Baseball Practices Underway for Pasadena, Deer Park Teams

With wool beanies replacing baseball caps, parkas more like ski slopes, replacing baseball jackets and warm gloves replacing batting gloves, training for the 2022 high school baseball season officially began on Friday afternoon.

Due to the cold, some school districts canceled the first day of practice, but the majority persevered, including Pasadena and Deer Park ISD. By mid-afternoon and the sun was shining, it was cold but not freezing cold. But by 5 p.m. and the sun was no longer high in the sky, unprotected fingers began to express their displeasure.

“I thought it was going to get cold and there were some shows that got canceled today. Coach Garcia insisted we try to get him in and it ended up being a really fun day. We snuck one in because I thought it was would be too cold. I’m happy to get this in,” said Memorial head coach Terry Garza.

At Pasadena Memorial and Deer Park, home of last season’s co-champions, the day was mainly reserved for tryouts for freshmen and others. The Mavs welcome their varsity players for the first time on Saturday at approximately 2:30 PM

Plenty of gathered fans, in this case family members, attended the two diamonds to watch the tryouts with potential players doing the usual of throwing, running and if you felt most comfortable on the mound, pitch.

Once the basics are settled, the programs eagerly await a busy scrimmage schedule, hopefully at milder temperatures. Deer Park’s scrimmage schedule includes Atascocita, Alvin, Clear Creek, Fort Bend Ridge Point, and Barbers Hill. Clear Creek and Ridge Point become road assignments.

Memorial begins their scrimmage slate with Clear Lake, an opponent the Mavs routinely oppose to get them ready for a season.

Channelview was the only 22-6A location where the Falcons diamond was equipped with a lawn. Not anymore. Deer Park’s Jim Kethan Field made the switch from natural to grass in the off-season and everyone is excited, even Deer Park’s head coach Chris Rupp, who is a seasoned strain of natural grass.

“Man, there’s nothing better than a freshly cut baseball field. But it’s a lot of fun because it’s going to save games, it’s going to save practice time. And during the play-offs we always have a place to play because of the weather. The last couple of years we’ve gone to Sweeney, we’ve gone to Cameron, we’ve gone to Crosby. Just knowing that if it rains, we have the option with the turf here. I remember being more stressed about where we were going to play than about the game itself,” Rupp said.

However, Rupp and his assistant coaches will have to adjust their coaching a bit because of the new grass pitch.

“The ball bounces better and it plays a little faster than natural grass. I’m saying this, our team defense should be a lot better because of it. I’m not going to guarantee anything, but I should. It should be a lot better on a field like that,” said Rupp, who is preparing for his 37th season at secondary or university level.

But more improvements are on the way. Covered batting cages will be a new feature of Jim Kethan Field and the seating areas at first and third base will be covered.

“It’s going to be a really nice facility when it’s finished,” Rupp said.

But for now, every high school baseball coach will view warmer temperatures as an added benefit to their respective fields.

ravery@hcnonline.com

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