The Covenant Christian Academy baseball team has moved into the top 25 private schools in the state in the most recent txhighschoolbaseball.com rankings, and with the playoffs just around the corner, this bodes very well for the Cougars.
Coach Rusty Beam said his team struggled early in the season while some of his players were still in other sports, but said things have turned around in a big way.
“We are playing well,” Beam said. “We got off to a very slow start, but once we had our full roster in tact from basketball, we have been a very good team with just a couple of tough days. We have a full roster of players that can play at the varsity level, so we have weekly been working out what is actually our strongest lineup for district and playoffs.”
Covenant lost in the TAPPS 4A regional final 2-0 to Midland Christian last season.
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“We have a much stronger and more unified team,” Beam said. “We did lose our top pitcher, but we have some young guys that have really stepped up. Our lineup is deeper this year, with the bottom of the order being very productive and helping boost our offensive production. The re-classification has also been a help for us as last year we played predominantly much bigger schools.”
With the success the Cougars have had come some big expectations.
“Our goal is to win district and win state,” Beam said. “We are a relatively young team and the competition is stiff at the top, but we feel like we can compete with anyone on any given day.”
Beam said he believes he has the personnel to accomplish those goals as well.
“Mason Roach has been really good on the mound for us and has even stepped up at the plate this year,” Beam said. “Luke Roden is our lea off batter that is on pace to set a school record in stolen bases. I have David VanVooren committed to Wichita State, but unfortunately he has been out with an injury since game one. He possibly could be back the last week of district.
“Catcher/RHP Wes Alvarez has drawn interest (from colleges), as has Roach. Our two leading hitters are freshman [2B/RHP] Graham Stiefel and [C/3B/RHP] Noah Boughton, who will be playing college ball in four years.”
To have a good run in the postseason, Beam said it will take “consistent starting pitching with solid defense. Our lineup is deep enough, and as long as we keep pitching and fielding well, we can find a way to score enough runs to win.”