Cody Vannoy was the only player on the Rouse baseball team this year with playoff experience.
The junior transferred to the Raiders from Summit Christian Academy before this season. Vannoy helped lead the team from the basement of the district standings to District 19-5A champions and a third round playoff appearance. He was named district MVP after finishing the regular season with a stellar .391 average.
“It’s unreal,” he said. “It wasn’t one of my goals coming on the new team at the beginning of the year. I started at bottom of the lineup at the beginning of the year and worked my way up. The team put me in so many great positions.”
Last year at Summit Christian, Vannoy helped the Eagles win their first playoff game in school history. While he still respected the role the seniors at Rouse played, that postseason experience was still valuable.
Rouse used the three-game series’ to beat Waller and Bryan in the first and second rounds, respectively. The Raiders ran into perennial state power Brenham in the third round and dropped two straight games against the Cubs.
Coach Chad Krempin told the team he hoped to win 20 games and compete for a district title at the beginning of the year, a far cry from a year ago when Rouse failed to win a district game.
“Coach Krempin set some high standards when he came in,” Vannoy said. “We just went for it and went all in.”
In addition to Vannoy collecting MVP honors, senior starting pitcher Devin Tucker was named Pitcher of the Year and Dalton Porter was the Newcomer of the Year. All three athletes were on the first team as well.
“(Vannoy) throws well and you really have to think about running on him because most of the time his ball is going to be on time,” Krempin said. “It means so much when you have a good catcher. He’s such a class kid that other kids feed off him.
“Tucker fights and battles and has fun. He understands the game and os savvy. He doesn’t get frustrated at things that could frustrate him. He’s the kind of guy every team that’s any good has to have.”
Jared Southard, Matt Garza, Devin Hooper, Mike Vazquez, and Hayden Thomas were all named to the second team. Grant Foreman, Robby Ramos, Jackson Glenn, Danny O’Donnell, and Cooper Ligon received honorable mention honors.
Tucker and Garza will represent the Raiders at the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game beginning at 1 p.m. on June 17 at Dell Diamond.
Both Tucker and Garza said this team will be remembered as being the first hugely successful team at the school. But in addition to the winning, the connections made are the memories that will last even longer.
“I know what my team is capable of,” Tucker said. “We’ve always been capable of it. It’s tough seeing all these guys and not knowing if I’ll be able to play with them again. I had fun playing the game. Those are the moments I’ll never forget.”
Before the season started, Rouse was tabbed to finish at or near the bottom of the district. That didn’t matter and just about every goal the Raiders set for themselves, they accomplished.
Next season will be a different story. Despite losing 10 seniors, five of which were named to all-district teams, expectations will be sky high and every team will give them their best performance.
“The connections and what we accomplished this year stand out most,” Vannoy said. “It’s never been done in school history. Just the legacy this team has, it’s hopefully moved the program forward. Next year, we’ll have a target on our back.”