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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Baseball Insider: Kennedale bears resemblance to 2011 state title team

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By Jarret Johnson
jmjohnson@star-telegram.com
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KENNEDALE ? The Kennedale baseball program started from the bottom in 1991 and has grown into one of the top Class 3A programs in Texas.
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The Wildcats, who won a state title in 2011, locked up their 18th consecutive postseason appearance Saturday and clinched at least a share of the District 6-3A crown on Tuesday. Kennedale (19-5, 8-1), the No. 8-ranked 3A team in Texas, can sew up the 6-3A title Friday with a win over Mineral Wells. {{more}}

Coach Jet Teague has been with the baseball program since the beginning, initially as an assistant in 1991 before taking over the reins the following season.
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?That first year was just tough, we had juniors and seniors who hadn?t played in three or four years and they were having trouble hitting the ball out of the infield or pitching strikes and, oh my gosh, playing defense was a whole new element to them,? Teague said. ?The one thing about the young men at Kennedale is they are going to keep going, they are going to keep trying and eventually in ?96 we were able to put together a team that was pretty solid.?
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The Wildcats advanced to the regional finals in their first playoff appearance in 1996 and have finished first or second in district play in all but one of the 18 seasons during the postseason streak.

Teague said the current squad stacks up with all of the previous playoff teams and even sees some similarities to the 2011 state title team.
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Saturday?s 13-11 victory over Fort Worth Castleberry not only clinched the playoff spot, but showed the competitiveness Teague admires about his athletes.
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The Wildcats entered the contest looking to avenge their only district loss of the season but gave up six runs in the top of the first. They could have hung their heads but instead answered with five runs of their own in the bottom of the first and eventually gutted out the win.
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?With this group they have a lot of heart, and sometimes they expect too much and put too much pressure on themselves,? Teague said. ?As far as competitiveness, they are on par. They remind me of the 2011 team and a lot of our playoff teams. They compete for everything, the kids buy into it, and they love it.?

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