Month: May 2022

GAME STORY: Late squeeze play ends Stamford’s season

AUSTIN — With the score tied 0-0 in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s Class 2A state semifinal and Division I caliber speedster Mihyia Davis on third base with one out, many people in attendance at McComb’s Field knew what was coming.

The Stamford bench knew it. The players knew it and so did many of the fans as Haven Prager squared to bunt home Davis on a squeeze play — the most likely way the Lions could score in the midst of a dominating performance from SHS pitcher Citlaly Gutierrez. 

Prager executed the bunt, which was mishandled, allowing Davis, a University of Louisiana-Lafayette signee to score the game’s only run in a 1-0 win for the Lady Lions — the first loss to a 2A school for Stamford in more than two years.

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GAME STORY: Hermleigh slips past Chireno to reach title game

AUSTIN — On a map, Hermleigh and Chireno are separated by a mammoth 439 miles — a bus ride of six hours and 40 minutes. 

But in Tuesday’s Class 1A state semifinal at McComb’s Field, one crucial hit was all it took to separate the clubs — sending Hermleigh to the state title game as a 2-1 victor. 

Sydney Hancock delivered an RBI triple in the sixth inning (the only hit of the day for Hermleigh) and Summer Smith tossed a complete-game six-hitter to lead the Lady Cardinals (16-6), who will face D’Hanis (23-7-1) in Wednesday’s state title game at 4 p.m. 

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STATE SOFTBALL PREVIEW: Coahoma, Stamford, Hermleigh set to compete for titles

The Big Country will be heavily represented at this week’s UIL state softball tournament as Coahoma, Stamford and Hermleigh will vie for championships.  

The action begins Tuesday as the Lady Cardinals take on Chireno at 10 a.m. in the Class 1A semifinals. Stamford will take the next step in defending its Class 2A championship by facing Lovelady at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the semis.  

Making its first state appearance since 2008, Coahoma will meet Franklin at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Class 3A semifinals. All games will be played at the University of Texas’ Red and Charline McCombs Field.  

Here’s a look at what each team is facing in Austin: 

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GAME STORY: Anson sees season end in Region I-2A semis with 13-12 loss to New Home

It took three months, but the Anson baseball team finally met its match, falling in three games to New Home to end a noteworthy season in the Region I-2A semifinals.

Coming off an 11-6 defeat in Friday’s series opener — the Tigers’ first loss since March 12 and just their second of the season to that point — AHS bounced back with a 4-2 win in Game 2 to force a deciding third game. But coach Scotty Nichols team couldn’t quite complete a doubleheader sweep Saturday at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field, dropping a 13-12 decision in the rubber match to close its campaign at 26-3-1.

The Tigers, who rallied from a 7-0 deficit after 1½ innings to pull within a run in the sixth, had ample opportunities in the clincher, but they left 12 runners stranded, including nine in scoring position. Anson got the tying run to second in the bottom of the seventh, but New Home reliever Owen Morris got Stryker Dillard to fly out to shallow right field and Dylyn Pyle to foul out to catcher Ryan Bundy to end the Tigers’ playoff run.

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GAME STORY: Stephenville uses big seventh inning to put away scrappy Snyder club

Following his team’s Game 1 win over Snyder on Thursday, Stephenville baseball coach Justin Swenson said his Yellow Jackets would need to come ready to play Saturday because the Tigers wouldn’t go down easy.

He was right.

Despite racing out to a 6-1 lead after 2½ innings, the Jackets found themselves in a one-run game heading into the sixth in Game 2. And even after putting up six runs in the top of the seventh to build a seven-run cushion, Swenson’s squad had to hold off one final Snyder rally before it could finally celebrate a 12-8 win and a sweep of its Region I-4A semifinal series at Hardin-Simmons University’s Hunter Field. 

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GAME STORY: Coahoma rallies to eliminate Holliday, advances to state tournament

ABILENE — If someone had told you that the Coahoma softball team would see its top four hitters held to one combined RBI on a day that the team committed seven errors against defending regional champion Holliday, would you have guessed a win or a loss for CHS? 

Set logic aside. 

Not only did the Bulldoggettes rally to eliminate Holliday with a 7-4 win in Game 2 of their Region I-3A championship series at Abilene Christian University, but they did it with the bottom half of their lineup. 

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GAME STORY: Rudel, big seventh inning fuel Aledo to 8-0 win over Wylie to secure series sweep

Wylie ace Brooks Gay kept his team in the game as long as he could Friday, but the Bulldogs could never solve Aledo starter Hunter Rudel in a season-ending 8-0 loss at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field. 

WHS, which fell 2-1 in Game 1 of the Region I-5A semifinals series on Thursday, trailed 1-0 after five innings and 2-0 heading into the seventh Friday, but the Bearcats roughed up four Bulldogs pitchers for six runs in the final inning to pull away and secure the series sweep.

For the game, Gay allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits and three walks, using eight big strikeouts to pitch out of any major trouble. But he was outdueled by Rudel, who limited the Bulldogs to two hits and three walks with five strikeouts in a complete-game shutout as Aledo eliminated the Bulldogs for the second consecutive season.

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FEATURE: Deep, dominant pitching staff fueling Anson baseball’s run

At the Class 2A level, pitching quality and depth is a luxury not all coaches can boast. So the fact that Anson baseball coach Scotty Nichols has four pitchers he feels confident throwing in any situation and three others who can give him innings when he needs them makes him unique among his peers.

That blessing has not been lost on Nichols, whose staff has posted a 1.61 team ERA and 1.033 WHIP heading into its Region I-2A semifinals series against New Home.

Behind that staff, Anson has gone 25-1-1 this season. And thanks in large part to what its members provide on a game-to-game basis, the Tigers, who missed state by a single game last year, have their sights set on earning their first state tournament appearance 2014. 

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GAME STORY: Elston, Stephenville cage Snyder Tigers in gritty Game 1 win

Thursday’s Region I-4A semifinals series opener between Stephenville and Snyder was evenly played in a lot of ways. In the end, it came down to one simple factor: The Yellow Jackets made the most of their scoring opportunities and the Tigers didn’t.

A glance at the scoreboard at the end of the game would show each team with eight hits and two errors. But Snyder left 12 runners on base, including nine in scoring position, resulting in the biggest and most significant difference in the final linescore — a 6-2 Stephenville advantage in the runs column.

The victory, secured in front of a boisterous crowd at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field, moved the Yellow Jackets (23-10-1) one win away from their second consecutive trip to region finals. But to achieve that, they’ll have to put away a scrappy Tigers squad on Saturday, when the series moves to Hardin-Simmons’ Hunter Field for Game 2 and Game 3, if necessary. 

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GAME RECAP: Wylie drops pitchers’ duel to Aledo in Game 1 of I-5A semifinals series

WEATHERFORD — The Wylie baseball team dropped a hard-fought series opener to Aledo on Thursday, losing 2-1 at Weatherford College to fall behind 1-0 in the Region I-5A semifinal series between the two squads.

The Bulldogs outhit the Bearcats 6-5 and didn’t trail for the first time until the bottom of the sixth, but their inability to score after the first inning off AHS starter Ethan Jaques left them on the wrong end of a scoreboard when the game ended.

Wylie pitchers Trey Gomez and Grayson Bearden combined to limit Aledo to five hits, four walks and the two runs over six strong innings, but they were outdueled by Jaques, who surrendered one unearned run in seven innings to earn the complete-game win.

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GAME STORY: Coahoma takes 1-0 series lead with 5-1 win over Holliday

ABILENE — It took until the top of the sixth inning for Holliday to finally scratch home a run against Coahoma freshman Hannah Wells on Thursday. But just when the momentum began tilting the Lady Eagles’ way, Coahoma slammed the door shut.

Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, the Bulldoggettes scored a decisive three runs to take Game 1 of the Region I-3A championship series, 5-1, at Abilene Christian University. 

Wells tossed a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts and Christian Everett was 1 for 2 with a two-run double to lead Coahoma (31-4-1), which can clinch a berth to the state tournament with a win in Game 2, slated for 2 p.m. Saturday at ACU. Game 3, if needed, will follow 30 minutes after Game 2. 

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FEATURE: Goodwins to square off in father-son showdown for trip to the state tournament

The text came across Tyler Goodwin’s phone once Ira got off to a great start against Westbrook and after Nazareth had already locked up its berth in the Region I-A finals.  

“I think I’m going to puke,” it read.     

Don’t blame Kristi Goodwin for feeling this way. Either her husband, who has spent the past 24 years coaching at Ira, will lead the Bulldogs to their first state tournament in program history.  

Or her oldest son will return the Swifts to Dell Diamond in his first season as their head baseball coach.  

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GAME STORY: Gutierrez no-hits Hamlin to send Stamford softball back to state

Despite all she’s accomplished during her standout high school career, Stamford ace Citlaly Gutierrez admitted to being nervous heading into Wednesday’s one-game Region I-2A championship matchup with district rival Hamlin.

And playing in front of a packed, standing-room-only crowd at Abilene Christian University’s Poly Wells Field, it showed for an inning.

But after seeing her only two walks of the game result in a pair of unearned runs, the flame-throwing right-hander settled in to dominate Hamlin the rest of the way, collecting 16 strikeouts and no-hitting the Lady Pipers in a 10-2 victory that earned the defending Class 2A champion Lady Bulldogs their second consecutive trip to the state tournament.

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REGIONAL SOFTBALL PREVIEW: Youthful Coahoma to square off with Holliday for regional title

COAHOMA — Softball teams that start multiple underclassmen generally fall under the “rebuilding” label and are either out of contention for a playoff spot or consider themselves as fortunate if they land a low seed. For such a club to reach a regional final with a shot at going to the state tournament is indeed rare. 

Welcome to Coahoma — where an extraordinary youth movement has pushed an already good program to the threshold of a regional championship. 

CHS (30-4-1) will face defending Region I-3A champion Holliday (32-2) in a best-of-three title series beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Abilene Christian University. Game 2 is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday with Game 3, if needed, beginning 30 minutes after Game 2 at ACU. 

If they are to advance, a gifted nucleus of sophomores and freshmen will be at the forefront of the effort. 

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EVAN REN: Hamlin’s decision to turn regional championship into a one-gamer is the correct move

Everybody loves a three-game series and everyone loves a second chance. But for those in charge, logic must intercede. 

This week, the upstart Hamlin Lady Pipers will take on the defending Class 2A state champion Stamford Lady Bulldogs for the Region I championship at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Abilene Christian University. The matchup is huge and so is the excitement surrounding it. So why wouldn’t someone be geared up for a best-of-three?

It’s only natural, right? It’s what we should all expect … right?

Wrong.

After winning the pre-series coin flip, Hamlin coach Jason Botos elected to turn the regional championship into a winner-take-all, one-game crapshoot. And frankly, I agree with the move for several reasons. 

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GAME STORY: Wall forces Game 3, but runs out of steam in 2-1 series loss to Bowie

After dropping its series opener against Bowie on Thursday, the Wall baseball team rallied to beat the Jackrabbits 6-3 in Game 2 to force a deciding third game on Saturday. But ultimately, the youthful Hawks ran out of gas in a 12-0 loss in Game 3, seeing their surprising run end in the Region I-3A quarterfinals at 27-8.

Wall, which had just four seniors on this year’s team and relied heavily on a number of freshmen and sophomores, gave itself a chance to advance to next week’s region semifinals with a strong showing in Game 2.

But Bowie’s Cade Thompson was too strong on the mound in Game 3, and the Hawks simply ran out of pitching during an eight-run sixth that broke open what had been a competitive game to that point.

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GAME STORY: Big fifth-inning lifts Brock to another run-rule victory over Holliday in Game 2

The Brock baseball team needed a few more innings to get going in their second game against Holliday than they did in Game 1. But in the end, the result was the same. 

Coach Tim Arden’s Eagles used a nine-run fifth inning to break open what was a 1-all ballgame to that point, before tacking on three more runs in the sixth to follow Friday’s 10-0 win with a 13-1 run-rule victory less than 24 hours later.

Saturday’s result completed an impressive sweep at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field and earned Brock a Region I-3A semifinals date with Idalou (22-5) next week.

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GAME STORY: Minton’s slam fuels Hermleigh past Eula, into Class 1A state tournament

Stepping to the plate in the top of the fourth with the bases loaded and her team leading Eula 4-1 in Game 2 of the Region I-2A championship series on Saturday, Hermleigh first baseman Hailey Minton knew she had a chance to do something special.

She’d been struggling in the postseason leading up to that at-bat, but a two-out hit would provide some much-needed cushion for pitcher Summer Smith and the rest of her teammates, who were trying to close out the Lady Pirates and earn their program’s second state tournament appearance.

As it turned out, she delivered in the biggest way possible, smoking a 3-2 pitch well over the fence in right field for a grand slam that put the Lady Cardinals up 8-1 and set the stage for a 13-6 win at Cooper High School’s Cougar Diamond.

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GAME STORY: Albany storms back to take Game 2, completes quarterfinal sweep of Coleman

Trailing the Coleman Bluecats 11-3 after three innings in Game 2 of their Region I-2A baseball quarterfinal series at McMurry University, the Albany Lions had something stunning in store for everyone attendance — a comeback for the ages.  

Coy Lefevre, Zane Waggoner, Caden Price, Cole Read and Bryson Herring all collected two hits and at least one RBI each to lead Albany (19-4), which scored 11 runs over a five-inning stretch to rally for a 14-12 win in eight innings on Saturday.

The Lions now advance to face either Clarendon or Lockney in the Region I-2A semifinals. 

“They stayed with it and it was a great comeback,” Albany coach David Fairchild said. “We didn’t start well on the mound and we used a lot of pitchers today.

“I’m proud of the way they battled.” 

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GAME STORY: Strosnider, Brock bats shine in run-rule win over Holliday in opener

Facing off with an outstanding Holliday team in what could be considered the state’s premier region quarterfinals series, the Brock baseball team took the suspense out of Game 1 quickly on Friday, run-ruling HHS 10-0 at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field.

Left-hander Sawyer Strosnider took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and his lineup provided near constant support off Holliday starter Grant Cox, scoring in four of their six trips to the plate before putting the run rule in effect with two outs in the sixth. 

Brock (30-3) outhit its counterpart 12-1, getting three hits from Strosnider, who also scored a team-high three runs to lead the offense as well. That effort sets up coach Tim Arden’s team with a chance to eliminate Holliday (31-4) when the series resumes at 4:30 p.m. Saturday back at ACU.

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GAME STORY: Wylie battles but falls to Aledo in Game 2, sees season end in I-5A semis

STEPHENVILLE — After being run-ruled by Aledo in Game 1 of its Region I-5A semifinals series on Thursday, the Wylie softball team gave a much more representative effort Friday in Game 2. But it wasn’t enough to extend the series as the Lady Bulldogs saw their season end with a 7-3 loss to the Ladycats at the Tarleton State University softball field.

Wylie trailed just 4-3 after three innings and was still within two runs (5-3) heading into the sixth. But Aledo scored a pair of runs in the top of that inning to double its lead and held on from there for the sweep.

Despite the outcome, which saw the Lady Bulldogs close their season at 23-9, coach Heather Collier was proud of her team and the way it responded to the rough series opener.

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GAME STORY: Albany finishes strong, takes Game 1 from Coleman, 7-1

Through three and a half innings, Game 1 of a Region I-2A quarterfinal between Albany and Coleman lived up to its billing at McMurry University, with the score knotted at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth 

From that point forward, however, an experienced Albany club owned Walt Driggers Field and closed with a 7-1 win on Friday. 

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GAME RECAP: Wylie baseball closes out El Paso Del Valle with 11-0 win in Game 2

MONAHANS — The Wylie baseball team wrapped up a Region I-5A quarterfinals sweep over El Paso Del Valle on Friday, following Thursday’s 3-1 victory with an 11-0 win in Game 2 to advance to the fourth round of the Class 5A playoffs. 

Brooks Gay limited the Conquistadors to just one hit in a five-inning shutout in the clincher as the Bulldogs improved to 25-5 on the season.

Wylie will now await the conclusion of the series between Aledo and Burleson Centennial to find out who its opponent will be next week in the I-5A semifinals.

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FEATURE: Scrappy Snyder Tigers at their best when times get tough

When the Snyder baseball team rallied from a tough Game 1 loss to earn a pair of extra-inning wins and advance past a talented Andrews squad last week, some may have been surprised by the Tigers’ resiliency.

SHS coach Shane Stewart was not.

Snyder came from behind one time after another during that doubleheader sweep on Saturday, beating the Mustangs 8-7 and 10-7 — both in eight innings — to earn a Region I-4A quarterfinals date with El Paso Riverside this week. It was a dramatic conclusion to a thrilling series, but one that didn’t shock the Tigers coach, who has seen his team come from behind too many times and win too many close games to be surprised by either anymore.

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GAME STORY: Stephenville downs Iowa Park 8-4 in Game 2 to keep series, season alive

STEPHENVILLE — Facing elimination after dropping Wednesday’s series opener to Iowa Park 7-4, the Stephenville baseball team gave coach Justin Swenson and a rowdy home crowd exactly what they were looking for in Game 2 on Thursday.

Fueled by a three-run first inning and a strong start by senior ace Reece Elston, the Yellow Jackets never trailed in an 8-4 win over the Hawks at the Tarleton State University baseball field.

The win, which improved Stephenville to 21-11-1 on the year, extends the Region I-5A quarterfinals series to a deciding third game, which is slated for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Justin Northwest.

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GAME STORY: Aledo rides pair of big innings to run-rule win over Wylie in Game 1

STEPHENVILLE — The red-hot Wylie Lady Bulldogs ran into a buzzsaw Thursday in the opener of their Region I-5A semifinal series against Aledo, seeing their nine-game winning streak snapped with a 14-2 run-rule loss to the Ladycats at the Tarleton State University softball field.

Wylie, which had won 12 of its last 13 games coming into Thursday’s matchup, trailed Aledo 8-0 after two innings thanks to a seven-run Ladycats second that all but ended the competitive phase of the game.

AHS outhit the Lady Bulldogs 14-3, pounding out seven extra-base hits, including home runs by Ana Flores and Madysen Boutwell to bookend the scoring in its big second inning.

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GAME STORY: Hamlin outlasts Colorado City in Game 1 slugfest

It took 33 combined hits, five doubles, a triple, three homeruns, six errors and nearly two hours and 45 minutes to finally decide it. 

But by night’s end, the Hamlin Lady Pipers prevailed in Game 1 of a Region I-2A semifinal with Colorado City, outlasting the Lady Wolves 18-11 in a slugfest at Abilene Christian University. 

Samantha Gonzalez was 3 for 5 with a homer and four RBIs and Emalee Duniven was 3 for 4 with a double and four runs scored to lead Hamlin (22-6), which can close out the series with a win in Game 2 on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Snyder. Game 3, if needed, will begin 30 minutes after Game 2. 

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GAME STORY: Hico rallies to eliminate Tolar, advances to first regional semifinal

“Winning a series this way is like eating an elephant. It’s monumental, but the way you do it is just one bite at a time. The kids believed that and they did it.” — Hico Softball coach Ryan Starnes

STEPHENVILLE — Prior to this season the Hico Lady Tigers had never won a softball playoff game, much less a series. 

Now they’re heading to a regional semifinal and very few, even in the Hico camp, saw it coming.

With Monday’s 4-2, 7-3 sweep of Tolar in Games 2 and 3 of a Region II-2A quarterfinal, the Lady Tigers completed a stunning series comeback after falling  14-5 in Game 1 on Saturday. They now continue their journey into uncharted waters, where they will face Axtell in the Region II semis later this week. 

“We’ve had an inability to get over the hump against Tolar,” Hico coach Ryan Starnes said. “We played them several times and things would just go bad. We wouldn’t play good softball, but today, we put it together.” 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stephenville pole vaulter Kirbo wins final award of 21-22 school year

As one of the defensive leaders for Stephenville’s state championship football team, Ben Kirbo was ensured a memorable senior year regardless of what happened at the Class 4A state track meet. 

But the SHS standout and future TCU pole vaulter wanted a little icing on his cake … and got it.

Kirbo vaulted 16 feet in Austin last week to win the Class 4A pole vault competition by a full foot over Pleasanton’s Preston Pilgrim and Argyle’s Mitchell Thompson. And in doing so, he earned our final Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week award for the 2021-22 school year.

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