The road to the Crosstown Showdown has been a bit bumpy for the Bryan and A&M Consolidated baseball teams, but a victory over your rival tends to smooth things out.
Consol and Bryan both will look for a momentum-building win as they meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Viking Field. The Tigers (6-10, 0-2) are tied with Conroe for last one week into district play. The Vikings (7-6-1, 1-1) share fourth place with Oak Ridge.
Bryan opened league play with a 9-0 home loss to Oak Ridge, but the Vikings bounced back Friday to top Conroe 4-1 as Rice-signee Willy Amador pitched a three-hitter. Amador and sophomore Landon Miner, another major-college prospect, lead a deep pitching staff on a Bryan team trying to be more consistent.
“The season’s been up and down,” Bryan coach David Powers said. “With the weather being the way it’s been, we may go a whole week and not practice on the field, just hit in the [batting] cage. It’s hard to get continuity going when you don’t get to get out on the field all the time. I think that’s the biggest part of our inconsistency.”
Consol, which has been affected by the opening of College Station High splitting the district’s talent, is still searching for the winning formula. The Tigers are coming off a 3-1 loss to defending state champion The Woodlands. All three runs were unearned as Consol wasted a strong outing by senior pitcher Jared Herrmann, who is 2-2 despite an earned run average under 0.40.
“I hate to say we’re struggling, because the kids are playing hard and they’re competing from the first pitch to the last out,” Consol coach Chase Mann said. “We’re just coming up a little short. If we can put it together and pick up a win, that changes everything. If we can have a good game [against Bryan] and get a winning taste back in our mouth, I think we’re going to be fine.”
Bryan coach Powers likes the depth on his pitching staff to go along with Amador and Miner. The Vikings also can rely on Trevor Russ, Jason Hejl and Matt Fuller on the mound.
The Bryan lineup is led by catcher Brandon Kveton, third baseman and leadoff hitter Jeremy Pfuntner, shortstop Juan Valadez and center fielder Fuller.
Consol has an experienced player in senior Kyle Barfield, a three-year letterman who plays right field and pitches. Other standouts for the Tigers include first baseman Stephen Schlett, center fielder Derrick Dick and third baseman Chase Corrington, a transfer from North Carolina.
The district standings have The Woodlands at 2-0, with Lufkin and The Woodlands College Park both 1-0. Last week College Park (11-6 overall) opened league play with a 6-4 victory over Oak Ridge, which was ranked fourth in the state after winning 16 of 17 games to start the season.
“I feel like our district’s one of the toughest in the state, if not the toughest,” Mann said. “I think teams are going to beat up on each other, so there’s time to get in it. At some point we’re just going to have to put it all together.”