Category: Softball

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 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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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: 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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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: 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: 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: 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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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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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 RECAP: Wylie headed back to I-5A semifinals after edging Randall in Game 2

WOODROW — The Wylie softball team closed out Canyon Randall with its second one-run victory in as many days, edging the Lady Raiders 2-1 on Friday at Lubbock Cooper to sweep the best-of-three Region I-5A quarterfinals series.

Rylee Moore, who pitched the seventh to earn the save in Game 1 on Thursday, went the whole way in the circle in the clincher, limiting Randall to just one run on four hits  and two walks while striking out nine.

The junior pitcher got all the support she needed in the first inning, when the Lady Bulldogs answered a one-run top of the first with two in the bottom of the frame to account for the only lead change in the game.

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GAME RECAP: Reed’s seventh-inning homer lifts Wylie softball to Game 1 win over Randall

WOODROW — The Wylie Lady Bulldogs continued their torrid run, opening a best-of-three Region I-5A quarterfinal series against Canyon Randall with a dramatic 6-5 win on Thursday at Lubbock Cooper to improve to 4-0 in the playoffs with their 11th win in their last 12 games.

Leading 4-0 after three innings and 5-1 with 5½ frames in the book, Wylie saw its lead erased when Randall pushed four runs across in the bottom of the sixth.

But sophomore Mycala Reed launched a solo home run in the seventh — the Lady Bulldogs’ third long ball of the game — for what proved to be the game-winning run. 

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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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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 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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GAME RECAP: Long ball lifts Wylie softball past Chapin in series opener

ODESSA — Reese Farrar shut down the El Paso Chapin softball team for most of the night as Wylie opened the Region I-5A area round with a 12-6 win Friday at Odessa Permian.

Ryleigh Whitehead had a pair of home runs as the Wylie offense collected six extra-base hits.

Whitehead and Mycala Reed each drove in four runs in the win.

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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: Lone senior Whitehead, large junior class have Wylie in midst of another strong season

When it comes to senior leadership, the 2022 Wylie softball team is measuring in quality, not quantity. 

With just one fourth-year player on this year’s roster — center fielder Ryleigh Whitehead — the Lady Bulldogs aren’t as deep in seasoned voices as many of their past teams have been.

But Whitehead, who was been on varsity since earning a call-up for the playoffs as a freshman in 2019, has proven quite capable as a lead singer. And with eight talented juniors behind her providing near pitch-perfect backup vocals, Wylie’s lone senior is far from a solo act.

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FEATURE: Whitmire’s aggression in the circle paying off for Breckenridge

By Zach Duncan, special to Big Country Preps

Chloe Whitmire isn’t afraid to challenge opposing batters.   

The Breckenridge sophomore has always had the heat to back up that aggressive mindset. Now Whitmire also has tweaked her off-speed repertoire, making her one of the Big County’s toughest pitchers to hit. 

“With my catcher in front of me and a solid defense behind me, it gives me the opportunity to really try some of the big bats,” Whitmire said. “Sometimes it gets us in trouble, but that’s just how we play.”  

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