CISD: Dragon Baseball Are Champions For Second Straight Year
After clinching a trip to the UIL State Tournament by knocking off Flower Mound in the regional final round of the playoff, the Dragons were set to return to a familiar ballpark to get a shot to defend their 2018 state championship.
For the third year in a row, the Dragons would be playing games in early June that could cement their legacy as one of the powerhouse baseball programs in 6A Texas baseball.
In the semifinal matchup, Senior and Baylor commit Cutter Sippel took the bump for the Dragons against a very talented Lake Travis team. The Dragons would be facing Lake Travis’ Brett Baty, who earlier in the week had been selected 12th overall by the New York Mets in the MLB Rookie Draft.
The Dragons would strike in the first frame by scoring a quick run up on the board and load the bases up, but Baty would pitch out of the inning. Lake Travis responded quickly to tie the game up in the first. The pitching duel continues until Lake Travis put up an additional run in the fifth to take the lead and potentially end the Dragons’ 20 playoff game winning streak.
In the bottom of the sixth, junior Justin Grech started the comeback for the Dragons when his speed turned a routine play to the shortstop into an opportunity for his team to respond. Forcing an errant throw allowed Grech to get on base and later score to tie the game up for the Dragons. Grech would continue his big night in the 7th when he stepped up with the bases loaded and knocked in the deciding run of the game. The Dragons would go on to win the semifinal matchup 6-2 and advance on to play Fort Bend Ridge Point in Saturday’s finale.
Senior Joseph Steeber took the mound for the Dragons and would put on a clinic throughout the championship game. After an early 4 run explosion from his offense and working through a slight first-inning jam, Steeber took control of the game through the conclusion of the season finale.
During the almost hour-long home half of the third inning, the Dragons would set a UIL State Tournament record for most runs in an inning when 11 Dragons crossed the plate. That would not be the only record broken during this game though. The Dragons, behind Steeber’s quality start and incredible offensive performances, would go on to win their second state championship by a record score of 17-0.
The offense was led by Cade Manning, Brandon Howell, and Riley Garcia who each had multi-hit days at the plate. In a year that saw Cutter Sippel put up a dominating 12-1 overall record, the last three victories came from others, a pair by Luke Gornell and the championship’s strong performance by Steeber who tossed a complete game (five innings due to run rule).
Grech was named the Most Valuable Player of the weekend for his performance in both games. The 2019 Dragon Baseball squad finished the season with a 33-11 mark and became the first baseball team in school history to win back to back state championships.