Month: March 2019

FEATURE: From Ghana to Goldthwaite … Amponsah learning Texas culture, discus

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.”

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LOCAL BASEBALL ROUNDUP: Eagles snap four-game skid, Coogs edge Rider in 10

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.

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GAME RECAP: Washington pitches, slugs Lady Eagles past Richland

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.

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GAME STORY: Timely hits, stellar pitching lead Wylie to historic softball win over Cooper

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.”

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.

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GAME STORY: Hawley edges Albany 3-2, takes district lead

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.  

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FEATURE: Hill embracing role as Cooper Cougars’ ace

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.

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BCP Podcast No. 39: Evan, Daniel talk to Yeager about decision to leave De Leon

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. 

GAME RECAP: Hard-luck Abilene High Eagles fall 3-2 to Weatherford

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.

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LOCAL SOFTBALL ROUNDUP: Cooper walks off against Aledo, Wylie blasts Rider

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.

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GAME STORY: Woodward pitches Breckenridge past Boyd

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.

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GAME STORY: De Leon holds on to beat Goldthwaite

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. 

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GAME STORY: Hill, big third inning fuel Cooper to 4-0 win over Rider

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.

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Big Country Preps Player of the Week: Comanche’s Beck takes the top spot

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.”

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GAME RECAP: Wylie bounces back with 10-0 rout of Wichita Falls High

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.

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GAME STORY: Eagle rally comes up short in 4-3 home loss to Hurst Bell

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.

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BCP Podcast No. 38: Evan, Daniel discuss All-Big Country Preps basketball teams

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:

Evan Ren’s 2019 Big Country Gym Rat Team: The hardest workers in the area!

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. 

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All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Superlatives: Boone, Richardson, Brewer top class

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.

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All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Superlatives: Lloyd, Gonzales, Garcia take top spots

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.

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All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Team: First-Team Roster

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.

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All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: First-Team Roster

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.

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All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Team: Second-Team Roster

Here are our second-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.

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All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Second-Team Roster

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.

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All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Team: Third-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

Here are our third-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.

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All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Third-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

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.

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LOCAL BASEBALL ROUNDUP: Bell tops Abilene High 2-1 in extra innings

HURST — The Abilene High baseball team was limited to two hits for the third consecutive game in falling 2-1 to Hurst Bell in eight innings Tuesday in District 3-6A action.

The Eagles (12-5 overall, 1-2 District 3-6A) rallied to tie the game at 1 in the sixth inning, but the Blue Raiders got a two-out RBI single from Colin Ruby in the bottom of the eighth to win the game with an unearned run.

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GAME STORY: Clyde girls solidify district lead with crucial win over C-City

CLYDE — It took the better part of six innings and some late Colorado City miscues, but the Clyde Lady Bulldogs cemented their status as the team to beat in District 5-3A with an 8-0 win on Tuesday. 

Kaitlyn Turner tossed a five-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and Peyton Lee was 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead Clyde 16-4, 5-0, which took sole possession of first place with the win. 

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GAME RECAP: Washington tosses another no-no in AHS win over Weatherford

Senior ace Alyssa Washington threw her second consecutive no-hitter and the Abilene High softball team stayed perfect in District 3-6A play Tuesday with an 11-0 home win over Weatherford.

The Lady Bulldogs, who are now 16-1-2 overall and 5-0 in league action, opened up a 1-0 game with four runs in the third and six in the fourth to put the 10-run rule into effect.

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GAME STORY: Wylie run rules Wichita Falls for first district win

Leading Wichita Falls High by just one one run after 4½ innings, the Wylie Lady Bulldogs exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth and four in the sixth to claim a 15-5 run-rule win Tuesday at Bulldog Field.

Wylie (6-14 overall) pounded out 19 hits and took advantage of five Wichita Falls errors in evening its record at 1-1 in District 4-5A play.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Hawley’s George takes the top spot

Generally, an individual state championship will trump virtually any other performance at the local level in this column. 

And this week, three of our nominees did exactly that, so you can imagine our dilemma in choosing our Player of the Week.

At the end of the day, it was Hawley powerlifter Britney George, who won the Class 2A state title in the 181-pound class with a performance for the ages. 

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BREAKING: Yeager resigns at De Leon

Big Country Preps has learned that De Leon football coach/athletic director David Yeager has handed in his resignation.

Yeager was 52-33 overall in seven years at De Leon, including a 9-5 mark last year.

He cited a desire to watch his son, Kevin, play collegiate football at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio as the primary reason for his departure.

Defensive coordinator Andy Dickson is believed to be a top candidate to replace Yeager as head coach.

“My wife and I have been thinking about this for a while and thought the time was right to end this chapter in De Leon and see what the future holds,” said Coach Yeager, who has an overall career record of 154-87. “We had seven great years here and many wonderful friends and memories made.”  

GAME RECAP: Odessa High rallies past Wylie softball for walk-off win

ODESSA — A six-run first inning wasn’t enough to push the Wylie softball team to victory Friday at Odessa High, where the Lady Bronchos rallied past the Lady Bulldogs for a 9-8 walk-off win.

Trailing 7-5 after 5½ innings, OHS took its first lead with a three-run bottom of the sixth. And after Wylie evened the score at 8 in the top of the seventh, the Lady Bronchos won the game in the bottom of the frame, scoring the winning run on a bases-loaded error with one out.

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GAME STORY: Wylie baseball holds off Cooper rally for 5-4 win

The Wylie baseball team took advantage of some shaky Cooper defense to build a 5-1 lead and held off a late Cougar rally for a 5-4 win Friday evening at Bulldog Field.

The Bulldogs, who outhit Cooper 10-5, seemed to be in firm control for most of the ballgame. But the Coogs scored two sixth-inning runs to trim the deficit to 5-3 and had the tying man on second when Wylie reliever Cooper Hrbacek induced a fielder’s choice ground ball for the final out of the game.

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GAME RECAP: Cooper softball falls 13-5 at Wolfforth Frenship

WOLFFORTH — The Cooper softball team pounded out 11 hits Thursday, including doubles by Symone Gary, Keiana Kemp and Aliyah Martinez, but it wasn’t enough in a 13-5 nondistrict loss to Wolfforth Frenship.

The Lady Coogs led after the top half of each of the first two innings, scoring two in the first and one in the second, but the Lady Tigers took their first lead with a three-run bottom of the second before taking control with a five-run third.

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LOCAL BASEBALL ROUNDUP: Richland halts Abilene High’s win streak

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — The Abilene High baseball team saw its nine-game winning streak snapped Thursday in a 10-0 road loss to North Richland Hills Richland.

The Eagles (12-4 overall, 1-1 District 3-6A) fell behind 3-0 after an inning and trailed 7-0 after four before the game was ended by the run-rule with a three-run Rebel sixth.

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BCP Podcast No. 37: Abilene High softball coach Reese talks team hot start

After making a surprise run to the Region I-6A quarterfinals a year ago, the Abilene High softball team is off to a roaring start to the 2019 season, opening at 15-1-2 overall and 4-0 in District 3-6A play.

This week, second-year Lady Eagles coach Jim Reese took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the season his team is having, his coaching history and the interesting path he took into the game of softball.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel look back at the boys basketball state tournament, preview the upcoming All-Big Country Preps boys and girls basketball teams and discuss the area’s baseball and softball teams to watch.

LOCAL SOFTBALL ROUNDUP: AHS’ Washington no-hits Haltom, Lady Coogs run-rule Rider

Senior ace Kaylen Washington tossed a five-inning no-hitter and the Abilene High Lady Eagles pounded out 22 hits in a 26-0 win over Haltom City Haltom in a District 3-6A game Tuesday at Abilene Christian University’s Poly Wells Field. 

AHS plated nine runs in the first inning, 12 in the second and five in the fourth before the game was ended in the fifth due to the 10-run rule.

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