By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor
PROSPER – For the first time, Jesuit is headed to the UIL state baseball tournament.
Kyle Muller out-dueled national player of the year Luken Baker by throwing a three-hit shutout on Friday as the Rangers topped Conroe Oak Ridge 4-0 to complete a series sweep in the Class 6A Region II final.
“I’m not taking anything away from Luken”, said Jesuit head coach Brian Jones. “He’s a gifted baseball player, both as a pitcher and a batter, but we were better tonight.”
The Rangers (35-3-2) were better both nights. Muller, University of Texas pledge, and Thursday’s pitcher Harrison Folk limited Oak Ridge to just one run in the two games.
Jesuit wasted no time in reaching Baker, who has signed with TCU. Cameron Dobbs led off in the bottom of the first with an infield single. Darius Hill’s triple off the center-field wall scored Dobbs to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead with no outs.
Grant Reuben’s hard grounder scored Hill with two outs in the inning to put Jesuit up 2-0 after one frame, and that was all the scoring the Rangers would need.
“It didn’t hit me how far we’ve come until I was walking out to practice after last week’s series win over Lake Travis,” Jones said. “I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed for this team, these kids, and Jesuit. But nothing has changed from Day 1 of the season in terms of our preparation. And we’ll go into next week’s practices with the same mindset”.
Jesuit’s Chase Jennings led off the bottom of the second inning with a single up the middle, and after stealing second, he scored on a Dobbs single to put the Rangers in front 3-0 after three innings.
Dobbs, a sophomore, went 3-for-3 on the night and his lead-off home run over the left-field wall in the fifth inning made it 4-0.
“We’ve worked so hard all season,” said Muller. “Our mental approach as we head into state won’t change. We’ll go into practice next week with the same preparation.”