Category: Stephenville Yellow Jackets

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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GAME STORY: Argyle one-hits Stephenville in 4-0 win, ends Yellow Jackets’ run in I-4A finals

WEATHERFORD — In drawing five walks and three hit batsmen, the Stephenville baseball team did what it could to make Argyle’s pitchers work in Game 2 of the Region I-4A championship series Friday at Weatherford College. But any pressure applied ended on the base paths due to the Yellow Jackets’ inability to add a few clutch hits to their disciplined approach at the plate.

Eagles starter Trevor Duck pitched with runners in scoring position in four of his five innings on the mound, but he and reliever Hudson Emeterio combined to shut out the Jackets, limiting coach Justin Swenson’s squad to one hit while collecting 14 combined strikeouts in a 4-0 win.

The victory pushes Argyle through to the Class 4A state tournament, while Stephenville saw its season end one round shy of a second consecutive trip to Austin.

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GAME RECAP: Argyle too much for Stephenville, scores 8-1 win in series opener

WEATHERFORD — The Argyle baseball team got a strong pitching performance from Evan Brandt and took advantage of four Stephenville errors to down the Yellow Jackets 8-1 in Game 1 of the Region I-4A championship series Thursday night at Weatherford College.

The Eagles scored three runs in the third and two each in the fourth and sixth innings to take a 7-0 lead, and the two teams traded runs in the final frame as Argyle put Stephenville on the ropes heading into Friday’s Game 2. 

Of the Eagles’ eight runs, only four were earned. But even that was more support than needed for Brandt, who limited Stephenville to just one run on two hits and three walks over 6.1 strong innings.

Continue reading “GAME RECAP: Argyle too much for Stephenville, scores 8-1 win in series opener”

GAME STORY: Stephenville uses big seventh inning to put away scrappy Snyder club

Following his team’s Game 1 win over Snyder on Thursday, Stephenville baseball coach Justin Swenson said his Yellow Jackets would need to come ready to play Saturday because the Tigers wouldn’t go down easy.

He was right.

Despite racing out to a 6-1 lead after 2½ innings, the Jackets found themselves in a one-run game heading into the sixth in Game 2. And even after putting up six runs in the top of the seventh to build a seven-run cushion, Swenson’s squad had to hold off one final Snyder rally before it could finally celebrate a 12-8 win and a sweep of its Region I-4A semifinal series at Hardin-Simmons University’s Hunter Field. 

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GAME STORY: Elston, Stephenville cage Snyder Tigers in gritty Game 1 win

Thursday’s Region I-4A semifinals series opener between Stephenville and Snyder was evenly played in a lot of ways. In the end, it came down to one simple factor: The Yellow Jackets made the most of their scoring opportunities and the Tigers didn’t.

A glance at the scoreboard at the end of the game would show each team with eight hits and two errors. But Snyder left 12 runners on base, including nine in scoring position, resulting in the biggest and most significant difference in the final linescore — a 6-2 Stephenville advantage in the runs column.

The victory, secured in front of a boisterous crowd at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field, moved the Yellow Jackets (23-10-1) one win away from their second consecutive trip to region finals. But to achieve that, they’ll have to put away a scrappy Tigers squad on Saturday, when the series moves to Hardin-Simmons’ Hunter Field for Game 2 and Game 3, if necessary. 

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GAME STORY: Stephenville downs Iowa Park 8-4 in Game 2 to keep series, season alive

STEPHENVILLE — Facing elimination after dropping Wednesday’s series opener to Iowa Park 7-4, the Stephenville baseball team gave coach Justin Swenson and a rowdy home crowd exactly what they were looking for in Game 2 on Thursday.

Fueled by a three-run first inning and a strong start by senior ace Reece Elston, the Yellow Jackets never trailed in an 8-4 win over the Hawks at the Tarleton State University baseball field.

The win, which improved Stephenville to 21-11-1 on the year, extends the Region I-5A quarterfinals series to a deciding third game, which is slated for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Justin Northwest.

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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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CLASS 4A REGIONAL TRACK ROUNDUP: Big Spring boys, Stephenville girls headline successful I-4A meet for area

The Stephenville girls and Big Spring boys both finished third in their respective team competitions over the weekend at the Region I-4A track meet to headline a strong effort for area teams and athletes.

The Honeybees amassed 94 points to finish behind only team champion Canyon (122) and runner-up Argyle (106) while the Steers finished with 52 points — 10 behind second-place Decatur and 51 behind boys champion Argyle.

In all, Big Country relay teams and athletes accounted for 21 total medals — 10 on the boys side and 11 on the girls side.

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GAME STORY: Stephenville stings rival Brownwood in Lions’ home finale

BROWNWOOD — Sophomore Luke Heller threw six innings of four-hit baseball as Stephenville knocked off Brownwood 11-1 in District 6-4A play on Tuesday night at Morris Southall Field.

Heller allowed just one run and one walk while striking out eight, and his effort on the mound was enough to give the Yellow Jackets offense time to get going.

It was an effort coach Justin Swenson was excited to see with the playoffs just around the corner.

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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: Stephenville’s Tori Cameron loves soccer, but she’s a state champion sprinter

Photos by Stephenville girls’ track coach Jeremiah Butchee

Victoria (Tori) Cameron is a soccer player blessed with sprinter’s speed for track and field.

The Stephenville High School junior just completed the 2022 soccer season as a forward for the Honeybees, who finished 21-1-2 after a 1-0 loss to Midlothian Heritage on Friday in the Class 4A regional semifinals. It was Stephenville only loss all season. The Honeybees were ranked fifth in the state and allowed only five goals all season.

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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.

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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.”

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GAME STORY: Honeybees advance with bi-district rout of Iowa Park

GRAHAM — If there was any mystery involved in Monday’s Class 4A bi-district matchup between Stephenville and Iowa Park, it was answered in the first eight minutes at Graham High School. 

Using a 19-4 first-quarter run, the Honeybees remained in control from start to finish in a 60-33 win. 

Mya Wesley scored 20 points and Mya Wilson added 17 more to pace Stephenville (25-10), which limited Iowa Park to three field goals in the first 13 minutes of play. The Honeybees (25-9) now advance to face top-ranked Argyle (33-0) at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Weatherford.

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FEATURE: Honeybees’ mastery of defense leading to memorable season

STEPHENVILLE — Every high school basketball player loves scoring points. And most spend a large amount of time honing their ability to do exactly that. The challenge for coaches, is to get the teenagers to realize it is defense that determines the degree of team success they will experience.

That message has been received in Stephenville, where its girls basketball team is creating enough defensive stops to compete for its second straight district championship and third in four years.  

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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GAME STORY: Late rally lifts Cooper girls over Stephenville in nondistrict thriller

Trailing Stephenville 49-44 with less than 40 seconds remaining, the Cooper girls basketball team appeared to be headed for a hard-luck loss to the No. 21 team in Class 4A on Tuesday at Cougar Gym.

But in a game chock full of extended runs and wild momentum swings, the Lady Cougars had one more rally left in them.

CHS closed the game with six consecutive points — the final four on pressure-packed free throws by Karrigan Parrott — to claim a thrilling 50-49 win in its final nondistrict game before opening District 4-5A play against eighth-ranked Lubbock Cooper on Friday.

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EVAN REN: Never underestimate the Jerry World factor

ARLINGTON — Who doesn’t like pageantry at the football state championship games? Who doesn’t like a big atmosphere? 

Of course, every real high school football fan loves it. That’s why we take part in the annual migration to AT&T Stadium each December to participate in Texas’ greatest high school spectacle. 

There is, however, at least one drawback and it showed itself in Stephenville’s 38-21 win over Austin LBJ in Friday’s Class 4A Division I state championship game. 

Sometimes, “Jerry World” (as it has become known in some circles) can simply overwhelm the event itself. 

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GAME STORY: Playmaker Eakin, opportunistic defense fuel Stephenville to sixth state title

ARLINGTON — After grinding out a trio of one-score wins to earn their way to the Class 4A Division I state championship game, the Stephenville Yellow Jackets spared their fans any unnecessary suspense Friday against top-ranked Austin LBJ.

The No. 2 Yellow Jackets rode a picture perfect start to a 24-0 second-quarter lead and held off the Jaguars from there to claim their sixth state championship with a 38-21 win.

SHS, which finished undefeated at 16-0, recovered fumbles on each of LBJ’s first four possessions and followed those with a goal-line stand and a punt to keep an explosive Jaguar offense off the board until the waning minutes of the first half. And senior receiver Coy Eakin fueled a strong offensive start, sandwiching a pair of first-half touchdown catches around a scoring run and a Corbin Poston field goal to put the Jackets in control by halftime.

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BCP WEEK 17 PLAYOFF FORECAST: Six area teams reach Arlington with state titles on the line

LAST WEEK: 3-1, .750
SEASON TOTAL: 509-107, .826

What a year for area football.

Six … count’em … six teams from the Big Country Preps coverage area still have a pulse in Week 17 and will compete for state titles at five different levels.

Strawn, May, Westbrook, Hawley, Brock and Stephenville will all make their way onto the turf at AT&T Stadium this week with a shot at the history books.

The Big Country Preps staff will be on hand at Jerry World, of course, soaking it all in and sharing it with you, our subscribers.

It’s difficult to believe, but its time to make my final round of picks for 2021. 

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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GAME STORY: Stephenville edges Wichita Falls Hirschi in semifinal thriller

FRISCO — Through much of the 2021 season, the Stephenville Yellow Jackets have created a cushion for themselves — nearly eliminating pressure situations with an average victory margin of 41-13 through their first 14 games. 

Friday night at the Star, however, the Jackets were forced to answer the bell time and time again in a 38-35 win over Wichita Falls Hirschi in the Class 4A Division I state semifinals. 

Ryder Lambert threw for 220 yards and two scores and rushed for a third touchdown to lift Stephenville, which battled through six lead changes to reach the state championship game. There, the Jackets (15-0) will meet either Tyler Chapel Hill (11-3) or Austin LBJ (14-0) next week in Arlington. 

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BCP WEEK 16 PLAYOFF FORECAST: Seven Big Country Preps teams still alive

LAST WEEK: 7-0, 1.000
SEASON TOTAL: 506-106, .826

As Week 16 arrives, Big Country Preps still has an astonishing seven teams still active — Stephenville, Brock, Hawley, Albany, Westbrook, May and Strawn — the last three of which will be playing for the Class 1A Division I and Division II titles next week. 

In the meantime, we have four 11-man state semifinal games involving teams in our coverage area to discuss this week, including three Thursday dates. 

The column remains red hot at the moment, going 7-0 on picks last week and 19-1 over the last two weeks. 

Here’s this week’s playoff forecast: 

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GAME STORY: Kirbo’s interception, Eakin’s big plays lead Stephenville to state semis

BEDFORD — The second-ranked Stephenville Yellow Jackets needed a late rally to beat defending state champion Argyle in last week’s regional semifinal, but with a berth in the final four on the line, coach Sterling Doty’s squad left no doubt in Friday’s Region II-4A semifinal matchup with No. 4 Melissa.

Behind quarterback Ryder Lambert and wide receiver Coy Eakin, the Yellow Jackets punched their ticket to the state semifinals with a thrilling 24-21 win over the Cardinals at Pennington Field.

Eakin had three second-half catches for 173 yards and a pair of scores to help the Yellow Jackets turn a 7-0 halftime deficit into a 24-7 lead by the fourth quarter as SHS advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in four years.

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BCP Week 15 Playoff Forecast: Big Ev picks 92 percent over Thanksgiving. Can he keep it going?

LAST WEEK: 12-1, .923
SEASON TOTAL: 499-106, .825

Alright, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty — football in December with seven Big Country teams still fighting for a trip to Arlington. If I’m correct, we’ll have quite a few area survivors to congratulate by Sunday.

The column connected on 92 percent of its picks last week, so we’ll see if I can keep the hot streak going.

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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GAME STORY: Stephenville overcomes slow start to edge Argyle, advances to region title game

MANSFIELD — During its 12-0 run to the Region II-4A semifinals, the Stephenville football team didn’t have to play from behind very often.

But facing a tough Argyle squad Friday at Vernon Newsom Stadium, the Yellow Jackets proved they’re more than capable of rallying if need be.

Trailing 14-0 less than 10 minutes into the game and 17-14 midway through the fourth quarter, SHS came from behind on a pair of occasions to score a 21-17 win over the Eagles and earn a date with top-ranked Melissa in the Region I-4A championship game next week.

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