With 10 seniors graduating from one of the most accomplished classes in school history, it seems the Eagles’ recent trend of deep playoff runs — having reached state and the Region III-2A final the last two seasons, respectively — may be coming to an end.
But even with a looming jump to Class 4A, Eagle head coach Chad Krempin strongly disagrees.
The Eagle junior varsity team has actually been more dominant than its varsity counterparts the last two seasons.
“Our JV the year before last was 32-1 and this year they were 30-1 or 31-1. They lost one one-run game,” Krempin said. “We outscored opponents in district by 200 runs. The JV that we had was unchallenged for the most part.”
Of course, junior varsity dominance doesn’t necessarily translate to varsity dominance.
But Krempin said many of his JV players already were capable of contributing on the varsity level this season.
“There were kids struggling in the playoffs where there’s no question there’s probably someone on the bench that could’ve came in and maybe even filled in that spot,” Krempin said.
As for the jump up in classification, this isn’t the first time Salado has played up.
The Eagles were in Class 3A in 2012, when this year’s seniors were sophomores, and they finished second behind Liberty Hill in a stiff 3A district.
Even in Class 2A the past two years, Salado has played many 3A opponents and been more than competitive.
“Lubbock Cooper’s in the (Class 3A) state tournament. We played them twice and more than held our own,” Krempin said.
“Beat them once and should’ve beat them if not for an unearned run.”
Thus, with the cupboard far from empty talent-wise and the Eagles having already proven they can compete against larger schools, Krempin is confident his team will be able to compete at the high level it’s competed at the past two years.
And for Salado, that means getting to, or close to, state.
“We can compete in 3A,” Krempin said, “and I expect us next year, the year after to go to Austin.”
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