Baseball: Clear Springs finishes off season with loss in playoffs
Clear Springs loses nine seniors and just about an entire pitching staff from its 2011 baseball playoff team, the program's first in school history.
The Chargers closed at 25-10 after falling to District 23-5A champion Clements 5-1 and 2-0 in the 5A Region III quarterfinals last week.
After placing second in 24-5A, Clear Springs swept Fort Bend Travis 1-0 and 8-2, and La Porte 12-4 and 5-4 before being eliminated by state-ranked Clements.
Nine seniors — including starters J.C. Neighbors (pitcher-center field), Brandon Torrez (second base), Matt Brister (pitcher), Tyler Winfield (designated hitter) and A.J. Burts (right field) - will be lost to graduation, along with regular contributors Taylor Galvan (catcher), Aaron Blalock (closer), Cameron Pope (pitcher) and Stephen Emge (infield).
"These senior are extremely special and they are the first class to go all four years at Clear Springs," Chargers coach Chris Floyd said. "Reaching the playoffs this season, and being the first team to do it, is something they worked very hard to do, and hopefully we can build on it."
Clear Springs has returning starters in juniors Jameson Gutierrez (shortstop) and J.D. Arrowood (first base), and sophomores Austin Botello (left field), Braxton Hollenshead (third base) and Clint Johnson (catcher).
Junior pitcher Alex Ferraiuolo picked up a save in the playoffs, and juniors Michael Fonville, Michael Neighbors, Kyle Gerondale, Zach Brunson and Jeremy Sciba, and sophomore Shelby Ganey were also on the postseason roster.
"We have some experience coming back, and we'll have to work some new arms into the rotation," Floyd said, "and we're planning to once again battle for the district title and the playoffs."
Clear Springs finished behind district champion Brazoswood (in this week's region semifinals against Lamar), and in front of third place Clear Brook (lost to Dulles first round) and Alvin (lost to Clements first round) in 24-5A.
Clements meets Memorial in this week's other region semifinal.
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