Month: April 2019

FEATURE: Coahoma sophomore Overton counting her blessings

Photo courtesy of John Overton

With a 10-2 record, a 2.76 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 81 innings, Coahoma sophomore Makynlee Overton may not give the appearance of someone who is lucky to be standing in the pitcher’s circle. 

The 15-year-old has been at the forefront of a Coahoma surge to the Class 3A area round, with one solid pitching performance after another. Yet she is only a few months removed from a pair of surgeries that doctors believed would force her to miss the entire 2019 season. 

Nonetheless, she will be at centerstage when the Bulldogettes (17-5) take on Henrietta (20-10-1) in Game 1 of a best-of-three series at 6 p.m. Friday at Abilene Christian University’s Wells Field. 

It has Overton, her family, her doctors and her coaches not only marveling at the teen’s determination, but at her recuperative powers as well. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Preps Player of the Week: Edmondson takes this week’s spotlight

For Big Country sports fans, the name of Hallie Rose Edmondson is usually associated with basketball, and it will likely stay that way for some time.

An All-Big Country Preps pick on the hardwood, the Roby senior has been a part of a successful RHS varsity program dating back to 2016 when, as a freshman, she saw significant minutes with the Lady Lions in their march to the state semifinals in San Antonio.

She is now committed to play hoops at Hardin-Simmons University beginning next season and, frankly, I’m not surprised.

It is through track and field, however, that Edmondson has found her way into this week’s area spotlight, qualifying for the state meet in four events to capture our BCP Player of the Week award. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Reagan pitches Early past Colorado City, into second round

After a wild 15-11 win in extra innings in Thursday’s opening game of the Region I-3A bi-district round of the softball playoffs, the Early Lady Longhorns got a dominant performance in the circle from Laiken Reagan on Saturday afternoon.

Reagan had seven strikeouts and scattered three hits at Abilene Christian University’s Wells Field as Early finished off a sweep of Colorado City with a 2-0 win.

The Lady Longhorns pitcher threw 93 pitches (69 strikes, 24 balls) while facing 26 batters, leading her team to an area-round date with Brock next week.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

LOCAL SOFTBALL ROUNDUP: Wylie sweeps Randall, Monterey too much for Cooper

LUBBOCK — Bailey Buck’s three-run shot in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted the Wylie Lady Bulldogs to a 6-4 win over Canyon Randall on Saturday the Lubbock Cooper softball field, completing a sweep of the Region I-5A bi-district series for coach Heather Collier’s team.

Trailing 4-3 heading into its final at-bat, Wylie got a single from Kaylee Philipp and a double from Halle Arbilera to lead off the inning, setting the stage for Buck, who hammered an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence to end the game.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: No. 3 Abilene High blasts Arlington High to complete sweep

The third-ranked Abilene High softball team followed Thursday’s 23-0 win over Arlington High with another blowout Saturday, sweeping the bi-district series with an 18-0 win in front of a big home crowd at the AHS softball field.

Pitchers Kaylen Washington, Aubrianna Salazar and Maddie Perez combined for a one-hit shutout, while the AHS lineup racked up 16 hits, including a double and three home runs.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

LOCAL BASEBALL ROUNDUP: Wylie, Cooper close out regular season on high note

After edging Wichita Falls High 6-4 on Friday at Hoskins Field, the Wylie baseball team had a much easier time with the last-place Coyotes on their home field Saturday, scoring a 21-2 victory to close out the regular season at 15-7 overall and 9-3 in District 4-5A play.

The Bulldogs outhit the Coyotes 20-2 and got solid pitching efforts out of Walker Piland, Cooper Hrbacek and Cade Weaver in wrapping up their district’s No. 1 playoff seed.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME RECAP: Late Cooper rally not enough as Monterey walks off with 7-6 win

SNYDER — The Cooper Lady Cougars rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh Friday to pull into a 6-all tie with Lubbock Monterey. But the Lady Plainsmen got a one-out RBI single from Savannah Castilleja in the bottom of the inning to walk off with a 7-6 win in Game 1 of the Region I-5A bi-district series.

After allowing two runs in the top of the first, Monterey tied the game with a two-run third, before taking a three-run lead in the fifth. The teams then traded single runs in the sixth before an eventful final frame.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME RECAP: Wylie outslugs Randall for 17-11 win in Game 1

LUBBOCK — A slugfest broke out Friday at the Lubbock Cooper softball field, where the Wylie Lady Bulldogs opened their Region I-5A bi-district series against Canyon Randall with a 17-11 victory.

Coach Heather Collier’s Wylie squad scored in every inning but the fifth and shut out the Lady Raiders after an eight-run Randall fourth to take a leg up heading into Saturday’s Game 2.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Big inning fuels Big Spring past Iowa Park, into area round

ALBANY — Locked in a pitchers’ duel for 4½ innings Friday in Game 3 of their Region I-4A bi-district series against Iowa Park, the Big Spring Lady Steers broke through in a big way in the fifth, plating six runs on their way to a 6-3 win over the Lady Hawks.

The Lady Steers bunched five of their nine hits in that pivotal inning, and pitcher Maddie Daniels and the her defense handled the rest, holding off a late Iowa Park rally to secure a spot in the area round.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Coahoma edges Comanche in nine-inning thriller (three videos, box score & photo gallery with 34 images included)

SAN ANGELO — It took nine innings and nearly 2½ hours to decide the issue. But the Coahoma Bulldoggettes, courtesy of a walk-off RBI double from Cassie Grant, got the last word in a thrilling 4-3 win over Comanche on Friday in a one-game bi-district matchup at Angelo State University.   

With the score knotted at 3, Grant hit a shot to deep center to score Kaylor Green — shortly after Comanche had intentionally walked Jaydan Mann to get to Grant who was 0 for 3 up to that point.  

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME RECAP: No. 3 Abilene High blasts Arlington High 23-0 in Game 1

FORT WORTH — The No. 3 Abilene High softball team opened the Class 6A playoffs in dominating fashion Thursday, blowing out Arlington High 23-0 in Game 1 of a best-of-three bi-district series at North Crowley High School.

Senior ace Kaylen Washington pitched a five-inning two-hitter, striking out 11 while walking one, and Alyssa Washington went 4 for 5 with a double, a triple, two home runs and eight RBIs to lead an explosive offensive effort.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

SIDEBAR: 2019 could offer Brownwood best chance for return to Austin

BROCK — Every high school athletic program runs in cycles. 

Experienced, inexperienced, talented, not-so-talented, plenty of depth and bone thin —all of which run in varying degrees and mixtures, giving each team its own potential and personality. 

Every so often, enough of the planets align to give a team a memorable season — perhaps even a trip to the state tournament.   

In the view of many, the Brownwood softball team is currently in one of these “up” cycles and is actually at a crucial stage, with star pitcher Chyanne Ellett in her final season as a Lady Lion. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Early outlasts Colorado City for 15-11 win in extra innings

After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Early Lady Longhorns plated four runs in the top of eighth to outlast Colorado City for a wild 15-11 win Thursday in Game 1 of a Region I-3A bi-district series at Abilene Christian University’s Wells Field.

Taking advantage of 10 walks and eight C-City errors, the Lady Longhorns overcame a 12-6 deficit in the hit column. And starter Laiken Reagan made some big pitches when she needed to to give her team a leg up in the best-of-three playoff series.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Big second-inning fuels Clyde past Coleman 9-3

The Clyde Lady Bulldogs used a five-run second inning to build all the cushion they would need Thursday for a 9-3 win over Coleman in a one-game bi-district softball playoff at Abilene Christian University’s Wells Field.

Up 6-0 after two, the Lady Bulldogs added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth, before the Bluekatts showed some signs of life late to stave off the possibility of a run rule.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Brownwood makes short work of Lady Pines, 14-0 (w/ video, box score and photo gallery)

BROCK — Entering Game 1 of their Class 4A bi-district matchup with Springtown on Thursday, the sixth-ranked Brownwood Lady Lions were generally considered heavy favorites. 

They left that way. 

Combining seven hits of their own with five Springtown errors, five walks and four hit batsmen, the Lady Lions breezed to a 14-0 mercy rule win in five innings at Brock High School. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Glovework point of pride for Abilene High softball team

When looking at Kaylen Washington’s season to date, there are many stats that stand out.

Take, for instance, her 17-1 record, 1.05 ERA, 0.715 WHIP or 157-to-26 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 113.1 innings of work — all of which have contributed in a major way to the Abilene High softball team’s 23-1-2 record.

But it’s one of her less heralded stats that may be the most impressive of all because it speaks as much to the team around Washington as her own well documented abilities. That’s the three unearned runs she’s allowed this year — a minuscule total given the number of innings she’s pitched for coach Jim Reese’s Lady Eagles.

As dominant as Washington has been in the circle, she’s benefited from some excellent defense behind her, and she’ll be the first to tell you she appreciates it.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

EVAN REN: With area softball teams at the starting gate, Big Ev makes his picks

I can’t help but compare a playoff bracket to a horse race, with the bi-district round serving as the starting gate. 

There are favorites, there are possible surprises and there are longshots. And in the end, picking who has the best chance of hitting the finish line at the state tournament is part knowledge and part luck — mostly luck.

 At this track, I’m restricted to making Big Country choices — the area teams I believe have the best chance of getting to McCombs Field at the University of Texas in Austin from May 29-June 1. 

Will a Big Country team have a shot when we get to the home stretch? We shall see. 

Here’s my picks for the 2019 softball playoff run: 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Cooper softball laying foundation for bright future ahead

When senior catcher Symone Gary looks into the future of Cooper softball, she sees a forecast so bright it’s blinding.

Her only frustration is she won’t be around to experience it.

With a college career ahead of her at Southwest Assemblies of God University, Gary has her own softball future to look forward to. But after helping the Lady Cougars come within a game of their first district title since 1994, there’s a part of her that wishes she could stick around another year or two to build on that foundation.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP Podcast No. 43: Wylie softball coach Collier joins show to talk district title, more

After rocky start to the season, the Wylie softball team rebounded to win a district title in its first season as a Class 5A program. Now, the Lady Bulldogs are set to open the Region I-5A playoffs with a best-of-three bi-district series against Canyon Randall on Friday and Saturday at Lubbock Cooper.

Earlier this week, 19th-year Wylie head coach Heather Collier took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about her team’s run to the District 4-5A championship, what awaits the Lady Bulldogs in the playoffs and more for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this week’s episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the best softball pitchers in the Big Country and give a run down of some of the top storylines on the local and area baseball scene.

FEATURE: Wylie softball team riding wave of momentum into playoffs

Looking at its 13-14 record, it would be easy to make assumptions about the strength of the Wylie softball team.

But as is often the case with assumptions, there’s a danger in drawing conclusions based on such little information.

Yes, the Lady Bulldogs are under .500 for the season. But they enter their bi-district round playoff series against Canyon Randall at full strength and playing their best ball of the year — both of which tell you more than a record that was largely achieved when neither was the case.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Clyde takes 5-3A district championship with 5-3 win over Jim Ned

TUSCOLA — The Clyde baseball team clinched its fourth consecutive district championship with a 5-3 win over Jim Ned on Monday night in District 5-3A play.

Riley Rice went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs while scattering four hits. Rice also struck out eight and walked three as he outdueled Jim Ned freshman Tate Yardley.

Yardley went 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits while striking out four. He walked one and hit four others.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Preps Player of the Week: Wylie duo splits this week’s award

Wylie juniors Kaylee Philipp and Bailey Buck share much in common.

They both split their time on the diamond between the pitcher’s circle and first base.

They are both leaders — in word and deed — for the now-District 4-5A champion Lady Bulldogs.

And most recently, they’ve both been selected to share our Big Country Preps Player of the Week honor for the week ending April 20.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Daniel Youngblood: Local squads prove old adage that baseball’s a game of inches

In baseball, the line separating success and failure is often a razor thin one.

The difference between a double down the line and a ground out is a couple of feet. The difference between the perfect pitch and a fat one is a couple of inches. And the difference between a squared up ball and weak contact is a couple of millimeters and/or milliseconds.

Every game is a series of such outcomes, and the team that achieves more positive ones celebrates at the end while the players on the other side are left shaking their heads in frustration.

With such narrow margins deciding wins and losses, you can often boil entire games down to a play here or there, and entire seasons down to one or two games.

Such is certainly true for Abilene’s three local teams, which enter the final week of the regular season with varying levels of playoff security thanks almost entirely on their performance in close games.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Stamford’s Gutierrez a legitimate star in the making

STAMFORD — Some people know, the instant they pick up a softball and try to throw it underhand, that they can be good at it.  And those watching with a keen eye for talent recognize it at the exact same time.

In fastpitch parlance, they are what is known as a natural — someone who can perform this difficult task as though it were an afterthought. 

The Big Country is currently being introduced to one of these rarities in Stamford freshman Citlaly Gutierrez, with results that are making area coaches shake their heads in disbelief. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Wylie softball outlasts Cooper to claim District 4-5A title

The Wylie softball team exploded for nine runs over the final three innings Friday to rally past Cooper 12-6 and claim the District 4-5A championship over their new crosstown rival at Cougar Diamond.

The Lady Bulldogs trailed 4-2 after three innings and were locked in a 5-all tie through five frames, but a three-run sixth and four-run seventh turned what had been a thrilling back-and-forth affair to that point into a comfortable victory in the winner-take-all district finale.

The victory capped a seven-game district winning streak for Wylie, which wrapped up its regular season 13-14 overall and 7-1 in 4-5A play. Cooper, meanwhile, enters the playoffs at 13-16-2 after posting a 6-2 district record.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Cooper rallies for walk-off win over Aledo in 4-5A finale

Needing a win to avoid a four-game losing streak to close out District 4-5A play, the Cooper baseball team rallied from deficits of 4-0, 6-2 and 7-5 on Thursday to claim a thrilling 8-7 walk-off victory over Aledo at Cougar Field.

With the bases loaded and his team down 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning, shortstop Jack Keefer drilled the first pitch he saw into the right-center field gap to score Matthew Shira and Caleb Martin, setting off a celebration that ended with Keefer at the bottom of a dog pile between second and third base.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Bullpen struggles cost Abilene High in extra-inning loss

In what can only be summed up using the word stunning, the Abilene High baseball team ended its District 3-6A slate with a 17-13 loss to Euless Trinity in eight innings Friday at Blackburn Field.

The Trojans sent 11 (sixth), eight (seventh) and 10 (eighth) batters to the plate in the final three innings, scoring 12 runs after AHS starting pitcher Bailey Aulerich was pulled due to pitch count limitations with the Eagles up 12-5 in the sixth.

The senior scattered eight hits over 5.2 innings, allowing seven runs (four earned) while striking out four and walking three. Two of the runs charged to Aulerich scored after he had been pulled.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Stamford, Gutierrez, edge Haskell 2-1 to complete district sweep (box score included, photo gallery to come late tonight)

STAMFORD — Entering Thursday’s District 7-2A matchup at Stamford, Haskell coach Eric Simmons knew that his team no margin for error. 

Facing Stamford freshman sensation Citlaly Gutierrez (24-0-1) who had already struck out more than 300 hitters on the season, the Maidens had to be nearly perfect. 

They fell just short, losing 2-1 in a well-pitched, well-played game by both teams. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Eastland’s Foster maturing into quality pitcher

EASTLAND — Two years ago as a varsity greenhorn, Eastland pitcher Brynna Foster had a lot of learning to do. 

She had the raw talent to pitch. But her velocity and movement had yet to develop fully. Her changeup came on predictable counts, and as a freshman, she still lacked the poise that only maturity can bring. 

Yet she was still effective enough to help the Lady Mavericks into postseason play, despite her youthful shortcomings. 

Two years later, with improved velocity, and a rise, curve, screwball, drop and changeup that she can deliver on any count, Foster is not only dramatically better, but she’s currently one of the top pitchers in the entire Big Country. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP Podcast No. 42: Brownwood’s Lynn talks Lady Lion softball with Evan, Daniel

Led by senior ace Chyanne Ellett, the Brownwood softball team is in the midst of another outstanding season, sitting at 20-2-1 overall and 6-1 in District 74A heading into Thursday’s regular season finale against Mineral Wells.

Earlier this week, Lady Lions coach Jessica Lynn took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the season her team is having and what makes this group special for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this week’s episode, Evan and Daniel recap the latest developments and look ahead to the biggest games of the Big Country baseball and softball season.