The Class 5A state baseball tournament is Thursday and Saturday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. Port Neches-Grove (32-8-2) faces Frisco Wakeland (38-4-1) in the 4 p.m. semifinal. Grapevine (32-12) meets Corpus Christi Moody (30-2-3) in the 7 p.m. semifinal.
The winners advance to the state championship game at noon Saturday. Grapevine is seeking a second consecutive state championship after winning it all in 2016.
We break down the four participants.
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Coach: Steve Hutcherson
Playoff Road: d. Fort Worth South Hills 12-1 (bi-district); d. Sherman 4-0, 3-6, 11-5 (area); d. Aledo 2-0, 0-1, 5-2 (Region I quarterfinal); d. Amarillo 0-6, 11-1, 13-3 (Region I semifinal); d. Colleyville Heritage 0-1, 1-0, 2-1 (Region I final)
State tournament appearances: 2016, 2017
Notable: The reigning state champions are back and are scheduled to throw right-hander Connor Neuman (7-4) in the semifinal … shortstop/right-hander Boone Montgomery is 4-0 in the playoffs and hitting .410 … catcher Jonathan Hearn has been a rock behind the plate, hitting .364 and working with an experienced and deep pitching staff.
Coach: Scott Carter
Playoff Road: d. Humble 2-1, 12-9 (bi-district); d. Manvel 4-0, 1-2, 5-3 (area); d. Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill 0-6, 8-0, 4-0 (Region III quarterfinal); d. Tomball 0-6, 5-1, 2-0 (Region III semifinal); d. Brenham 5-3, 4-0 (Region III final)
State appearances: 2000, 2004 2017
Notable: Like Grapevine, the Indians have had to rally in two of their series after dropping the opener … in each of the last three deciding series games, Port Neches-Grove won by shutout … Port Neches grove lost in the state semifinals in 2004 and the state championship in 2000.
Coach: Barry Rose
Playoff Road: d. The Colony 14-7, 3-0 (bi-district); d. Sulphur Springs, 6-0, 10-0 (area); d. Prosper, 7-4, 2-1 (Region II quarterfinal); d. Cleburne 4-3, 6-7, 10-0 (Region II semifinal); d. Mansfield Legacy 6-4, 5-1 (Region II final)
State tournament appearances: 2010, 2017
Notable: With all due respect to Corpus Christi Moody, the Wolverines are the probably considered the favorites … there are four pitchers with at least five wins, led by right-hander Cooper Chandler, who is 11-1.
Corpus Christi Moody
Coach: Joe Curiel
Playoff Road: d. Eagle Pass Winn 6-1, 8-7 (bi-district); d. Pharr Valley View 6-1, 10-0 (area); d. Corpus Christi King 9-1, 4-3 (Region IV quarterfinal); d. Kerrville Tivy 0-2, 3-2, 8-2 (Region IV semifinal); d. Corpus Ray 7-3, 7-3 (Region IV final)
State tournament appearances: 1978, 1983, 1993, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2017
Notable: The elder statesman of the teams in the bracket, the Trojans are looking for their third state championship. The most recent was in 2007 … pitcher/first baseman Marcus Cantu leads the way with a 9-1 record and .337 batting average … catcher Nathaniel Medina has also put together a very strong season at .430.