Jonathan Mayo

The Woodlands trying to live up to past

CARY, N.C. -- The 2006 edition of The Woodlands baseball team went 38-1 and was the No. 1 team in the country, according to Baseball America. That team featured 2006 first-rounder Kyle Drabek and Paul Goldschmidt, who went on to Texas State before becoming an eighth-rounder in 2009.

This year's version of the Texas high school is off to a very similar start, going 20-0, including an opening-round win on Thursday morning against Jenks High School (Oklahoma) at the National High School Invitational, and taking over the top spot in BA's rankings. It's leading to the obvious comparisons.

"There is a great team chemistry with this group, just like in '06," head coach Ron Eastman said. "They've really come together. We have some outstanding players, like Ryan [Burnett], and some of the other guys who've signed D1 scholarships, but there are no egos. This group, just like in '06, it's a total team effort. That's the best comparison right there. We're getting outstanding pitching just like we did in '06, but the team aspect is tremendous this year."

The pitching isn't quite Drabek and Steven Maxwell, the No. 2 starter on that 2006 team who went on to Texas Christian University, but it was plenty good enough on Thursday morning. Lefty Burnett is this year's ace and while he doesn't have the Draft profile of a Drabek or 2010 first-rounder Jameson Taillon, he is committed to TCU. He went the distance against Jenks, allowing just one unearned run over seven innings on two hits and two walks while striking out eight.

Burnett threw his fastball in the 88-89 mph range for most of the game with a decent breaking ball. When the seventh inning came around, he had a little more in the tank, hitting 91 mph to finish off Jenks.

"My adrenaline was going," Burnett said. "I wanted to finish it. My fastball was working, so I just stuck with it."

"He's actually been doing that the whole season," Eastman said. "He will find another gear at the end of the game to finish it. He seems to get stronger in the sixth and the seventh."

Burnett is one of five players on The Woodlands roster with Division I commitments and while none will hear their names called in the first round, as Taillon and Drabek (No. 18 overall) did, the lefty is well aware of following in those famous alumni's footsteps.

"It's definitely motivation for me because I want to be as good as them," Burnett said. "It's an honor to be behind Jamo and Drabek and Bryan Brickhouse (2011 third-round pick of the Royals) and all of them."

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for and writes a blog, B3. Follow