Author: Evan Ren

COUNTDOWN TO TWO-A-DAYS: Cross Plains Buffaloes

Football is just around the corner, and we at BigCountryPreps.com are committed to bringing you the information you need to prepare for your favorite team’s season.

We’ll be releasing our Big Country Preps Preseason Football Preview, the most comprehensive look at the upcoming Big Country football season anywhere, on Wednesday, Aug. 17. But you won’t have to wait until then to sate your gridiron appetite.

Leading up to the first day of fall football practice on Aug. 1, we’ll be spotlighting each 11-man team in the area and posing some of the key questions they’ll face in 2022 as part of our annual “Countdown to Two-a-Days” series.

We continue in Class 2A Division II with the Cross Plains Buffaloes. On Saturday we will take a look at the Roscoe Plowboys, followed by the Haskell Indians on Sunday.

Continue reading “COUNTDOWN TO TWO-A-DAYS: Cross Plains Buffaloes”

Evan Ren’s 2022 BCP Baseball/Softball All-Hustle Team: The hardest-working players in the area!

OTHER 2022 ALL-BIG COUNTRY PREPS TEAMS

Character, grit and work ethic aren’t seen in a box score. And it is with our Big Country Preps All-Hustle Team that we wish to honor those players (male and female) who exemplify those qualities. 

The All-Hustle team isn’t about who the best baseball and softball players were. It honors the best teammates. 

It is here where effort, discipline and coachability — traits that coaches wish they had in every player and upon which championships are built — are honored.

It is for that reason that this team is largely selected by area coaches and described in their own words.

Big Country Preps is now honored to present these individuals to you — the best team players (boys and girls) that the Big Country had to offer during the 2022 baseball and softball seasons.

The players below are listed in no particular order. 

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2022 Big Country Preps Softball Superlatives

Here are our superlative award winners for the 2022 All-Big Country Preps softball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

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2022 All-Big Country Preps Softball Team: First-Team Roster

Here are our first-team selections for the 2022 All-Big Country Preps softball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

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2022 All-Big Country Preps Softball: Second-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

Here are our second-team selections for the 2022 All-Big Country Preps softball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

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2022 Big Country Preps Rising Stars Softball Team: The top Freshmen and sophomores in the Big Country!

Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to release our 2022 All-Big Country Preps softball teams. 

Here, you will find our Rising Stars Team honoring the top freshmen and sophomores in the Big Country.

For the rest of this year’s girls basketball selections, please click the links at the bottom of the next page.

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GAME REPORT: Red defeats Blue in Big Country FCA All-Star Football game

ABILENE — Shotwell Stadium bid farewell to the 2021-22 athletic school year on Saturday with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Myrle Greathouse All-Star Classic football game.

Eldorado’s Korbin Covarrubaiz caught two touchdown passes to help the Red Team to a come-from-behind 28-10 win. The game closed a week-long Big Country All-Star Festival, which included boys and girls basketball games in Brownwood and baseball and softball games in San Angelo, before closing with volleyball and football in Abilene.

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FEATURE: Brock banking on pitching and defense heading into state tournament

BROCK — While it may sound clichéd to say that pitching and defense wins championships, one is hard-pressed to find teams in this year’s state baseball tournament that run contrary to the axiom.

And Brock (the lone representative in the Big Country Preps coverage area still that is still alive) fits the old saying as well as any other.

The Eagles (35-3) will face Diboll (38-4) in the Class 3A state semifinals at 1 p.m. on Friday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. The winner will advance to face either Gunter (36-1) or Corpus Christi London (24-13) at 9 a.m. on Saturday. 

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the kids,” first-year coach Brock coach Tim Arden said. “When I walked in, one of the first things I did was a defensive drill on pickoffs and rundowns. 

“And the way they executed pickoffs and rundowns without me saying a word, I knew I had a lot (of ability) to work with. These kids know how to play baseball and they’ve got the fundamentals down. … It’s by far the best defensive team I’ve ever coached.”

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GAME STORY: Coahoma just misses in one last comeback at state

AUSTIN — For nearly a month, a young, unheralded Coahoma softball team captivated the Big Country with one postseason comeback after another to elimate a row of powerhouses.

Merkel, Holliday and Franklin had all fallen in succession in elimination game comebacks by the Bulldoggettes. So when Hallettsville took a late 6-3 lead in Thursday’s 3A state championship game, it was nothing out of the norm. 

With one exeption: Hallettsville managed to stave off the inevitable Coahoma rally and held on for a 6-5 win at McCombs Field. 

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GAME STORY: Lady Cards fall short of title in loss to D’Hanis

AUSTIN — Among the statistics that the Hermleigh Lady Cardinals may remember most from Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to D’Hanis in the Class 1A state title game, will be runners left on base. 

The Lady Cardinals stranded nine of them —more than double the D’Hanis victory margin in a frustrating afternoon of missed opportunities in an otherwise cleanly played game at McCombs’ Field.

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GAME STORY: Coahoma outlasts Franklin in semifinal war

AUSTIN — On paper, it was a Class 3A state semifinal softball game. But it took three hours and fifteen minutes, nine innings, a combined 24 runs, 29 hits and six errors for Coahoma and Franklin to finally settle the issue. 

Hannah Wells was 3 for 4 with a double, two homers and six RBIs to lead Coahoma to a come-from-behind 14-10 extra-inning win Wednesday at McCombs Field. The victory advances the Bulldogettes to the Class 3A state title game against Hallettsville, set for 1 p.m. on Thursday at the same venue. 

For Coahoma (33-4-1), it was the third straight elimination game in postseason play that saw the Bulldogettes rally from an early deficit. CHS rallied to eliminate Merkel in Game 2 in the Region I semifinals and rallied again to eliminate Holliday in the regional title game. 

Franklin closed the year at 36-5.

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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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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: 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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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: 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: 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 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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GAME STORY: Coahoma closes out Merkel to advance to Region I-3A semifinals

While the Merkel Lady Badgers built a 6-1 lead through three innings on Saturday, Coahoma coach Alex Orosco remained patient throughout Game 2 of their Region I-3A quarterfinal series. 

Already up a game following Friday’s 5-3 win in Game 1, Orosco had ace pitcher Hannah Wells waiting in the wings and was waiting for an opportunity to call on her in for a closing roll. 

That opportunity presented itself when Coahoma rallied to take a 7-6 lead in the fourth inning, after which Wells was shifted from third to the pitching circle where she blanked Merkel for four straight innings in a 9-6 win at ACU.

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FEATURE: Bronte’s Jackson hoping an extra year of experience will pay off in Austin

BRONTE — A year ago as a freshman, Bronte’s Emily Jackson made her state track meet debut with a nervous performance in the 300 hurdles. 

A year later, a 16-year-old Jackson is returning to Austin as a still young, albeit more experienced 10th-grader with an added level of maturity 

She is a year older. A year faster. And most importantly, she believes she has learned from her nerve-racking experience at Myers Stadium which saw her place eighth out of nine runners with a time of 51.50 last season. 

“Last year on the day of (the state meet), I was so nervous that I felt like I really couldn’t compete to my highest potential,” Jackson said. “And I don’t think I did.

“But after just going and seeing it and being there last year, I’m hoping the (experience) will help things go smoother. I’ve been there once, so hopefully, it won’t be such a shock.”

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GAME STORY: Coahoma holds on to beat Merkel, 5-3 in Game 1

BIG SPRING — A good start, backed by tough pitching was enough to lift Coahoma to a 5-3 win over Merkel in Game 1 of Region I-3A softball quarterfinal at Big Spring High School on Friday. 

Hannah Wells tossed a complete game three-hitter with 13 strikeouts and was 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI to lead Coahoma (27-4-1) which can close the series out with a win in Game 2, set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Abilene Christian University. Game 3, if needed, will follow 30 minutes after Game 2. 

Merkel, which hurt itself with an uncharacteristic four errors, fell to 26-3. Eva Rodriguez was 1 for 2 with a run scored and Catherynn Bennington was 1 for 3 with a run scored to lead the Lady Badgers 

“(Wells) did a great job,” Coahoma coach Alex Orosco said. “First of all, she was getting ahead. She got squeezed a little bit, but she overcame it.” 

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GAME STORY: Lady Lions lose big lead, then rally to capture Game 1 from Hamlin, 10-7

While it may not have been a must-win situation for either team, both Albany and Hamlin put a good deal of importance in Game 1 of their Region I-2A quarterfinal series on Thursday, knowing a win would give them two shots to advance on Saturday. 

The Lady Lions earned the checkmark but had to rally to do it, topping  Hamlin 10-7 at McMurry University to take a one-game lead in the best-of-three matchup.

Carisa Barrera was 2 for 4 with a double and earned a save in the circle to lead Albany (15-13-1), which can close out the series with a win in Game 2 at 1 p.m. on Saturday at McMurry.  Game 3, if needed, will begin 30 minutes after Game 2. 

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GAME STORY: Stamford girls sweep Haskell out of regional quarterfinals

The Stamford Lady Bulldogs continued their march toward defending their Class 2A state softball championship on Wednesday, eliminating District 7-2A rival Haskell in two straight regional quarterfinal games, 10-0 and 16-6 at Abilene Christian University.  

Citlaly Gutierrez earned two wins in the circle and was a combined 5 for 6 with a double, three homers and nine RBIs to lead Stamford (23-4), which advances to face the winner of Clarendon and Floydada in the Region I-2A semifinals. 

Haskell (10-10) was led by Savannah Camacho, who was a combined 3 for 5 with a double, homer and three RBIs. Laney Hanson and Alyssa Stocks were both a combined 2 for 5 — the latter of whom had two RBIs. 

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FEATURE: Lady Pipers thrilled to advance, now bracing for new challenge vs. Albany

HAMLIN — In a year that has seen much of the Hamlin athletic program in rebuilding mode, green-clad fans have found a rally point around an unexpected source. 

For 15 years, Hamlin softball had struggled in vain to earn a playoff win. But with last week’s 6-2 area-round victory over Miles, which came despite a lengthy gap between games due to a first-round bye, the Lady Pipers ended a frustrating drought that dated back to the George W. Bush Administration. 

“The girls were fired up to get an opportunity to play,” Hamlin coach Jason Botos said. “When we got there, you could just see the nerves. But they were chomping at the bit. We had 10 days off without a game and that concerned me as a coach. 

“But the girls were ready. They were fired up to play.”

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP Player of the Week: Haskell’s Roewe hits for the cycle to claim award

Four hits in one day is a great day for any hitter. But to get one hit of each kind – single, double, triple and a home run – is one of softball and baseball’s genuine rarities.

Yet that is exactly what Haskell senior Emma Roewe pulled off last week when she hit for the cycle in a 17-7 area round win over McCamey.

But there was an added bonus: Nearly all of her hits had huge impact, beginning with an RBI triple to bring in the first run of the game.

She later broke a 7-7 tie with a two-run homer in the fourth inning and brought down the curtain with a walk-off double to score Olivia Camacho to bring the mercy rule into play.

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