Category: Ballinger Bearcats

COUNTDOWN TO TWO-A-DAYS: Ballinger Bearcats

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 Saturday, Aug. 14. 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. 2, we’ll be spotlighting each 11-man team in the area and posing some of the key questions they’ll face in 2021 as part of our annual “Countdown to Two-a-Days” series.

Today, we move to Class 3A Division II with the Ballinger Bearcats. On Monday, we will take a look at the Bangs Dragons, followed by the Brady Bulldogs on Tuesday.

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GAME STORY: Laird, Early bounce back from slow start to rout Ballinger in Game 1

A rocky first inning proved merely a mild inconvenience for the Early baseball team Thursday at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field, where the Longhorns rallied from a 3-1 first-inning deficit to run-rule Ballinger 14-3 in Game 1 of a best-of-three Region I-3A area-round series.

Sophomore starter Caydon Laird bounced back from allowing three runs in top of the first to shut out the Bearcats the rest of the way, and the EHS lineup gave him six runs in the second and five in the third to make a winner out of the right-hander.

Up 12-3 after three innings, the Longhorns tacked on two more runs in the fourth to put the run rule into effect and put themselves in position to close out the series when it resumes with Game 2 at 1 p.m. Friday at the same site.

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FEATURE: Ballinger senior Vaughn relishing stretch run of injury-filled high school career

As a four-sport lettermen in his three years at Ballinger — and a freshman standout at Brady before that — Tyler Vaughn has been an impact athlete throughout his high school athletic career.

But with each of his last three years being derailed by significant injuries, Vaughn’s career has been marked by inevitable questions of what might have been had he been blessed with better luck.

Now serving as DH for the Bearcat baseball team after undergoing surgery in late January to repair a torn labrum, Vaughn isn’t focused on what wasn’t, however. With his team preparing for a bi-district series against District 5-3A champion Reagan County this weekend, and a college career at Howard Payne to look forward to after this school year, the Ballinger senior is devoting his energy to making the most of what remains of his time in a BHS uniform.

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EVAN REN: Handicapping the boys state track meet.

Having already released our picks for the girls state track meet earlier this evening, we now present the boys event, using the same approach. 

We’ll comb through each event involving a Big Country athlete (or athletes) and assess if they are favorites, dark horses or long shots to get on the medal stand. 

Let’s not waste any time. Let’s dive in. 

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EVAN REN: Picking the favorites, dark horses and longshots at the girls state track meet

I don’t care who you are — even if you’re a non-fan when it comes to track and field. 

The excitement of the state meet in Austin will capture your attention if you catch sight or sound of it. It’s inescapable. 

And once per year, it is my pleasure to examine the multitude of Big Country athletes heading to Austin for the event and pick who we can expect to see on the medal stand from our area. 

Let’s begin with the girls side, looking at each event in which a Big Country athlete has qualified for state. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Clyde’s Phillips earns this week’s spotlight

In a week filled with unforgettable moments, several of our nominees handed in by area coaches could justifiably be called our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week. 

We finally settled on Clyde sophomore Payton Phillips, who stunned attendees at the Region I-3A meet by taking gold in both the long jump (18 feet, 6 inches) and the 100 hurdles (15.12) — breaking school records that were 25 and 15 years old, respectively. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Wylie senior Aguilar vaults way to honor

Kylor Aguilar’s high school athletic career has been filled with obstacles, but after beginning it with such promise as a state silver medalist as a freshman, the Wylie pole vaulter is on track to finish it in style.

Aguilar, who had his sophomore season derailed by a rare bone disorder and had his junior season shortened by the COVID-19 stoppage, is having his best high school season to date as a senior.

And after vaulting a career best 15 feet, 9 inches at the District 4-5A meet in Lubbock, he’s our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week for the week ending April 10.

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GAME STORY: Ballinger softballers hold on for crucial road win at Jim Ned

TUCSCOLA — It took the better part of a month for Ballinger to get a second shot at Jim Ned, following a 10-8 loss to the Lady Indians way back on March 13 at home. 

On Friday, however, the Lady Cats utilized a huge start, some timely hitting and a handful of Jim Ned mistakes to get a measure of revenge in a 13-9 win. 

Alina Pena was 2 for 4 with a triple and four RBIs and went the distance in the circle to lead Ballinger (12-7, 7-3), which held off a Jim Ned rally after taking an early 8-0 lead. 

Jim Ned (13-7, 7-2) was led by starting pitcher Libbie Brnovack, who as 2 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs. The Lady Indians rallied with seven runs over the last four innings only to fall short.

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Evan Ren’s 2021 Gym Rat Team: The toughest, hardest-working teammates in the Big Country

While scoring and rebounding garner much of the attention in basketball, there are other elements, crucial to success, that seldom grab headlines. 

Behind the scenes is where character, effort and sacrifice set the foundation for teams to reach their full potential. And it is with our Big Country Preps Gym Rat Team that we salute the individuals who bring these elements to the table. 

This team isn’t about who the best players are — though some of the area’s top players are on this list. 

The Gym Rat Team is about outworking, outhustling and outgiving everyone around you, both on the floor and off. Hard-working, honest, selfless, tough, coachable kids are what we seek for this roster. 

A Gym Rat Team member can be your best player or the last player off the bench. But the one thing all of them bring is an uncompromisingly good attitude. 

It is for that reason that our Gym Rat Team is selected entirely by area coaches. And Big Country Preps is truly honored to present these individuals to you — the best “team players” (boys and girls) that the area had to offer during the 2020-21 season.

Players are listed in no particular order. 

Enjoy.

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GAME STORY: Chorn’s walkoff, Neuman’s pitching lead Clyde past Ballinger

CLYDE — Tuesday night’s District 6-3A baseball game between Clyde and Ballinger got started nearly 30 minutes late due to a pregame issue that resulted in a portion of the infield grass behind the pitchers mound at Bulldog Field being left under a significant amount of water.

The delayed start seemed to have a bigger effect on the two defenses more than starting pitchers Dylan Neuman (Clyde) and Nakia Villarreal (Ballinger) as the two aces matched each other nearly pitch-for-pitch once the game got going.

In the end, it was Clyde’s Luke Chorn singling home Monroe Burleson with one out in the bottom of the seventh over a drawn in infield for a 4-3 walk-off win for the Bulldogs.

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