The sun has risen and set a few times since the Clear Lake baseball team last made the playoffs.
In fact, you’ll have to travel back to 2014 to find out about the Falcons’ last postseason appearance.
Not exactly a comforting thought, considering that four teams qualify in District 24-6A of seven schools.
Still, the 2023 Clear Lake squad is at least raising a few eyebrows.
Under fourth-year head coach Josh Bromberg, the Falcons produced a 14-3-2 non-district record, and Clear Lake will pursue a 24-6A title starting next week when they face two-time rival Clear Creek .
The Falcons almost made sure to end a streak of nine consecutive losing seasons.
Bromberg keeps his cool when discussing what has happened so far and what lies ahead for the Falcons.
“When we do things consistently, we’re pretty good at it,” Bromberg said. “Our success so far is a combination of a few things.
“One, I think, is just playing with confidence. I think it goes back to last year, when we won five of our last eight games, and the momentum has come this season.”
Like everything else, Bromberg brought stability to Clear Lake. As of 2012, Bromberg is Clear Lake’s fifth head coach, but he’s stuck with the program, weathered his growing pains and is putting his stamp on the program.
Bromberg’s first season (2020) was COVID-shortened and Clear Lake produced a 2-10-1 record. Tough 8-20 and 7-20 seasons followed before the Falcons turned the tide this year.
“The pitching staff was a huge boost,” Bromberg said. “Last year, we struggled at times to launch strikes and get out.
“This year, we’re really deep. We have a couple freshmen (Evan Mihaly and Preston Sommerville) along with junior Jake Buyajian and seniors Brayden Watson and Diego Guido. We have 11 guys that we can field at any time.
Although Clear Lake hasn’t played a ton of heavyweights in non-district play, the Falcons have notable wins over Bellaire, Atascocita, and the North Shore. Wins against that trio can boost confidence instantly.
“I feel if you’re playing beat the world every single game, it’s hard to put yourself out there,” Bromberg said. “I think we played a good mix of Class 5A and Class 6A teams.
Clear Lake also employed a few mantras: “Rise Up,” “Rent’s Due,” and “Why Not Us?” Strengthening each of those helped get the Falcons to where they are today.
“The last two district champions in 24-6A came out of nowhere,” Bromberg said. “Then why not us? It’s time for us to stop renting.
Due to the odd number of teams in District 24-6A, Clear Lake was granted the open date earlier this week in the district’s season.
“It gives us a chance to stop and refresh ourselves, and also a chance to see other teams play,” Bromberg said. “When I saw the show, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, and I guess only time will tell.”
Bromberg is blessed with 14 returning literati, including a wealth of early talent.
“We’re pretty close to starting nine,” he said. “Most of the time we start seven returning players and we’ve had nine experienced guys start a couple of times.
“Last year we had some injuries that slowed us down. We hope we can stay healthy this year.
With the district contest looming, Bromberg knows his team cannot squander opportunities.
“I think this year will be air combat,” he said. “Last year, a couple of teams broke away from the pack.
“I think everyone will be around that seven, eight or nine win range.”
Clear Lake, which is 6-1-1 in its last eight games, plays against Lamar Consolidated on Saturday before starting its 24-6A schedule.
“There are always some things you can clean up,” Bromberg said. “We’re not the kind of team that can just show up and beat people up. We have to present ourselves with the right mentality. We have to play consistently and cleanly, and good things will happen.
“We are finding ways to win and we have to keep doing it.”