Sweeney Foot and Ankle North Houston Team of the Week: The Woodlands Baseball

The Woodlands are state favorites

After reaching the UIL state semis a year ago, The Woodlands is back at it again on the diamond.

Leading the charge is legendary coach Ron Eastman, who was inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame a year ago. The Highlanders have state titles in 2000, 2006 and 2013 and were a two-step away from another last season.

The school has produced the likes of Pittsburgh Pirate opening-day starter Jameson Taillon and MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cards.

VYPE caught up with Eastman before the Highlanders’ game against College Park to pick the brain of one of the country’s sharpest baseball minds in our Sweeney Foot and Ankle Specialists North Houston Team of the Month feature.

VYPE: Looking back at guys like Taillon and Goldschmidt and the success they are having in MLB, what set them apart during their high school days?

 

EASTMAN: “Those guys were both quiet, high-character guys with great work ethics. Paul would stay after school and hit the weight room or the batting cages. He and his dad were always up here getting extra work on the weekends.

“We give a lot of responsibility to our POs (pitcher-only) during the fall. We don’t have many coaches out here during football season, so they are an extension of our coaching staff. J-Mo held people accountable with his actions and his teammates followed.”

VYPE: So, those guys were leaders of the past, who are the leaders in 2019?

 

EASTMAN: “Drew Romo has grown up a lot. He’s turned from a young phenom to a field general behind the plate. The experience with Team USA was invaluable for him.

“Will Swope (Texas) is a quiet guy but very respected in the locker room. Dylan McDowell (Wharton JC) isn’t a high-profile, major DI guy, but he walks the walk. He’s a hard-charging guy who has been that way for three years.

“To be successful, you have to be strong up the middle. With Drew at catcher, Swope on the mound and McDowell in center, that works to our advantage.”

VYPE: Pitching, hitting or defense… what is your strength right now?

 

EASTMAN: “We have five tremendous arms right now, so we are dominant on the mound. Our defense is getting better and our bats are coming around. We faced some elite pitching early in the season, so we struggled a little bit. That has paid off and we are getting the bats going.”

VYPE: Being the top power program in Houston, you are getting everyone’s best game. Is that good or bad?

 

EASTMAN: “I gave them shirts earlier this season with a big target on the back. I hadn’t done that since 2006. This is The Woodlands and we are going to get everyone’s ace.

“Baseball on the north side of Houston is so competitive. There are so many great teams and coaches. Joining the Klein schools in our district gets us battle-tested for the playoffs. Our first goal is to get into the postseason and the region is pretty tough, so our schedule and getting everyone’s best game really prepares us.”

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