Category: Merkel Badgers

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.” 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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? 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kirbo vaults his way into the top spot

In a week loaded with top-flight performances, Big Country Preps would have had a difficult time choosing the Capital Farm Credit Player of the Week. 

But Stephenville pole vaulter Ben Kirbo made the decision easy by accomplishing something which hasn’t been done by a Stephenville track athlete in nearly three decades.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned duo shares this week’s spotlight

Even in high school baseball, perfect games are rare. Two perfect games in one week in the same league are extremely uncommon. 

Two perfect games in one week, thrown by a pair of teammates are about as elusive as a Lochness Monster sighting.

And coincidentally, that’s about how often Big Country Preps names two players for the Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: C-City pitcher Kaci Rivera takes the top spot

It’s difficult to top back-to-back shutouts when searching for a Player of the Week, especially when one of the vanquished is a solid team from a higher classification.

That was the case last week for Colorado City softball pitcher Kaci Rivera, who held both Big Spring (7-0) and Borden County (6-0) to a goose egg, with 23 strikeouts in 14 innings of work. 

Our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week allowed only five total hits in the two games, to go with two walks. 

“Kaci has really started to show her dominance on the mound,” coach Krysten Marr said. “She is a fierce competitor on both sides of the ball and we are excited to see how she does going into district play.”

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Jones, Brock dominate Merkel in area-round win

CISCO — Brock senior Nathan Jones missed the first 31 games of the Eagles basketball season as he recovered from a broken foot suffered during football season.

That hasn’t stopped the Big Ten-bound star from dominating on the basketball court the last two weeks in his first four games of the year.

The latest example came Friday night, when Jones put up 32 points and 18 rebounds to lead Brock past Merkel 83-36 in a Region I-3A area-round game at Cisco’s Ray Saunders Gymnasium.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Jim Ned girls, boys sweep Merkel in Saturday afternoon doubleheader

TUSCOLA — In a weather-delayed doubleheader that was equally important for both sides, Merkel paid Jim Ned a visit on Saturday with playoff seeding in the balance. 

Jim Ned was not a generous host, handing their guests back-to-back lopsided losses — 77-23 in the girls game and 54-37 in the boys contest. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Girls Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Feb. 3)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

UIL REALIGNMENT: Big Country football landscape will change dramatically

While icy road conditions may have changed the UIL’s method of delivering the news, the results of its biennial realignment still offered the usual mix of surprises on Thursday. 

Held via live feed over the internet, area coaches learned their fate on the web. 

Topping the list of stunners for area teams would be the shift of Brownwood from its centralized home in District 5-4A DI to the far west in District 2.  There, the Lions will join Big Spring, Lubbock Estacado, San Angelo Lake View and Andrews — the last of which will produce a 480-mile round trip.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Merkel senior takes this week’s award

 

When selecting our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week, it’s not entirely about numbers, though that’s certainly a part of it. The quality of the competition counts, as does the importance of the game itself.

And when factoring in all of the above, nobody had a better overall week than Merkel senior Alyssa O’Malley, who has been among the area’s most consistent performers all season. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Hard-working Merkel senior O’Malley looking to finish career off right

Alyssa O’Malley’s happy place is inside a basketball gym.

That’s where the Merkel senior spends most of her free time, honing her shot and working on her craft.

“A special coach once told me that there is always someone out there working harder than you,” O’Malley said. “There is a lot of pride taken into my work ethic as I know that the preparation side of the game is vital to the way I perform.”

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Boys Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Jan. 20)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Girls Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Jan. 20)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Merkel boys, Jim Ned girls claim wins in key District 6-3A doubleheader

MERKEL — Merkel’s Ryder Hoyle had perhaps the play of the game Tuesday night against district rival Jim Ned, and it wasn’t even one that added points to the scoreboard.

Instead, his rotation from the backside allowed him to make a thunderous block on a second-quarter dunk attempt and propelled the Badgers to a 42-37 win over the Indians in a thrilling District 6-3A matchup on Tuesday night.

After the game, Merkel coach B.C. Lee gushed over Hoyle and his block, which helped move MHS into at least a three-way tie for the district lead after two weeks.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

EVAN REN’S 2021 TRUE GRIT TEAM: The toughest, hardest-working players in the Big Country!

Most high school football teams have that one player acknowledged by the coaching staff as the prime example of what a teammate should be. 

He’s the guy who seldom misses any practice time and is a regular in the weight room. He’s early to arrive. He’s late to leave, takes pride in being coachable but seldom needs direction. 

He always sets the right example for younger players. He doesn’t gripe and, above all else, he’s tough enough to make all the aforementioned traits possible. 

Know someone like that? Here is where they are honored. 

Welcome to Big Country Preps’ “True Grit” team — a collection of area players nominated by their head coaches, who exemplify the character traits football mentors want throughout their roster. 

Not all of them are great players. In fact, many of them will never play a down of college football. But every single one of them is making the most of their high school football experience and has helped those around them do the same.

We are absolutely honored to present these young men to you — the toughest, hardest-working football players the Big Country had to offer in 2021. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stamford’s Applin wins this week’s award

While scoring a lot of points is always an attention-getter, the Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week column puts a great deal of value in players who can contribute in a variety of ways. And today’s winner is a prime of example of that. 

Stamford junior guard Laylonna Applin takes our accolade after helping the Lady Bulldogs to a 5-0 record on the week, with wins over Burkburnett, Christoval, Class 4A No. 13 Sanger, the San Angelo Central JV and Veribest. The last for victories came in the Ballinger tournament, at which Applin was named MVP.

Yes, she did plenty of scoring, dropping in an eye-popping 134 points through five games. But Applin did a lot more than just put the ball in the hoop.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us