After 49 years, the 1968 Highlands Owls still stand alone as the only San Antonio high school baseball team to win a state championship in the University Interscholastic League’s largest classification.
Deer Park beat Reagan 7-2 in the Class 6A state final on Saturday before a crowd of 4,561 at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, extending the Alamo City’s championship drought in any classification to 36 years.
South San West Campus won state in 4A, then the UIL’s second-largest classification, in 1981. The loss was the second in four years in the state finals for the Rattlers (31-9). Reagan fell to Flower Mound 10-0 in the 5A title game in 2014. That game was stopped in the fifth inning because of the 10-run rule.
Three seniors on this year’s Rattlers team – center fielder Cade Bormet, shortstop Ramon Garza, and pitcher Jake Hoggatt – were on the varsity as freshmen in 2014. Bormet, who has signed with Missouri, was a starting left fielder throughout the season.
The state championship is the first for Deer Park (35-8-1) in four state-tournament appearances.
Reagan lost decisively despite pounding out 11 hits, including three each by Porter Brown and Hilton Brown. The Deer finished with 10 hits, two by winning pitcher Clay Aguilar. Adrian Gonzales, who relieved Aguilar with one out in the fifth inning, retired all eight batters he faced and finished with four strikeouts. Gonzales was voted MVP of the championship game.
Losing pitcher Cal Carver gave up six runs in five innings.
The Deer, who never trailed, scored two runs in the second inning and led 3-0 at the end of the third. They broke the game open with three runs at the top of the fourth. The Rattlers finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth, cutting the deficit to 6-1 and pushed another run across the plate in the fifth.
After a scoreless sixth inning, Deer Park scored one more run at the top of the seventh.
Reagan beat Round Rock 7-1 in the semifinals Friday night, becoming the third San Antonio team in four years to reach the title game in the UIL’s largest classification. Johnson, which is in the North East ISD with Reagan, lost in last year’s 6A final.
The Rattlers swept district rival Churchill in the Region IV finals last week to earn its second berth in the state tournament. Reagan went into the state final with an eight-game winning streak.
“Regardless of what happens in Round Rock, we’ve had a great season,” Reagan coach Chans Chapman said Thursday before the Rattlers’ last workout of the season. “This was a great bunch to coach. I’m going to remember how hard they played and the friendships that they had.”
South San ranks as the most successful program in San Antonio history. The Bobcats won seven state championships in 10 years, from 1958-67, under legendary coach Cliff Gustafson. South San reigned supreme in Class 3A, then the UIL’s second-largest classification.
Since 1968, five Alamo City schools have reached the state finals a combined eight times in the UIL's largest classification .The other three besides Reagan and Johnson are South San (1975, 1976, 1992), Roosevelt (1980) and MacArthur (1987).