By MIKE LEE (Special to Big Country Preps)
GOLDTHWAITE — One of the first things Kofi Amponsah did after moving 6,500 miles from Ghana, Africa, to Goldthwaite was buy a heavy coat.
“Where I lived, it was never too hot or never too cold. You could go swimming at the beach the whole year round,” said Amponsah, who moved to Texas in the seventh grade after living in Accra, the capital city of Ghana located near the equator where annual temperatures fluctuate only from 78-85 degrees
“When I got here (Goldthwaite) it was in January. I was instantly cold. I could not feel any part of my body. We had to go to Walmart and buy a huge coat.”
WEATHERFORD — The Abilene High baseball team snapped a four-game losing streak Friday, using a five-run sixth inning to erase a one-run deficit in a 7-3 win over Weatherford.
After holding a 2-1 lead through the fourth inning and seeing a two-run Kangaroo fifth put them in a 3-2 hole, the Eagles bunched four hits and two walks together in the pivotal sixth inning to rally for the skid-stopping victory.
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Kaylen Washington tossed a six-inning one-hitter and hit a sixth-inning grand slam Friday to lead the Abilene High Lady Eagles to a 14-0 win over North Richland Hills Richland.
Leading 7-0 after five innings, AHS exploded for seven runs in the sixth to put the 10-run rule into effect. The victory improved the Lady Eagles’ record to 18-1-2 overall and 7-0 in District 3-6A play.
That saying was proven true by both the Wylie and Cooper softball teams on Friday afternoon in a District 4-5A matchup at Bulldog Field — one that marked the first regular season matchup between the two schools ever.
ALBANY — A troublesome first inning and a late unearned run were all that separated area rivals Hawley and Albany in Friday’s District 8-2A showdown at AHS.
Hawley’s Dylan Frazier outdueled Albany’s Ben West in a 3-2 win for the Bearcats, who gradually built a 3-0 lead before surviving a seventh-inning rally by the Lions.
Kolter Willeford with 1 for 2 with a walk, a sacrifice and two RBIs and Robert Ybarra plated two runs to lead Hawley, which managed to pull off the win despite charting only four hits.
Cooper junior Braiden Hill has a lot of physical tools that make him a successful starting pitcher. He’s big, he throws hard and he’s got a good second pitch he can turn to when that fastball’s not going quite where he wants it to.
But it’s Hill’s mentality that has taken him from a solid rotation piece for coach Cody Salyers last season to the unquestioned ace of the Cougar pitching staff this year.
The strong-armed right-hander believes he’s better than every batter he faces, and it’s his goal each at-bat to prove that.
After posting a 52-23 record in seven successful seasons at De Leon, coach David Yeager announced his decision last week to resign as the Bearcats football coach to more closely follow his son Kevin’s collegiate career at Incarnate Word.
This week, Yeager took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about what went into that decision and what the future holds for him and his family in this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.
Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss last week’s Big Country baseball and softball action and highlight the teams that are getting mentioned in statewide polls.
The Abilene High baseball team saw its losing streak hit four games Tuesday, suffering its third consecutive one-run loss in a 3-2 setback against Weatherford at Blackburn Field.
The Eagles rallied to score single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, tying the game at 2-2 with their second run, but the Kangaroos broke the tie in the ninth with what proved to be the game-winning run.
The Cooper softball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the seventh inning Tuesday to score a 3-2 walk-off win over Aledo and take over first place in the District 4-5A standings.
The Lady Cougars were no-hit through five innings and outhit 11-5 for the game, but they bunched four of those hits in the final inning, getting an RBI single from Kaleigha Kemp to tie the game and another from Jennika Willis to win it.
BRECKENRIDGE — The Breckenridge baseball team wasn’t supposed to be playing at home on Tuesday night, but the Buckaroos found themselves there anyway due to ongoing renovations at Boyd’s field.
Entering the night in a three-way tie with the Yellowjackets and Paradise for second place in District 7-3A, the Buckaroos turned to staff ace Owen Woodward to try and remain a game behind district leader Brock.
Woodward was magnificent in 6.2 shutout innings before being lifted due to pitch count limitations as the Buckaroos took a 2-0 win to move to 16-2 on the season and 4-1 in district play.
DE LEON — One inning made all the difference. A shot in the arm for De Leon. A disaster for Goldthwaite.
A seven-run second inning eruption pushed DHS to an important 8-6 win over the visiting Lady Eagles on Tuesday, giving De Leon (17-4, 6-1) a one-game lead over Goldthwaite (8-7, 5-2) for first place in District 9-2A.
Micaela Miller and Coral Sparger both had two hits and two RBIs and Kylea De La Torre was 3 for 4 with a double and a triple to lead De Leon, which built and early 7-1 lead before holding on for the win.
Braiden Hill tossed a gem on the mound and the Cooper lineup packed all of its offense into a third-inning outburst Tuesday to top Wichita Falls Rider 4-0 at Cougar Field.
Coach Cody Salyers’ squad turned four singles and an error into a 4-0 lead after three innings, which proved more than enough support for Hill, who tossed six shutout frames to help the Cougars (8-13 overall, 3-2 in district) take sole possession of second place in District 4-5A.
It was a big week for Comanche athletics, and our Big Country Preps Player of the Week column reflects it, beginning with our top spot.
Kendel Beck, a powerlifter in the 275-pound class, lands in this week’s spotlight after winning a Division 3 state championship over the weekend.
Beck, who along with fellow senior Kade Mercer (ninth place in 181-pound class) represented the Indians at the Taylor County Expo Center, won the 275-pound class with a three-lift total of 1,785 pounds.
This included a 700-pound squat, a 460-pound bench and a 625-pound dead lift.
“Great kid, great competitor,” coach Marty Wyatt said. “Truly an honor to coach him.”
WICHITA FALLS — The Wylie baseball team rebounded from Tuesday’s loss at Wichita Falls Rider with a blowout win in the same location Friday, blasting Wichita Falls High 10-0 at Hoskins Field.
Dash Albus and Brooks Gay combined for a two-hit shutout, and seven Bulldog players had at least one hit as Wylie improved to 8-5 overall and 2-2 in District 4-5A action.
An early 4-0 deficit proved too big a hole to climb out of for the Abilene High baseball team Friday, which saw a late rally come up short in a 4-3 loss to Hurst Bell at Blackburn Field.
The Eagles, who fell to 1-3 in District 3-6A play with the loss, scored two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to pull within a run heading into their final at-bat. But a double play erased a leadoff single in the seventh inning before AHS’ comeback hopes were officially dashed with a game-ending line out by Kallin Sipe.
CISCO — Even an unbeaten district leader is one good pitching performance away from being handed a loss.
Cisco nearly suffered that fate on Friday, when unheralded Bangs came to town and came within a run of toppling the district front-runners in a 3-2 win for the Loboes.
In this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast, Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood discuss the inaugural All-Big Country Preps boys and girls basketball teams, giving insight into the selection process and sharing their opinions the superlative award winners and first-tema selections.
To read more on this year’s selections, click the links below:
Following a basketball program on the surface can only provide one with so much insight. Behind the scenes, however, is where character is often measured. And it is with our Gym Rat Team that we wish to tip our caps to those individuals who exuded the most of it.
This team isn’t about who the best players are, though some of the area’s top players did make this list.
The Gym Rat team is about effort, discipline, toughness, coachability and selflessness — traits that coaches love above all else and that championship foundations are built upon.
It is for that reason that our Gym Rat team is selected entirely by area coaches, described in their own words. And Big Country Preps is absolutely honored to present these individuals to you — the best “team players” (boys and girls) that the area had to offer during the 2018-19 season.
Players are listed in no particular order.
Here are the superlative award winners for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps boys basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.
Here are our superlative award winners for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.
Here are our first-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps boys basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.
Here are our third-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.