occurred again and set up an opportunity at a sacrifice bunt bringing in the runner from third putting Memorial up 5-2 heading into the last inning.

To close out the game, Brian Panneton once again retired the side making them victorious in the first game of the series. University of Florida commit, sophomore Cade Arrambide reflected on the troubles throughout the game 

“It was a tough game, a lot of things that just did not go our way, things that we cannot control,” Arrambide said. “The boys played really hard, I am proud of us as a team for continuing to compete even when everything possible that could have gone wrong went wrong. 

Arrambide also spoke on how to correct the mistakes heading into their second game of the series.

“Our mindset going into this next game is to keep the intensity up, do not back down. We are so close to being a dominating team, as soon as we can get that click we will be unstoppable,” Arrambide said.

Multiple injuries for the Cougars kept out some star players from playing in the second game of the series, the Cougars dropped that game 7-4 putting them at 0-2 on the season and dropping both games to their crosstown rival.

“It is tough to put behind us because that is our district rival but the season is well over ten games, we cannot just take one loss into our entire season.” Arrambide said. “We can go into the rest of district and keep doing our thing, working hard and keeping up the intensity and we can come out, win the district and have a great run in the playoffs.”

With the Cougars dropping the first two games of district play, the mindset of putting the series behind them went into effect as they headed into their second series of the year versus Klein Forest.

With Chase Mora unable to pitch, an underclassman took the opportunity to step up into the spotlight and pitch. Sophomore Keegan Demmer was given the start in the first game at home.

Being an underclassman in crucial district games can come with its stresses, Demmer was able to stay focused with the end goal in mind, winning. 

“Being an underclassman pitching in a district game can be quite nerve racking. To stay focused I play with a chip on my shoulder and a mentality that I’m the best. That is the only way to succeed and have enough confidence for a moment that big. My one common goal every time I step on the mound is to fill up the strike zone and challenge the batter to hit me while limiting walks and free bases,” Demmer said.

With the confidence of Demmer on the mound and the motivation of the rest of the team the Cougars were able to start their road to winning district. 

The first inning was scoreless for both teams, the top of the second for the Eagles was scoreless but the bottom of the second was the transition for the Cougars as they scored seven runs. Senior Wade Eslick hit an RBI triple to score the first run, Eslick was then pinch runned by senior Brandon Perry who scored on a wild pitch. Designated hitter Chase Mora then hit a two RBI double that was followed by Braden Scherzer hitting an RBI single and to close off the inning, with Eslick back up to bat he hit an RBI single putting them up 7-0.

In the top of the third Demmer continued his dominance on the mound striking out two out of three batters putting them back up to bat. Lead off hitter Maddox Feldott got on base, Chase Mora cleaned up hitting an RBI homerun over the right field wall putting the Cougars up 9-0. 

The defense for the Cougars was consistent throughout the whole game and kept the Eagles scoreless, the last inning of scores for Tomball was the bottom of the fourth as junior University of Houston commit Alan Lopez hit an RBI double putting them up 10-0 heading into the fifth inning. 

To close off the game sophomore closer Thomas Williamson came into the game and retired the side, shutting out Klein Forest.

The first win of the year in district play sparked a winning streak for the Cougars as they beat the Eagles in second game 12-1, sweeping Klein Forest in the series and then beating Cinco Ranch 19-12 that same week.

“I knew winning game one against Forrest was pivotal to the morale of the team after we got swept by Tomball Memorial. I knew I had to compete and put my team on my back while pitching to get us in the win column. Since that win, like you’ve said we are on a win streak and spirits are high as our team is starting to get back to our best baseball. Each week we have to go in with the same mindset of playing our baseball, fill up the zone, and take quality at bats and we will be hard to beat again throughout the district.”

With the three game win streak under their belt, the Cougars opened up their third series of the year to Klein Collins. To say the game was high scoring would be an understatement as the Cougars won the game in extra innings 23-19, it was a team effort as Cade Arrambide went 3-4 with two home runs, a double and two RBIs, Senior Keegan Handal went 4-5 with a homerun of his own, a double and four RBI’s, Chase Mora went 2-5 with a homerun, a double and three RBI’s, Micah Andrejczak went 2-3 with 2 RBI’s, Brandon Perry went 2-4 with three RBI’s and Alan Lopez went 2-4 with a double and three RBI’s. 

With the momentum swaying in their favor, the Cougars hosted Klein Collins with underclassman Thomas Williamson at the mound. Tomball got on the scoreboard early as Keegan Handal hit a two RBI home run over the left field wall putting them up 3-0 in the bottom of the first.

Contributing to the early scores, Chase Mora hit an RBI single putting them up 4-0. The rest of the game was scoreless for both teams but the early scores for the Cougars secured the win. The trend of underclassmen stepping up continued as pitcher Thomas Williamson pitched all seven innings with four strikeouts and only one hit given.

As the Cougars headed into the halfway point of district play, they opened up their first game at home versus the undefeated team in district, Klein Oak. 

To open up the game the first inning went scoreless for both teams which quickly changed as Klein Oak hit a two run home run over the left field wall putting them up 2-0 heading into the bottom of the second. The dominance of the Panther defense continued as they kept the Cougars scoreless through two. 

To open up the top of the third inning junior Sam Houston State commit Cade Daniel came into pitch with two outs. Daniel quickly retired the side, putting them back up to bat.

To open up the bottom of the third, Chase Mora hit a two run home run over the left field wall to tie the game up at 2-2. Following Mora’s at bat came Cade Arrambide hitting another home run to take the lead 3-2 heading into the top of the fourth.

Daniels’ dominance continued as he once again retired the side. The scoring continued as Chase Mora hit an RBI double to bring in the runner from third, putting them up 4-2 heading into the top of the sixth. 

The last score of the night came from a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth putting them up 5-2. To end the game in fashion, Daniel struck out the last batter putting him at seven total strikeouts on the night while pitching only 3.2 innings.

With the first win of the series in Tomball’s favor put them at 5-2 in district and continuing their six game win streak. They will travel to Klein Oak this Friday at 7 to close out the series marking the end of the first half of District 15-6A play.