SJ Baseball Wrap-Up
Evan Keimig ’16
The 2015 season was a very trying and triumphant year for the Strake Jesuit varsity baseball team. The Crusaders fell into a slump in the middle of the district schedule, finding themselves sitting at 5-6 after a loss to Seven Lakes with three games remaining to try to make the playoffs. Great pitching and timely hitting came at the right moment, and the Crusaders won their final three district games to earn a tie for the third seed in the UIL 19-6A district. The three game win streak to end the district season included a 6-1 win at Katy (marking the first time Jesuit has beaten Katy varsity baseball in school history) and a no-hitter from Tyler Polasek on senior night vs. Mayde Creek to lock up a playoff appearance.
The Crusaders finished the district season at 8-6, then dropped an extra-inning thriller againstKaty which slotted Jesuit in the fourth seed entering the playoffs. Of course, the Crusaders were then matched up against the rival Westside Wolves for the bi-district round games played May 7-9. Jesuit entered the series with the intention of avenging a 2014 playoff loss at the hands of Westside, also in the bi-district round. Game one of the 2015 bi-district series was a fantastic win for the Crusaders, ending with a score of 5-3 and putting the team just one win away from the next round. Senior pitchers Stephen Price and Timmy Mashinski both had excellent appearances on the mound, and Junior Zach Zubia smacked an enormous three-run home run to give the Crusaders the win.
Unfortunately, the following two games were not as successful for the Crusaders. On Friday, Tyler Polasek pitched 7 2/3 solid innings before Westside broke the tie and won on an extra-inning walk off base hit. Saturday’s game was another gut-wrenching battle, with Timmy Mashinski earning the start (pitching for the third time in three days) and Hunter Witte coming in relief to keep the Wolves at 6 runs. However, Zach Zubia’s second home run of the series was not enough to keep up with Westside as the Crusaders fell 6-5, ending a productive season.
I interviewed Senior pitcher Timmy Mashinski and Junior first-baseman Zach Zubia about their experiences over the course of the three-month season. When asked about the chemistry of the players, Mashinski said, “Most baseball teams are accustomed to spending a lot of time together. However, this year we went beyond expectations and hung out whenever we could, even though we all live in different areas of Houston”. Mashinski was also very proud of the way the team performed in the playoff series, “I would say the first game we performed “perfectly”: we executed in all aspects of the game. The last two games we played amazing baseball as well, but it’s tough to beat a top five team in Texas like Westside when a mistake or two is made.” Zubia mentioned how memorable this season was for him and his teammates, but also knows that next year’s team has the potential to have similar success, “Next year will be a younger team, and that makes me excited for the future. Not only for next year’s team, but for the program in years to come.”
Zach spoke highly of the Crusaders’ success in bringing the playoffs to Jesuit baseball for back-to-back seasons and had this to say about 2015, “My favorite memory is obviously our playoff win. As a sophomore, I did not win a playoff game and winning one was a dream come true.”
The 2015 baseball Crusaders finished with 18 wins and 12 losses, winning 60 percent of their games. The team earned significant wins over many good teams, including St. Thomas, Bellaire, Memorial, and Tomball. Several seniors from this year’s roster will be heading to college to continue their baseball careers:
Coll Stanley – Texas A&M University
Stephen Price – Loyola University New Orleans
Sammy Blackman – Spring Hill College
Tyler Polasek – Southwestern University