The 2002 Baseball Season promises to be an exciting one as the Eagles attempt to top last year's District Champion and Regional Quarterfinalist team. The Eagles finished last season 24-6 (13-1 district record) and return 4 lettermen that will need to lead the way with a very difficult preseason schedule. The Eagles will participate in the Baylor Sportscare Classic Feb. 21-23, which boasts some of the top teams from the D/FW Metroplex including Coppell, Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine, defending 4A state champion FW Western Hills, as well as 5A preseason #10 Lubbock Monterey. The Eagles, along with Burleson and Cleburne, will host the Louisville Slugger/Sports City Tournament Feb. 28 - Mar. 1. The Eagles will participate in the Arlington Heights' tournament March 7-9. In the Heights' Tournament the Eagles again will face some of the D/FW's best teams in Weatherford, Lewisville, and Arlington Heights.
After playing a very difficult preseason schedule,the Eagles should battle in district play with favorites Cleburne and Burleson. The Eagles took some big hits from a team that made the regional quarterfinals a year ago. However, the Eagles should be favored mainly due to the return of first-team all-state pitcher Greg Erickson and District 8-4A MVP and first team all-area Albert Carrizales. Carrizales will join Erickson on the mound that should provide Crowley with one of the best pitching staffs in the area. The two leaders of the team will be joined by returning starter Damon Miller, pitcher Terry Hughes and a group of newcomers that are ready to help Crowley reload for another playoff run.
Every team in 8-4A should have an opportunity to compete for the play-off spots, but Burleson and Cleburne seem to have the early edge. Cleburne gets the nod over the remaining teams as the Yellowjackts return almost everybody from last year's area finalist team, including first team all-district pick Butch Edy. Catcher Jason Smith is Cleburne's top returning hitter and has a strong arm behind the plate. Burleson lost all but two starters from a team that was eliminated from the 2001 playoffs in three games by the eventual state champion FW Western Hills. The Elks will be led by Kyle Morrison at 3B and Justin Parks at SS. North Crowley looks to build on a 11-14 season with the return of Nick Twist at 1B, Cody Brown at 2B and solid JV and Freshman teams. Granbury, the only team to defeat the Eagles in 2001 district play, returns 2B Jessie Schuerg. Schuerg provides a good bat (.390) and a solid glove in the field. The Pirates, along with Stephenville, Brownwood and Joshua, need to fill several positions early in the season in order to compete with the Eagles, Yellowjackets and Elks for a playoff run this season.
Even with strong competition and the loss of several key players, Crowley looks to ride the leadership of their top returnees and veteran pitching staff to represent District 8-4A again in the 2002 playoffs.