The Atascocita Eagles baseball team shocked the state in 2014, advancing all the way to the state semi-finals before losing to Reagan, the state runner up. The Eagles looked to mirror last year’s 31-9-1 season, returning some key players in Anthony Pagano, Garrett Park, Mitchell Johnson, and Jonathan Higginbotham. The 2015 season looked promising for one of the state’s top 6A programs.
After an average start to the season (11-9 heading into the rivalry game), the Eagles dropped the first of two district match-up’s against rivals, Kingwood, at home, 2-0. Halfway through district play, the Eagles sat in 6th place (out of 7 schools) in District 16-6A. After the loss, Atascocita won 5 of their next 7 games and climbed their way up district standings, eventually clinching a playoff spot. The Eagles finished the regular season with an overall record of 16-13 and clinched the 3rd seed, which set up a first-round match-up with former district opponent, Klein Collins (19-8).
The Eagles knew Klein Collins would be one of their toughest opponents they would have to face all year. Looking to advance deep in the playoffs for back-to-back years, Atascocita traveled to Klein Collins HS for Game 1 of the 3 game series. The two teams faced off in a Thursday night duel eventually won by Klein Collins. The Tigers put the Eagles away 9-2 in Game 1 due to a series of Atascocita errors. Looking to bounce back in Game 2, the Eagles traveled back to Atascocita, the site of Game 2.
Garrett Park took the mound for the Eagles in Game 2, Park tried to keep the Eagles playoff hopes alive. The Eagles offense was lead early by a 2-run HR by Jonathan Higginbotham. Anthony Pagano’s 3-run HR late in the game secured the win for Atascocita. Park pitched a complete game shut out in Atascocita’s 5-0 win, forcing a must-win Game 3 at home for Atascocita. The Eagles lost Game 3, 6-3, the Eagle offense couldn’t find a rhythm as they trailed the whole game. It was a great season for the Eagles as they finished their season with a district record of 6-6 and an overall record of 17-15.
Written by: Gabe Henderson