College Station baseball team takes Game 1 over Santa Fe

College Station's Travis Hester pitches against Santa Fe during the first inning May 26, 2016, in Sweeny.

The College Station baseball team came in at No. 72 in CBS Maxpreps’ Top 100 preseason high school baseball rankings, which were released Thursday.

The Cougars, who made an appearance in the Class 5A state semifinals last season, return eight starters to a team that went 25-13-2 last year. They were ranked as the No. 2 5A team in Texas, according to the Texas High School Baseball Preseason Top 20 poll, which is voted on by the state’s coaches.

College Station certainly has the talent to back up their lofty expectations. It returns sophomore left-hander Bryson Lucas, committed to TCU, and junior right-hander Travis Hester, committed to Arkansas, to frontline its rotation.

Lucas went 9-1 with a 1.83 ERA and 71 strikeouts last year, while Hester went 10-2 with a 1.97 ERA and 77 strikeouts.

Up the middle, the Cougars feature senior shortstop Reece Easterling (signed to Temple College) and senior second baseman Trevor Blackshear (signed to Paris College). Easterling was an All-State Tournament selection last season.

The Cougars also have experience behind the plate to manage their potent pitching staff in senior Anthony Flores, who signed to play at Temple College as well. Likely behind Flores on the catching depth chart is senior Cannon Davis, signed to play at Paris College.

Entering Saturday, College Station was off to a 2-2 start in the Brazos Valley Invitational, picking up wins over Willis and St. Pius on Friday.

The Cougars will take on Grapevine, ranked as the No. 1 5A team in the state according to the Texas High School Baseball preseason rankings, on Thursday in the Flower Mound tournament.

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