Prep Baseball Report

2024 Team Preview: JJ Pearce Mustangs

Prep Baseball Texas Staff

The 2024 Texas high school baseball season is quickly approaching and, as usual, excitement is abound throughout the state. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season and, as is the case each year, there are some very talented players and teams across Texas.

Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in Austin at the UIL State Tournament in June, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams across Texas. We will take you right up to first pitch this season with these team previews, eventually releasing our Preseason Power 30 rankings that’ll carry us into the opening week of action.

Please keep checking back throughout the season as we will be your one-stop shop for everything related to high school baseball across the state. Each week we will be releasing our Players of the Week and updating the Power 30 rankings.

Our 2024 preseason coverage continues today.

High School: JJ Pearce Mustangs
Head Coach: Justin Roland
UIL Classification: UIL Class 6A (District 7)
Team Strengths: Pitching and Defense
2023 Record (Playoff Finish): 21-14 (6A Area Finalists)
Key Players Lost: Garrett Schroeder



+ LHP/1B AJ Ripley (2024; McLennan JC) - First Team All-District

*2024 AJ Ripley*

+ LHP Carson Bailey (2024; Baylor)
+ RHP Degan Kubat (2024; Navarro JC) - Second Team All-District
+ INF Vince Villegas (2024; Dodge City CC) - First Team All-District
+ INF Rhett Sawyer (2024; Merchant Marine)
+ 1B/OF Tyler Sessions (2024; uncommitted) - Second Team All-District
+ OF/INF Levi Rozenblum (2024; uncommitted) - First Team All-District
+ INF/RHP Natanael Melendez (2024; uncommitted)
+ OF Jewls Thomoas-Roberts (2024; uncommitted)


+ LHP/OF Brayden Stout (2024; uncommitted)
+ INF Nate Kinder (2026)
+ C/INF Brody Ross (2026)
+ CIF/OF Nash Hornberger (2026)

*2026 Nash Hornberger*

+ C/CIF Duece Hernandez (2027)


+ C/CIF Duece Hernandez (2027)
+ INF Brooks Hale (2027)
+ UTL/RHP Ty Henkel (2027)


The JJ Pearce Mustangs and Coach Justin Roland bring back an intriguing squad for the 2024 season that includes five players who earned All-District honors last year. The Mustangs expect their strengths in 2024 to be their pitching and defense behind five guys committed to playing at the college level after the spring.

Headlining this year’s group are the one-two punch on the mound for the Mustangs in LHP/1B AJ Ripley (2024; McLennan JC) and LHP Carson Bailey (2024; Baylor). Both southpaws are currently ranked among the best in the state for the 2024 class with Bailey being ranked No. 71, and Ripley being ranked No. 106 respectively. We actually got a look at Ripley last night in Pearce’s scrimmage against Burleson Centennial, where he displayed pitchability and a feel for the zone with all three offerings. He ran the fastball in the 87-89 mph range, while tossing in a sharp curve that had depth at 75-76 mph, and rounding out his pitch-mix with an 80-81 mph change. Additionally, Ripley was First Team All-District in 2023.

Not to be forgotten among the talented pitching the Mustangs return is hard-throwing Navarro JC signee, RHP Degan Kubat (2024), who earned Second Team All-District in 2023 and is another player our staff is familiar with after standing out at our State Games last fall. At the event, Kubat showed a big fastball working 89-92 mph with life at the top of the zone, and two different breaking balls with his slider sitting in the mid to upper-70’s and his curveball sitting in the low-70’s. Kubat rounds out his mix with a changeup that showed potential in our last look as well.

Elsewhere in the senior class, the Mustangs bring back three All-District players from 2023 in INF Vince Villegas (Dodge City CC - 1st Team), 1B/OF Tyler Sessions (uncommitted - 2nd Team), and OF/INF Levi Rozenblum (uncommitted - 1st Team). Also returning for Pearce within the senior class is INF Rhett Sawyer (Merchant Marine), INF/RHP Natanael Melendez (uncommitted), and OF Jewls Thomoas-Roberts (uncommitted). Look for two-way senior LHP/OF Brayden Stout (uncommitted) to make an impact on varsity this season as well.

There will be some underclassmen to keep tabs on this season as they join the Mustangs’ varsity squad in 2024 in INF Nate Kinder (2026), C/INF Brody Ross (2026), CIF/OF Nash Hornberger (2026), and C/CIF Duece Hernandez (2027). Two additional freshmen will be worth monitoring for the next few seasons as well with INF Brooks Hale and UTL/RHP Ty Henkel looking to be potential building blocks for the program starting this spring.

The Mustangs look to have the pieces to be a strong team among the state’s 6A class entering the spring. Look for the Mustangs to make noise all season and potentially in the postseason as well with their pitching and defense. We will get a closer look at the Mustangs program in two weeks when we kick off our PBR Texas Invitational taking place on February 29th through March 2nd.

Find more information on the 2024 JJ Pearce Mustangs program below:

+ <<2024 Schedule>>
+ Follow JJ Pearce on X: @jjphsbaseball
+ Prep Baseball Texas, Power 30 Homepage

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