Some think this spring’s Texas Association of Private and Parish Schools (TAPPS) Division 3 baseball playoffs are just a formality to the inevitable.

Just like last year, St. John Paul II Catholic High School and League City’s Bay Area Christian are set to meet in the semifinals. It’s a bit personal for both of them. Bay Area Christian, who won the state championship, defeated John Paul II 1-0, using close play to score the only point.

Many believe John Paul II has a chip on his shoulder in this contest, while Bay Area Christian wants a second consecutive crown.

There aren’t many potential flies in the soup, but the Pasadena-First Baptist Christian Academy has the chance to be one on Tuesday when the Warriors take on that same John Paul II team in New Braunfels for regional title.

Game time is 4 p.m.

“It’s going to be a big challenge playing with these guys,” longtime FBCA head coach David Turner said Monday.

Oh, but if the Warriors were to become that fly in the soup and spoil that anticipated state semifinal, the rewards would be great. They would clinch a berth in the TAPPS Division III quarterfinals, one step away from the semifinals and state finals at the University of Texas at Arlington May 17-21.

The semifinals are set for May 19 and the state title contest for May 20.

Turner expressed concern about John Paul II’s likely starting pitcher. He must be referring to senior Sam Kowalik, an all-state first-team pick last year and voted All-Tournament team.

Turner says his fastball was clocked in the mid-80s, making him one of the toughest pitchers in the state among private schools. On top of that, Kowalik compiled a .389 batting average last season, hitting two homers and finishing with 22 RBIs.

The Warriors have faced pitchers this season with that kind of zip on their fastball and FBCA hasn’t done well. Turner will be the first to state this fact.

There might be a need for the bunt ball, especially if the team is struggling against a strong pitcher. Turner loves his small ball and trying to reach the semis would be the best time to use it.

At 13-9-1, John Paul II lacks the fine record he had in 2021 when the Guardians went 23-7-1. They’ll bring a nine-game winning streak to Tuesday’s game, which tells you how hard they struggled in February and March. The team had a bye last week.

Ryan Towe will likely be FBCA’s starter on the mound. Towe pitched last Thursday, but with the game only lasting three innings against Austin Veritas Academy, Towe’s pitch count wasn’t an issue.

Towe has decent speed on his fastball, but it’s probably not on par with Kowalik.

He will need his best game of the season, as will the defense if the Warriors are to spoil this long-awaited contest that almost everyone expects.

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