Author: Evan Ren

GAME STORY: Coahoma girls crush Henrietta, push to regional quarterfinals

ABILENE — The Coahoma Bulldoggettes continued their push into the Region I-3A bracket in dominating fashion on Saturday, eliminating Henrietta 10-0 in five innings in a one-game area playoff at Cooper High School. 

Hannah Wells threw a one-hitter with nine strikeouts and was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Karleigh Burt was 1 for 2 with a two-run homer to lead Coahoma (26-4-1) which advances to face Merkel (25-2) in the regional quarterfinals. 

The win was the 15th straight win for Coahoma and the 11th time the Bulldoggettes have produced double-digit scoring in that span. 

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Coahoma girls crush Henrietta, push to regional quarterfinals”

GAME STORY: Merkel closes out Breckenridge in grueling 12-inning Game 2 battle

TUSCOLA — It took 12 innings in 107-degree temperatures to decide it, but the Merkel Lady Badgers managed to close out their 3A area round series with Breckenridge on Saturday, edging the Lady Buckaroos 4-2 at Jim Ned High School. 

Josie Whitehead outdueled Chloe Whitmire in a intense contest that saw both pitchers work the full 12 innings.  And Merkel’s Kyleigh Mauldin provided the game-winning RBIs with a two-run homer  in the 12th to lead Merkel (25-2), which advances to face Coahoma in the Region I-3A quarterfinals. 

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GAME STORY: Merkel plays small ball to overcome Breckenridge in Game 1

TUSCOLA — Locked in a scoreless pitcher’s duel between Breckenridge standout Chloe Whitmire and his own ace, Josie Whitehead, Merkel coach Bobby Williams elected to take the game in a different direction.  

Seeing that getting consistent base hits would be difficult against Whitmire, Williams gave Breckenridge a heavy dose of small ball, resulting in four runs over the final three innings and an eventual 4-1 win at Jim Ned High School.  

Eva Rodriguez was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI and Jacee Tumlinson was 1 for 3 with a triple to lead Merkel (24-2), which backed a three-hit, 13-strikeout effort from Whitehead with four bunt singles to take a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is slated for noon Saturday at the same location. 

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FEATURE: Coahoma’s secret weapon no longer a secret 

COAHOMA — Tucked away in the far west end of the Big Country, the Coahoma softball team has quietly managed to cultivate one of the area’s best all-around players, completely under the area radar. 

It wasn’t that difficult. Coahoma is isolated. It doesn’t get the media attention that other Big Country schools receive and above all else, CHS’ secret weapon, Hannah Wells, is a freshman without an established reputation. 

Those days are over. 

Not only does the opposition understand how good the ninth-grader is, but they’re beginning to give her the same strategic approach one may expect for an all-state-caliber senior. 

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GAME STORY: Bad start dooms nervous Coleman in area round loss to powerhouse Stamford

When you have the misfortune of being paired off with the defending state champion early in the playoffs, nerves are often a culprit.

That was certainly the case for the Coleman Bluekatts in a 10-0 loss to Stamford in a Class 2A area round game at Abilene Christian University on Thursday.  

Hoping to get off to a good start and build some early confidence, the Bluekatts crippled themselves with three errors in a jittery six-run Stamford first inning and never recovered.

Stamford’s Citlaly Gutierrez tossed a five-inning no-hitter with 12 strikeouts and Laylonna Applin was 2 for 3 with two runs scored to lead Stamford (21-4), which advances to face either Haskell or McCamey in the regional quarterfinals. 

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FEATURE: Even while hobbled by a knee injury, San Saba’s Oliver is among area’s top players

Photos courtesy of Rita Boultinghouse

SAN SABA — As a senior playing in only his second year of high school baseball, San Saba’s Weston Oliver has had very little time to prove how good he actually is. 

A first-year move-in from Class 6A Round Rock High School, Oliver is in his first and last season with the Armadillos, who have seen their win total jump from only four in 2021 to 11 this year with their new arrival in the lineup. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: O’Malley takes second straight award

Merkel’s Alyssa O’Malley continues to endure pain, continues to amaze and continues to win. 

For the second straight week, O’Malley has captured our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week award after capturing four Region I-3A championships, despite a stress fracture in her foot.

And in O’Malley’s case, we’re talking about individual events — not medals won in a relay event. 

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CLASS 2A REGIONAL TRACK ROUNDUP: Big Country highlights from 2A regional meets

Two Coleman track athletes put on a show over the weekend and the West Texas A&M Track and Field Complex in Canyon served as the stage.

This was no surprise.  

As expected, Coleman’s Devinar Roberson took the Region I-2A title in the high jump, clearing 6-09 to claim gold — five inches higher than second-place Luke Braden of Stratford. 

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CLASS 1A REGIONAL TRACK ROUNDUP: Big Country 1A highlights from this year’s regional meets

It was a huge day for Cross Plains at LeGrand Stadium in San Angelo on Saturday as both the CPHS boys and girls track teams both claimed Region II-1A team championships. 

The Cross Plains boys scored 70 combined points to top second-place Rankin (65) and third-place Irion County (58).  The Lady Buffaloes, in the meantime, shared the team title with Irion County at 64 points apiece, followed by Sterling City with 44. 

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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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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 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: 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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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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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: 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: Brock baseball quickly adapts to Arden’s change in style without missing a beat

BROCK — Under former coach Hart Hering, the Brock baseball team had nearly turned “small ball” into a science — literally bunting and pitching its way to a state tournament appearance in 2021.

The Eagles were so good at it that frustration on the part of the opposition wasn’t uncommon. 

But with the arrival of new coach Tim Arden, came a completely different offensive approach — not dissimilar to that used by former Baltimore Orioles manager, Earl Weaver. Rather than scratching a few runs across, then protecting the lead with pitching, the Eagles are now playing for big innings early on, while saving the short game for situations when it benefits them most. 

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GAME STORY: Comanche capitalizes on Bangs’ blunders to capture crucial district win

BANGS — The good news for the Bangs Lady Dragons was that they outhit visiting Comanche 12-5 on Friday. Also, Bangs’ starting pitcher, Abby Wolf, carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning before finishing with a five-hitter and nine strikeouts. 

The bad news for the Lady Dragons, was that they committed six errors, allowed nine unearned runs and eventually fell 11-10 at home on Friday as Comanche picked up a crucial league win.

Riley Riordan went the distance in the circle and was 1 for 2 with a double, two walks and three runs scored to lead Comanche (13-11, 4-6 District 8-3A), which stays in the playoff hunt with the win. 

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FEATURE: Now-healthy Fincannon making a huge splash in Big Country softball

HICO — The name of Kiersten Fincannon is likely to be unfamiliar to most Big Country softball fans at this point. 

That’s about to change. 

The Hico sophomore, who played much of last season at Dublin with an ailing knee, was far below her potential even as a freshman.  But with the arrival of the 2022 campaign, a now-healthy knee is allowing the 16-year old to pitch to the level she is capable of and the results are stunning. 

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FEATURE: Anson team hoping to close the deal on unfinished business from last year

ANSON — A year ago, the Anson Tigers couldn’t have come much closer to reaching the state tournament. Stopped within one victory of a trip to Round Rock, the Tigers fell in three games to New Deal in the Region I-2A championship series in Seminole. 

At first glance, a Game 3 loss to New Deal was a disaster, ending in a 10-2 loss. But Anson was trailing 4-2 after five complete innings — still competing for a shot at state when New Deal broke things open with s six-run sixth inning. 

That is the memory that is currently fueling the 2022 Anson Club, which is hoping to navigate its way back through a tough Region I bracket to reach the promised land for Class 2A teams: Dell Diamond in Round Rock for the state tournament.

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