Yoe baseball off to hot start

On Monday, the Cameron Yoemen moved up a few more spots to number 18 in TxHighSchoolBaseball.com’s 3A statewide rankings. Cameron, which came into this week’s action at 12-3-1 overall and 3-0 in 20-3A play, had a big time matchup with the Rogers Eagles on Tuesday - another team included in the rankings at number 20.


The hot start is the best the Yoemen have had since the 2011 season. That year saw Cameron win their first and only state championship in baseball. With that said, when you see impressive records, you generally have teams that find ways to win games as opposed to losing them.


The 2017 Yoemen have done plenty of that in the early going. In this day and age, pitching and defense has taken precedence. Cameron has done a nice job of developing pitchers and has plenty of depth in that department. You’re not going to find the big 85 plus MPH arms in the rotation, but throwing strikes and locating pitches can be just as effective. Right now, Jason Llanas, Zack Andress and Bryce Brashear are doing just that as the top three in the rotation. The likes of Alex Alonso, Ty Moore and Anthony Layne have also provided depth during tournament season. That could prove to be beneficial with the new pitching limits which could require up to four to five pitchers to be used during a three-game playoff series.


In addition to the dependable pitching, Cameron has been hitting the ball throughout the entire order. It is always important for the top of the lineup to drive in runs and be the clutch hitters that you can depend on, but having those guys in the bottom half come through with big hits only makes your team that much stronger. That was reiterated by both Yoe head coach John Broussard and the players after the win over Lexington on the road. As of now, it’s hard to pitch around one or two guys in the Yoemen’s lineup.


As you would expect, the Yoemen are fully concentrated on the gruelling stretch of games coming up on 20-3A. As a high school baseball analyst, I want to take a look a little further out at region III.


Right now, I would say there are about 8-9 teams that legitimately have a shot at advancing out of region III and on to the state tournament in June. Cameron (18), along with Rogers (20), are two included in that group. After that, I believe you have a quartet of teams from 19-3A - Groesbeck, Troy, West and Clifton. West (11) is the two-time defending state champions, but the Trojans have already suffered an early loss in district play. Troy (6), Groesbeck (9) and Clifton (19) are all top 20 teams. You’re going to see some excellent bi-district matchups as 19-3A and 20-3A will meet up in the first round.


Elsewhere, you have Central Heights (4) and Grandview (5), which are currently the top two rated teams in the region. As of this moment, I would say Central Heights would be the most difficult matchup, primarily for Grayson Rodriguez. Rodriguez is possibly the best player in all of 3A with 6 home runs and 47 strikeouts in the early part of the season.


With that said, there is a long way to go and baseball can be a funny game at times. We will see how things play out on the diamond in the coming months.