Month: April 2022

REGION I-3A TRACK MEET: Brock, Breck go 1-2 in boys team race, Merkel standout claims four golds

Coming off the first region and state titles in program history in 2021, the Brock boys track team was successful in its first title defense, running away with the team championship at the Region I-3A meet Saturday at Abilene Christian University’s Elmer Gray Stadium.

The Eagles finished with 99 points — 44 more than second-place Breckenridge — to headline a strong performance for athletes throughout the Big Country Preps coverage area on the meet’s second day.

Merkel, meanwhile, had the top finish for the girls, riding a stellar meet from senior Alyssa O’Malley to 52 points and a fifth-place team finish — one spot ahead of the Brock Lady Eagles, who placed sixth with 44 points.

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GAME STORY: Breckenridge overcomes fifth-inning hex, closes out bi-district series with Bangs

EASTLAND — Two days earlier, in a Game 1 heartbreaker, the Breckenridge Lady Buckaroos saw a 1-0 lead vanish in a three-run Bangs fifth inning during a 3-1 loss. 

Saturday, with the series tied a game apiece and Breckenridge leading 3-0, the fifth inning proved nightmarish again for the Lady Bucks, with Bangs striking for three runs in the frame to knot the game at 3-3. 

This time, however, Breckenridge responded with three late runs over the final two innings to earn a 6-3 win and close out the Class 3A bi-district series at Eastland. 

Chloe Whitmire fired a four-hitter with 12 strikeouts and Joni Jackson was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs to lead Breckenridge (20-8), which advances to face Merkel in the area round. 

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GAME STORY: Early softball rides fast start to Game 1 win over Henrietta

The Early softball team scored the first five runs of the game and held off a late Henrietta rally to claim a 6-4 win over the Lady Cats on Friday in the opener of a best-of-three Region I-3A bi-district series at Abilene Christian University’s Poly Wells Field. 

The Lady Longhorns were held to just five hits by a pair of Henrietta pitchers, but after plating two runs in the first to take an early lead, coach Alfonso Chavez’s team took advantage of some aggressive baserunning and two Lady Cat errors to pull the victory across the finish line.

Trailing 5-0 after four frames, HHS pulled within two with back-to-back two-run innings in the fifth and sixth. But Early pitcher Teagan Lopez stopped the bleeding there, pitching a scoreless seventh to close out a complete-game victory.

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GAME STORY: Whitmire dominates in circle as Breckenridge evens series with Bangs

EASTLAND — Breckenridge sophomore pitcher Chloe Whitmire had her second straight dominant effort as the Lady Buckaroos evened their Region I-3A bi-district softball series with Bangs at a game apiece with a 9-2 win on Friday night.

After getting 15 strikeouts in Bangs’ 3-1 win in the opener on Thursday, the sophomore carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning of Game 2 and added 14 more strikeouts as she pitched her team into a deciding third game at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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REGION I-3A TRACK MEET: Brock boys dominate on Day 1; Merkel’s O’Malley takes gold

With the bulk of the Region I-3A Track Meet completing its preliminary stages, there were few opportunities for area teams to secure a trip to the state meet on Friday. 

Nonetheless, teams within the Big Country Preps circulation area managed to produce their share of fireworks on Day 1. And nobody did more damage than the Brock boys, who closed with the day with a meet-leading 36 team points.

Nathan Jones shattered the regional shot put record by more than three feet and Eli Potts took gold in the long jump to lead Brock, which enters Day 2 a full 10 points ahead of second-place Bushland. 

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GAME RECAP: Farrar pitches Wylie past Amarillo Caprock in 2-0 bi-district triumph

WOODROW — Reese Farrar pitched a complete-game gem and her Wylie teammates gave her just enough run support Thursday as the Lady Bulldogs edged Amarillo Caprock 2-0 in a single-game bi-district playoff at Lubbock Cooper High School.

The junior pitcher allowed just two hits on her way to a shutout, striking out 15 Caprock batters without a walk. The Wylie lineup, meanwhile, plated one run in the second and another in the fourth to make that hold up for the win.

The victory improved the Lady Bulldogs to 19-7 on the season and earned coach Heather Collier’s squad a Region I-5A area-round matchup with the winner between El Paso Chapin and Canutillo next week.

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GAME STORY: No. 9 Coahoma softball team dominant in bi-district sweep of Wall

FORSAN — The ninth-ranked Coahoma softball team kicked off its playoff run in style Thursday, scoring a pair of run-rule wins over Wall to sweep its Region I-3A bi-district series and advance to next week’s area round.

Fueled by fast starts in both games, the Buldogettes opened with a 13-3 win in Game 1 before shutting out the Lady Hawks 10-0 in Game 2 to improve to 25-4-1 and earn a matchup with the Early-Henrietta winner next week.

It was the 15th consecutive win for Coahoma, which is 18-0-1 since its last loss, a 4-3 setback to Class 5A Lubbock Cooper on March 8. 

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GAME STORY: Wolf outduels Whitmire to give Lady Dragons series lead in Game 1 thriller

EASTLAND — For five straight innings, Breckenridge ace Chloe Whitmire challenged the Bangs Lady Dragons with high heat. And for five straight innings, she got away with it, holding a 1-0 lead with one hard riseball after another, allowing only two hits and fanning 12. 

Then it happened. 

Down a run with only six outs left, the Lady Dragons broke through with three runs on two hits, a walk and an error in the sixth inning and held on for a 3-1 win at Eastland softball field. 

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GAME STORY: Albany softball takes series opener against Hawley

In the postseason, teams must do two things: avoid mistakes on defense and capitalize on offense.

Thursday night at Cooper High School, the Hawley softball team made several mistakes and Albany was able to capitalize on them as the Lady Lions won 14-6 to take the opening game of the Region II-2A bi-district series.

Albany scored three runs off wild pitches on 1-2 counts with two outs in the second and third innings on their way to posting a pair of five-run frames in getting the win.

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GAME STORY: Hico softball takes first-ever postseason win

rioSTEPHENVILLE — Only four times in their history had Hico reached postseason play in softball. And never before Wednesday night had the Lady Tigers scored a single postseason victory. 

That streak came to a end at Stephenville High School when Hico opened its best-of-three series against Santo with a 17-1 win.  

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GAME STORY: Gay one-hits Cooper as Wylie scores run-rule win on Senior Night

Behind a dominant effort by starter Brooks Gay, the Wylie baseball team cruised to a 10-0 win over crosstown rival Cooper on Tuesday, using a three-run third and a five-run fifth to break open what was a close game in the early innings at Bulldog Field.

Gay, an Abilene Christian University signee, struck out eight batters in a six-inning complete game, allowing just four baserunners in the contest. The tall right-hander pitched around an error and a hit batsman in the first, before limiting the visiting Cougars to a single and a walk the rest of the way.

The Wylie lineup did the rest, overcoming a slow start against Cooper pitcher Colin Reed to score at least one run in each of the final four frames and earn a run-rule victory on Senior Night.

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GAME STORY: Stephenville stings rival Brownwood in Lions’ home finale

BROWNWOOD — Sophomore Luke Heller threw six innings of four-hit baseball as Stephenville knocked off Brownwood 11-1 in District 6-4A play on Tuesday night at Morris Southall Field.

Heller allowed just one run and one walk while striking out eight, and his effort on the mound was enough to give the Yellow Jackets offense time to get going.

It was an effort coach Justin Swenson was excited to see with the playoffs just around the corner.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP Player of the Week: O’Malley overcomes injury to punch regional ticket

Merkel’s Alyssa O’Malley is no stranger to our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week column. 

If she’s not in the weekly mix during the basketball season as one of the area’s top players, she’s competing for our top spot during the spring in track and field. 

Her latest exploit: How about four area championships in solo events, despite having a painful foot injury? 

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FEATURE: Senior-fueled run to end district has AHS riding wave of momentum into playoffs

Five games into District 2-6A play, things weren’t going at all how the Abilene High softball team had hoped they would.

The Lady Eagles were 1-4 following consecutive losses to Midland Legacy (5-4), Wolfforth Frenship (9-6), Odessa High (8-6) and Midland High (2-0) and were at risk of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

But things took a dramatic turn with a 2-1 nine-inning win over San Angelo Central on March 29, which kicked off a 6-1 run to finish league play. That turnaround, fueled by a six-player senior class that wasn’t content to end district the same way it started, has AHS entering the postseason at 16-11 overall and riding a wave of momentum that few could have predicted just a month ago.

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FEATURE: Stamford’s Faulks a top regional threat in 300 hurdles

Dylan Faulks admits to having a love-hate relationship with the 300 hurdles.  

The Stamford senior owns one of the best times at the Class 2A level and is hoping to return to state next month. As a junior, Faulks finished seventh last year in Austin, but he’s already running a faster time heading into regionals.  

“The thing I like most about track is that it is a gut sport,” Faulks said. “Especially the 300s, not everybody can do it, so it makes it special.”  

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FEATURE: Merkel’s Holloway finds home in 400 and helping relays

Photos courtesy of Rachael Holloway 

It became obvious after her sophomore track season in 2021 that Avery Holloway needed to find another individual event to replace the 100-meter hurdles.

“She was solid in the 100 hurdles, but she wasn’t going to get to state,” Merkel girls’ track coach Tracy Damiano said. “We needed to find her another individual event. She’s the ultimate team player and has always run on whatever relays we needed her to run. She always ran well in the 4×400 relay, so we tried her in the open 400.

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GAME STORY: Wylie baseball run-rules Lubbock High in first-ever night home game

Playing a home game under lights for the first time in program history, the Wylie baseball team took care of business against Lubbock High on Friday, combining a strong pitching performance with consistent offense to earn a 10-0 win at Bulldog Field.

Pitchers Trey Gomez and Grayson Bearden combined for six innings of one-hit ball, while the Wylie lineup scored in every inning but the fifth to end the game early and improve to 17-5 overall and 10-3 in District 4-5A play.

Leading 4-0 after three innings, Wylie took control with a five-run fourth, before putting the 10-run rule into effect with Tye Briscoe’s RBI double in the sixth. 

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GAME RECAP: Abilene High closes out District 2-6A play with 6-1 win at San Angelo Central

SAN ANGELO — The Abilene High softball team closed out the regular season with a 6-1 win over San Angelo Central on Friday, clinching the No. 3 playoff spot out of District 2-6A in the process.

The Lady Eagles, who won six of their final seven games to close district play, got a strong start from Diana Silva and scored in four of the first six innings to pull away for a comfortable road win.

The victory improved AHS to 16-11 overall and 7-5 in district play.

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GAME STORY: Wylie softball routs Cooper in wacky, windy regular-season finale

The Wylie softball team closed out its regular season in dominating fashion on Friday, scoring early and often in a 23-1 rout of crosstown rival Cooper at Bulldog Field.

Battling heavy winds all afternoon, the Lady Bulldogs pounded out 12 runs in the first two innings to knock out the Lady Cougars’ top two pitchers, and the visitors had to turn to position players in the circle for the remainder of the game. This allowed the score to get even more out of hand, as Wylie took advantage of eight combined walks in the third and fourth innings before ending the game in the the fifth by way of the 10-run rule.

The victory improved the Lady Bulldogs 18-7 overall and 7-3 in the District 4-5A play, while the Lady Cougars wrapped up a tough campaign at 13-11-3 and 2-8.

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GAME STORY: Lady Steers clinch District 3-4A title with win at Sweetwater

SWEETWATER — It couldn’t have been a more intense homecoming for Big Spring’s Elliana Perez, considering that Friday’s matchup at Sweetwater was a winner-take-all showdown with her former teammates. 

That intensity reached its peak in the bottom of the seventh when she was shifted to the pitching circle to close out an 11-5 win. 

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GAME STORY: Forsan finishes innings strong in win over Baird

BAIRD — Finish.

The Baird baseball team wasn’t able to finish innings on Friday afternoon while the Forsan Buffaloes scored eight runs with two outs in a 15-8 nondistrict win at Bell Park.

Those eight runs, when combined with Baird leaving nine runners on base, were the difference as the Buffs held off an upset bid from the Class 1A Bears.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High softball drops nine-inning thriller to Midland High on Senior Night

The Abilene High Lady Eagles couldn’t extend their winning to six games Tuesday, dropping their Senior Night matchup with Midland High 4-3 in a nine-inning thriller.

Playing its final home game of the regular season, AHS had opportunities to take down District 2-6A’s second-place team. But the Lady Eagles couldn’t capitalize on some late scoring opportunities in suffering their first loss since falling to the Lady Bulldogs 2-0 on March 25 in Midland.

Abilene High, which was on the wrong end of a perfect game the last time it faced MHS starter Alex Aguilar, collected seven hits and two walks on Tuesday. But the Lady Eagles scored just one run after the third inning, stranding seven runners on base for the game, including six in scoring position.

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GAME STORY: Merkel girls dominate Jim Ned, 14-2

TUSCOLA — Even under normal conditions, Merkel riseballer Josie Whitehead has proven to be one of the Big Country’s most dominating pitchers. 

But with a strong wind blowing in her face and providing her with extra movement on Tuesday, she was nearly unhittable at Jim Ned, tossing a three-hitter in a 14-2 win. 

Carrying perfect game into the fifth inning, Whitehead fanned the first 10 batters she faced and closed her six-inning mercy-rule win with 15 strikeouts and only one walk as Merkel (23-1, 13-0) cemented a District 6-3A championship. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stephenville’s Eakin snags this week’s top spot

For Stephenville standout Coy Eakin to land our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week really shouldn’t surprise anyone. 

Already signed to play football at Texas Tech, Eakin earned Offensive MVP honors in the wake of a spectacular performance in the Class 4A state title win over Austin LBJ in December, which netted him our final award for 2021. So this isn’t his first rodeo. 

Eakin’s latest big-time performance came at the District 6-4A track meet, where he captured two individual district championships in the triple jump (43-0) and long jump (20-10) and assisted in a third title with the 1,600 relay team (50.5 anchor leg). 

It’s important to note that Eakin took the district titles in the triple jump and long jump on short notice — having only practiced for both events for a week. That, ladies and gentlemen, is absolutely remarkable at the Class 4A level. 

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FEATURE: Sprinters lead Breck boys’ track to first district title in 22 years

Photos courtesy of Breckenridge boys’ track coach Mark Young

It’s not unusual for one sprinter to lead the area in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Breckenridge has two such sprinters in juniors Sean Cooksey and Adrian Ruiz.

Cooksey leads the Big Country in the 100 with his fastest time of 10.75 seconds. Ruiz leads the Big Country in the 200 with his 22.38.

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