Smithson Valley looks to carry on proud tradition

Kendall Volz looks to lead the Rangers one step further than last year's state semifinal appearance. Photo by Jake Ladd.

by Kevin Force, Editor

There's no reason to suspect that the Smithson Valley baseball team won't turn out another terrific season.

The Rangers rolled up a 28-8 record last year and advanced all the way to the state semifinals before finishing a disappointing one-game short.

This year, Smithson Valley returns eight lettermen and a pair of all-state players who are all looking to erase that disappointment.

"We're playing to get back there (the playoffs)," fourth-year head coach George Proctor said.

If he can get there, it will be on the strength of the right arm of senior Kendall Volz. The 6-4, 225-pound pitcher was incredible in last year's playoff stretch, finished the year with a 14-3 record and earned all-state honors on the mound.

"He did well tonight," Proctor said of Volz after the team's Monday scrimmage against Dripping Springs.

"He's not quite (where he was last year). His speed hasn't gotten back to where it was since he injured his shoulder, but he's pitching well. He's controlling his pitches well and working on No. 2 and 3 pitches a lot more," Proctor said.

Volz and centerfielder Clay Fuller, an all-district choice last year, have both already signed to play baseball at Baylor next year.

The Rangers also welcome back second baseman Reagan Moczygemba, another all-stater. He will combine with junior Ryan Morrow at shortstop to provide a reasonably strong defense up the middle.

"I expect all of these young men to do better," Proctor said. "I expect them to come out and be leaders on the team and do the right things and come through in the clutch and teach the young ones how to play in those kind of situations."

Morrow is all-around kind of player who could also pitch and catch and will make a significant presense offensively.

"He can play anywhere on the field," Proctor said. "He might be our No. 2 or 3 pitcher."

The Rangers will need an effective No. 2 starter to contend for the 26-5A title.

"This district is plenty tough," Proctor said. "At least three of the teams have two quality pitchers."

Smithson Valley lost last year's No. 2 pitcher, Bryant Sparkman, who is at Corpus Christi A&M and one of four starters from last year's squad now playing in the college ranks.

The Rangers changed the date of their opening game to Tuesday, Feb. 21, when they host Kerrville Tivy at 7 p.m. at Ranger Field.

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