Last year, Stephenville needed a late push just to secure a playoff spot from District 7-3A.
Everyone knows what followed - a historic run to the Region I final.
This time, the Yellow Jackets are taking a different path toward the playoffs - that of district frontrunner.
Stephenville (9-4-1, 3-0) remained unbeaten in 7-3A Tuesday night with a 4-1 victory at Venus, keyed by Brock Morrison's strong six-inning effort from the mound.
The Yellow Jackets scored all their runs in the first inning before a pitcher's duel unfolded the rest of the way.
Morrison allowed just a run on three hits while striking out five and walking one. The junior improved to 2-0 in league starts, allowing just one run through a combined 11 innings.
Morrison was relieved by Arizona State pledge Maddux Conger, who struck out the side while yielding one hit in the seventh. The junior was awarded the save.
Hayden Stanford settled in after a rough start for Venus. He allowed only the four first-inning runs and just four hits in six innings. Stanford set nine Jacket hitters down on strikes but also walked four.
But the first was enough for the Jackets. A double by Noah Hobbs brought Morrison and Conger across the plate before Bullard tripled to bring in Hobbs, highlighting the big first frame that had Morrison pitching from ahead all night.
Conger was 2-for-3 with a walk from the plate and Josh Bulla had three of the team's six stolen bases.
Stephenville returns home for a league game against Hillsboro on Friday. First pitch is set for 7:30.