The Prestonwood Christian and John Paul II baseball teams impressed during the early stages of the 2020 season, cracking the state rankings and posting double-digit victories before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down their respective campaigns.
Some of that success came from having several of the top statistical performers in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools. Recently, TXHighSchoolBaseball.com compiled a list of the state’s stat leaders for the abbreviated 2020 season, and several players from Prestonwood and John Paul made the cut among the private school qualifiers.
Anxious to avenge a surprising first-round exit last season, the Lions’ bid for redemption amounted to a 14-1 start in 2020 — good for the state’s No. 1 ranking among private schools.
Outscoring opponents, 134-27, across those 15 games, Prestonwood naturally had several players turn in impressive statistical starts to the year. That included one of the state’s top pitchers in senior River Ridings, who will continue his career at TCU after a dominant run on the mound for the Lions.
Ridings was on pace for a monster year, leading all private school pitchers in strikeouts (55) to go alongside five wins — ranked third in the state — and a 0.25 ERA (eighth).
Just as opposing lineups had their hands full with Ridings, there wasn’t much of a reprieve when fellow senior Easton Rios was on the hill. In his final high school campaign, Rios logged three wins (13th) and a 0.86 ERA (22nd).
At the plate, five Lions had batting averages of at least .425 on the year, led by a .478 clip from sophomore Tate Trammel. Not far behind was senior Luke Savage, who made the cut in six different offensive categories. Another TCU baseball signee, Savage posted a .467 batting average (25th) along with 14 hits (75th), 22 runs (eighth), 20 RBIs (sixth), three triples (fourth) and 11 stolen bases (15th).
Fellow senior Shane Reynolds wasn’t far behind in cracking the list in five categories, turning in strong marks in batting averages (.425, 47th), 17 hits (42nd), 13 runs (62nd), 16 RBIs (14th) and 10 stolen bases (24th).
Senior Ryan Patterson, meanwhile, added five double (23rd) on top of hitting .462 (27th), while senior Jake Burton tallied 14 hits (75th), 18 runs (18th), 16 RBIs (14th), seven doubles (seventh) and nine stolen bases (31st), and senior Jack Walton logged a .433 average (37th), 14 runs (47th), 15 RBIs (27th) and eight stolen bases (42nd).
While the Lions’ share of Prestonwood’s production came from a star-studded senior class, freshman Derrick Mitchell turned in a strong debut in his first-ever varsity campaign — posting 17 runs (24th), 12 RBIs (54th), three triples (fourth) and eight stolen bases (42nd).
John Paul II
The Cardinals were on pace to shatter last season’s 17-win record with a 13-6 mark early into the year. Ranked No. 17 in the state when the season concluded, John Paul did so behind some promising underclassmen with five players as either freshmen or sophomores ranking among TAPPS’ top statistical performers.
Chief among that group was sophomore Sam Betz, who tied for the top spot in the state with 26 runs while hitting .426 from the plate (45th) on top of 23 hits (fourth).
He had plenty of help elsewhere, be hit a strong debut from freshman Kendall McDowell — 21 hits (15th) and 16 runs (31st) — or sophomores Theo Krummer (18 hits, 37th) and Sam Hart (14 runs (47th). Junior Zeke Skinner had a big year from the plate with a .393 average (77th) to amass 22 hits (11th), 20 RBIs (sixth) and six doubles (13th).
Junior Trajan Lee had a well-rounded year in progress with 19 hits (27th) and 21 RBIs (fifth) to complement a balanced pitching line of three wins (13th), 13 strikeouts (21st) and a 2.38 ERA (69th).
Lee was among several arms that comprised a deep rotation for the Cardinals, with sophomore Brendan Vasquez adding 35 strikeouts (18th) and a 1.50 ERA (37th) on his way to five wins (third) on the bump, while senior Carson Collins was one of just five private school pitchers to post a 0.00 ERA on the year.