As we draw to the end of another year that was filled with some great baseball across the great State of Texas, it is time that we reflect on some of the greatest moments of the 2021 season in the first annual State of Texas Baseball Address. In the final part of this series, we will look at some Independent, Texas Collegiate and High School teams across the State.
Suppose you have not experienced Independent Baseball, or Indy Ball as most would call it. In that case, you need not look any further than the Cleburne Railroaders (54-46) of the American Association of Professional Baseball League. Founded in 1906, the Railroaders are Texas’ oldest independent baseball team.
As for the 2021 season, the Railroaders were able to get back to action, filling The Depot full of baseball fans ready to cheer on their team. The Railroaders made it to the postseason for the first time in franchise history in 2021. Finishing second in the South Division, the Railroaders faced off at home against division foe, Sioux City Explorers.
A one-game play-in game, the two teams squared off looking to advance to the next round. The Railroaders would end their season as the Explorers blank the Railroaders 4-0 to advance to the South Division Championship Series. Although the season did not end with a championship, the Railroaders have much to build on for next season.
Texas Collegiate League
The Texas Collegiate League returned for its 17th season in 2021. A summer league geared towards showcasing some of the nation’s top college baseball players, the TCL provides a small town, minor league atmosphere that is full of commitment and emotions all summer long.
Six teams were in the TCL this season between Texas and Louisiana. The Acadiana Cane Cutters, Amarillo Sod Squad, Baton Rouge Rougarou, Brazos Valley Bombers, San Antonio Flying Chanclas, and Victoria Generals all squared off in a compacted, 42-game season.
At the season’s end, only four teams remained for a chance to compete for the TCL Championship. In the semi-final round, a best of two series, the Flying Chanclas faced the Bombers in the first series, and the Generals met the Cane Cutters in the second series.
The Flying Chanclas dominated the first semi-final series as they were able to sweep (2-0) the Bombers to advance to the TCL Championship game for the first time in team history. In the second series, the Generals needed all three games (2-1) but were able to defeat the Cane Cutters and return to the TCL Championship game for the third time in team history.
In a one-game, the winner takes all to determine the TCL Champion, the Flying Chanclas, and the Generals were in a pitcher’s duel until the bottom of the fifth inning. The Flying Chanclas were able to get the offense going in the later innings as they would go on to blank the Generals 8-0 to secure their first TCL Championship.
Texas High School
There is nothing better than watching some of the best high school programs compete for a UIL/TAPPS State Championships in Texas. Congratulations to all of the state champions:
- 1A – Fayetteville
- 2A – New Deal
- 3A – Malakoff
- 4A – Texarkana Pleasant Grove
- 5A – Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill
- 6A – Rockwall Heath
- TAPPS Divison 1 – Midland Christian
- TAPPS Divison 2 – Lutheran South
- TAPPS Divison 3 – Bay Area Christian
- TAPPS Divison 4 – Midland Classical Academy
- TAPPS Divison 5 – Weatherford Christian
It was a great year for baseball in Texas. With 2021 coming to an end, we can only sit back and reflect on all of the baseball played this season. Some teams found success, and others have something to build on as we head into the New Year, but being able to share their accomplishments has been a lot of fun. Baseball will be here before you know it, but until then, keep that baseball glove ready!
Main Image Credit
Photo by Joe Mock, BaseballParks.com