May is here--and that means one thing to the HHS Mustang Baseball program--WIN THE LAST GAME

The Junior Varsity baseball team Coached by Tom Kliman, Rob Bullough, and Zach Weaks have now won back to back Regional titles in the last two years. The JV finished the season going 29-8 proving once again why Houston refers to their baseball Program as “The Program of Excellence.”

The Varsity played their usual rigorous regular season schedule and are 20-16. However, post season has arrived and the Stangs are 2-0 as they continue on their quest to get back to the state tournament for the third time in 4 years. HHS are the district tournament host and play Collierville At Bill Avant field Monday, May 8th in the winners bracket final. The loser will play Germantown in an elimination game Tuesday, May 9th.

The winner of the Monday game advances to the Championship game on Wednesday, May 10th at 4:30 and awaits the winner of the elimination game.

"You basically have to win 3 games to advance to the state tournament. We have to win one of the next two games on Monday or Tuesday, and then we have to win again on Friday May, 19th,” explains Coach Day.

The team offense is lead by lead off hitter Terrell Tatum. The North Carolina State signnee is undoubtably one of the best players in the State. His .440 batting average and 5 homeruns is as good as it gets for a player playing this quality of competition day in and day out.

“There is a reason why Terrell will be considered in this years June draft. MLB Scouts rave about his arm speed and bat. All we rave about is his character and what kind of a kid he is. He shows up everyday with positive energy and he makes his teammates better. And, watching him play is something you don’t get to see every year,” says Day.

The Mustangs are hitting .475 this post season.  Barrone Porter and Reid Withers are RBI leaders behind Tatum. While Junior Shane Ptacek, and sophomores Nathan Farmer and George Sala are all heating up just in time for a post season run.

The Pitching staff is deep.  Ace pitcher Grayson Kemp has been dominant! He is 3-0 vs CBHS alone and enters this post season with a 6-1 record. He has a wipeout breaking ball that he can throw for strikes at anytime which compliments his fastball that will be 86-88. Kemp can throw 90, but he understands how to pitch.

"He would rather focus on body control and pitching than how hard he throws," says Day. Austin Peay head coach Travis Jansen called him the other day and told him he would love him to be a part of their program. When Grayson was asked how the phone conversation went he said, “Recruiting is the least of my worries right now.  There are some big games I have to be focused on. Getting this program another state title is all I am focused on”.  

Juniors Matthew Reed, Andrew Peterson, Trevor Thorpe, Hudson Ross and veteran Senior Reid Blair all have the pitch ability to get it done. Coach McCarter says, “Being without last years ace Corey Wilson has been tough, and you talk about a winner and a great teammate. That guy has been with us everyday and he won’t be cleared to pitch until late summer".

When you talk about guys like Kemp, Reid Blair, and Matthew Reed you are talking about guys who have high level arms as far as velocity. "But, to get to where we need to be these guys need to pitch and not worry about their velocity and the good thing is that they understand this," continues McCarter.

Together, McCarter and Day came up with the Program of Excellence in 2005. "This goes way beyond the playing field," continues Coach Day.  "Yes we have had about a dozen guys who have played professional and at the big league level. But, as important we have more who are Doctors and Navy Seals and Army Rangers and teachers and coaches".

The most thrilling time is when they come visit us and our team. Day went on to say, "our average ACT score on the baseball team is well above the schools average which ranks in the top of the state. These guys are smart I mean they know the problems they miss on the ACT and Mac [McCarter] and I know the ones we got right. It's a great relationship we have with our guys though--we are here to teach them about being a good teammate, being a leader, and how to play the game. They teach us more than they think sometimes too.”

When asked about Coach McCarter heading into his 18th season as a head coach, Day just says, "We are continuing trying to keep building something special here. And we want the players who want to be apart of this with us to play here. Winning championships are things most kids have done. But saying you did it for your High School is something that is rare. All teams are capable but only one in each classification wins the last game."
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