If there's one thing about the Cypress Ranch Mustangs, they don't mess around. Established in 2008, Cypress Ranch captured its first Texas Class 5A state baseball championship in just its third varsity season in 2012.
After a 31-6 finish and a loss in the Region III final in 2013, Cypress Ranch opens the 2014 season with a wealth of returning talent and a No. 3 ranking in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Preseason National Baseball Rankings.
MaxPreps will conclude its countdown of the top baseball teams in the nation on Feb. 21 when it announces the preseason Top 100. See the Top 10 teams landing page here
The Mustangs won District 17-5A with a 16-1 record and return seven players who earned some type of all-district honor, including three all-state players. Despite the wealth of returning talent, John Pope, the only head coach the Mustangs have ever had, understates his team's prospects for the season.
"We should be competitive if we can stay healthy," he said.
Leading the way is Corbin Martin, the District MVP who posted an 11-1 record with 96 strikeouts. The Texas A&M commit was a third team all-state pitcher last season and he also batted .321 with four home runs last year. He plays in center field when he is not on the mound.
Martin had three fellow teammates on the all-district first team, including Derek Dickerson, Bryce Johnson and Chase Spears. Dickerson, a second team all-state pick at catcher, was a heavy hitter for the Mustangs last year with nine home runs and a .407 average. He has committed to play at Houston.
Meanwhile Johnson, a second team all-state outfielder, batted .434 with eight doubles while Spears batted .289 with 10 doubles and two home runs as the team's designated hitter.
Cypress Ranch also has Dalton Stark returning in the outfield with Johnson. Stark, who will play at Texas Tech next year, joins Dickerson as one of the team's top power hitters with seven home runs and a .351 average.
The infield appears solid with Sam Houston State commit Ryan Leftwich returning at shortstop, Tyler DeLeon at third base and Carey Jones at first base. Leftwich and DeLeon each earned all-district honorable mention honors.
Riley Gossett, who was 3-0 without allowing an earned run as a sophomore, joins Martin in the starting rotation. Newcomer Sean Hudson, a junior, will also join the staff.View a gallery of the Cypress Ranch preseason photo shoot