Yoe baseball set for another run at the playoffs

Since moving down to 3A back in 2011, the Yoemen baseball team has been one of the most consistent programs in the Yoe High athletic department.  Cameron won a state championship in 2011 and has been in the playoffs five out of the last six years. 

On Monday, the 2017 version of the Yoemen put on the cleats for the first time in a scrimmage at Robinson in what is the beginning of a 3-month trek to getting back into the postseason.

The expectations should remain high with the return of eight starters from last season’s 17-15 area finalist team.  The second round playoff finish was the best since the Yoemen won it all six years ago.

"2016 was our most successful playoff finish since 2011," said Yoemen head coach John Broussard, who has won 173 games in his nine years as a coach. "I was really impressed on how our team came together and competed after having a slow start. We had a combination of younger and older players step up and play big roles last year."

All of the eight starters returning were mentioned somewhere on the 20-3A all-district baseball list. 

"This is going to be huge for the Cameron Yoemen because of the experiences they had last year as they played in big games," said Broussard.  "Those experiences will help our team to be successful in 2017."

Seniors Caden Harris and Jordan Young will highlight the group of returning starters.  Both players were first team all-district honorees in 2016 and each was recently named to TxHighSchoolBaseball.com’s (THSB) top players to watch in 3A region III.  Harris, who has signed to continue his baseball career at St. Edward’s University, hit .284 with 5 triples and 21 RBIs.  Young, who was second on last year’s team with a .341 average, also had four doubles and scored 15 runs. 

Zack Andress is the third returning first team all-district selection.  The junior hit .305 and scored 19 runs a season ago. 

The second team all-district members include senior Brandon Wilkins (.161, 6 RBI), junior Bryce Brashear (.235, 11 runs), sophomore Alex Alonso (.140, 6 RBI) and sophomore Jason Llanas (.267, 13 RBI). 

Bryce Welsh, who was a starter for Melissa last season as a sophomore, is expected to be in the starting lineup.  Welsh was the district newcomer of the year in 12-4A. 

“Speed and defensive play will be one of our biggest strengths this year,” said Broussard.  “Looking back at last year's accomplishments and growth, I expect our team to swing the bats better this year as well.”

As far as pitching, Cameron will need to have a few new faces step up.  The Yoemen lost Nick Alonso and Alex Ibarra - both 5-game winners - to graduation.  Alonso also led the team in multiple offensive categories and was the MVP for the district.

Young (34.2 IP, 21 K, 2.83 ERA) and Llanas (15 IP, 11 K, 3.73) could fill the top two spots in the rotation. Zach Andress (13 IP, 6 K), Ty Moore (13 IP, 6 K), Caden Harris (5.2 IP, 5 K) and Bryce Brashear (1 IP) should all see time on the mound.


District 20-3A

20-3A has a reputation of being one of the toughest districts in the state for baseball.  From the mid 2000s up until 2011, teams from Central Texas had a long run of advancing to state tournament and winning the state championship.  Most recent champions included Cameron in 2011 and Jarrell in 2012.  Salado and Troy have also been in Round Rock since that point. 

THSB has Rogers as a team to watch in the preseason top 30 with with six starters returning from a 19-15 regional quarterfinalist team.  Cameron is placed in second.  Franklin, with seven starters returning from a 17-13 bi-district finalist team, and Jarrell, with nine starters returning from a 12-11 bi-district finalist team, are predicted to finish in the third and fourth slots. Troy, which is number four in the state, has moved over to 19-3A.

Lexington (7-15, six starters returning), Academy (13-12, four starters returning) and Rockdale (9-14, seven starters returning) are also in the district.  Hearne is not expected to field a varsity team.