It’s that time again, my favorite time – for high school baseball where Orange County has the best to offer. No matter which park you go to, you are in for some entertaining ball. This year could be a very good one for our five area teams. 

Over at Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Coach Griff has a lot of work to do. After a second-place finish in district last year and a nice playoff run, graduation has hit hard, but never count the Bears and Griff out. He will put a competitive team on the diamond. Along with ace pitcher Shane Waddell, Scott Vaughan, Brandon Landry, Hunter Gonzalez Jr. and others, they should compete for a playoff spot once again. They always find a way to get it done. LC-M will scrimmage Kelly at home Feb. 9 starting at 5 p.m.

In Pirate land, hopes are high once again. Placing fourth in a hard 4A district and a bi-district loss to Barbers Hill, Coach Green’s Pirates should be much more seasoned and poised to make a better run in the playoffs. With Trey Hester back for his senior year and a more experienced team behind him, look for the Pirates to make a lot of noise. The Pirates will scrimmage Jasper Feb. 9 in Jasper starting at 4 p.m.

There’s a lot of talk going around this year about the Cardinals of Bridge City. The talk is they may not take home the district crown. Second year Coach Chad Landry has several holes to fill after a 26-7-1 year and a regional semifinals loss to Spring Hill. Whatever the case, the crown stays in Bridge City until someone takes it away and that will not be easy. With four returning starters, Matt Hicks, Luke Rhodes, Joe Robertson and Dylan Mulhollan along with Forrest Zoch, Cameron Dishon and Matt Menard and several other young ones coming up, the Cardinals will battle for the crown once again. As always, Bridge City does not rebuild, they just reload. The Cardinals will travel to Nederland to take on the Bulldogs Feb. 9 at 5 p.m.

You don’t have to travel far to see who everyone is talking about. Five miles down the road is Bridge City’s cross town rival, the Orangefield Bobcats. Coach Bennett and the Bobcats are preparing for an exciting year. The Bobcats had a 23-11 season including a loss to the Cardinals in the Regional Quarterfinals (Orangefield took one of the three games). Coach Bennett returns eight starters: Jacob Felts, Jace Statum, Derrick Evans, Quinton Evan, Chase Angelle, Jonathan DeRamus, Brock Whitson and Josh Watson. Add Kyle Fontenot and new comer Corey Huckabay to the experienced Bobcat team, they will be shooting for the district crown and a long playoff run. Orangefield will visit Liberty for their first scrimmage Feb. 9 starting at 5 p.m.

The Orangefield Bobcats are not the only team returning a lot of starters. Baseball is back in Mustang territory. Going 11-13 in 2009, second year Coach Jessie Riojas returns nine starters: Clayton Gearhart, Zane Anderson, Taylor Turley, Jordan Darnall, Justin Sparrow, Darius Mitchell, Van Jordan, James Thomas and Zach Drouillard. The Mustangs surprised a lot of teams last year. The surprise factor is gone for this year, but get ready, West Orange is for real. WO-S will travel to Kirbyville Feb. 9 for their scrimmage with the varsity starting around 7 p.m.

It will be a fun year for our area baseball. Let’s aim high. I would like to see all of Orange County play extra baseball. It’s not out of reach. It could happen. Pick a park, any park. Come and see these young men play. Hope to see you there.