GAME STORY: Brock outlasts Coahoma to sweep weather-delayed area-round series

The Brock baseball team overcame a long weather delay and a scrappy Coahoma team to advance to the Region I-3A quarterfinals on Friday, sweeping the Bulldogs 3-0 and 12-2 at Abilene High’s Blackburn Field.

Due to a thunderstorm that swept through Abilene in the fifth inning of Game 1, the Eagles didn’t finish their 4:30 series opener until after 9:30, which pushed the end of Game 2 past midnight. 

But Brock got a pair of strong pitching performances and found its offense in the late game to put away Coahoma and earn a third-round playoff matchup with the winner of Jim Ned and Holliday next week.

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GAME RECAP: Wylie bats come alive in Game 1 rout of EP El Dorado

FORT STOCKTON — Garrett Graham hit two home runs, Landon Williams had a two-run blast and JT Thompson went 4 for 4 at the plate as the Wylie baseball team opened its area-round series with a 17-6 thumping of El Paso El Dorado on Friday.

In addition to Thompson’s big day, Graham and Tye Briscoe each had three-hit games as the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the series.

Grayson Bearden earned the win on the mound in relief with three strong innings in which he allowed two runs on four hits after Trey Gomez and Sam Walker kept El Dorado at bay for the first four innings.

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UIL STATE TRACK: Day 2 sees Big Country bring home hardware in 2A; Haskell girls claim title

Photos by Joe Garcia III, PressPassSports.com

AUSTIN — With a second-place finish in the final event of the night, the Haskell girls track team won the Class 2A state championship Friday at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Asia Billington, Brittany Andrews, Emma Roewe and Savanna Camacho ran a time of 4 minutes, 00.37 seconds to claim the silver medal in the 1,600-meter relay, helping their team to a total of 60 points — just two more than runner-up Panhandle (58).

The Goldthwaite girls mile relay wrapped up a big event for the Big Country by stealing a bronze medal with a time of 4:03.78, cutting nearly six seconds off of their time from the regional meet.

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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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FEATURE: Cross Plains qualifies six relays for state – again

Photos courtesy of Cross Plains High School 

The Cross Plains boys’ and girls’ track teams have qualified all six of their relay teams for the Class 1A UIL State Track and Field Meet at Austin on Saturday. The Buffaloes and Lady Buffs accomplished the same feat last year, but they have received more recognition this year since they won all six relays at regional.

The relays’ sweep helped the Buffaloes and Lady Buffs both win Region II-1A team championships April 29-30 in San Angelo.

Last year at state, the Cross Plains boys finished second in the 400-meter relay, third in the 800-meter relay and fifth in the 1600-meter relay. The girls won the 400 relay, ran second in the 800 relay and finished fifth in the 1600 relay.

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GAME STORY: Anson scores pair of run-rule wins over Christoval, punches ticket to I-2A quarterfinals

The Anson Tigers became the first area baseball team to punch their ticket to the third round of the playoffs on Thursday, earning a pair of run-rule wins over Christoval to sweep their Region I-2A area-round series with the Cougars.

Fueled by a pair of outstanding pitching efforts, coach Scotty Nichols team followed a 13-0 win in Game 1 with a 10-0 victory in Game 2 to make quick work of Christoval at Abilene High’s Blackburn Field.

The Tigers (24-1-1) will now await the result of this weekend’s series between Hamilton (20-7) and Colorado City (8-11) to see who they will play in the Region I-2A quarterfinals next week.

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GAME STORY: Sophomore ace Pepper, Wall Hawks gut out 4-3 over Jacksboro in Game 1

The Wall baseball team rallied from an early 2-1 deficit to defeat Jacksboro 4-3 on Thursday at Abilene Cooper, grabbing a quick 1-0 advantage in its best-of-three Region I-3A area-round series against the Tigers.

The Hawks managed just seven hits — six of those singles — and stranded seven base runners, but coach Jason Schniers’ squad got a strong enough outing from sophomore ace Nathan Pepper to overcome a sluggish offensive performance against the Jacksboro pitching duo of Kyler Swan and Lando Belcher.

The Game 1 victory puts Wall in position to close out the series Friday, when it resumes with Game 2 at 5 p.m. at Cooper.

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GAME STORY: Albany’s Chapman comes through on mound, at plate in walk-off win over Eldorado

Junior standout Cole Chapman did it all for the Albany Lions on Thursday.

In addition to delivering a complete-game gem on the mound, the lanky right-hander also came through with the game-winning hit with two outs in the seventh inning to fuel AHS to a 3-2 walk-off win over Eldorado in Game 1 of a Region I-2A area-round series at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field.

Thanks to Chapman’s heroics, the Lions improved to 16-4 on the year and will need just one win when the best-of-three series resumes Saturday in San Angelo.

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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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UIL STATE TRACK: Class 3A, 4A teams get Big Country off to a good start in Austin

AUSTIN — Stephenville freshman Keirstyn Carlton’s bronze medal in the high jump was the first in a string of surprising podium finishes as the UIL state track and field meet began Thursday at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Carlton jumpstarted a day in which athletes from the Big Country Preps coverage area earned 17 medals.

It wasn’t just the individual medal count that started strong, but also team results. The Brock and Breckenridge boys finished 1-2 in the team standings in the Class 3A boys competition, finishing with 55 and 33 points, respectively, while the Stephenville girls finished in second place with 43 points in the 4A standings.

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FEATURE: State-bound Coahoma senior Ott a wheelchair track pioneer, success story

Four years ago, at the urging of superintendent Brad Cox, Coahoma’s Vance Ott joined the Bulldog track team on a lark.

Few could have predicted — or even dreamt — at the time that that would serve as the first chapter of one the greatest success stories in Big Country track and field history.

Ott, who would become the area’s first wheelchair division state qualifier that year as a freshman, became the Big Country’s first state medalist and champion last spring as a junior. Now preparing to compete in his final state meet on Friday, the senior has a collegiate career to look forward to at the University of Arizona and a dream to one day represent Team USA in the Paralympic Games.

That’s quite a rise for for a young man whose original high school plans didn’t include track at all.

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FEATURE: Young Wall baseball team establishing itself as contender in Region I-3A

During his 14 years with the Wall baseball program — the last 13 of those as the Hawks head coach — Jason Schniers has seen some excellent teams.

In addition to the 2019 squad, which won the program’s first state title, and the 2017 bunch that came within a game of earning that distinction, the Wall coach has had numerous other clubs play three or four rounds into the Region I-3A playoffs.

So when Schniers says a team can play, it can play.

That’s good news for fans of this year’s squad, which enters this week’s area-round series against Jacksboro at 24-6. With seven sophomores and three freshmen on their 17-player roster, the 2022 Hawks are considerably younger than Wall’s best teams of the past, but their potential, Schniers said, may be every bit as high. 

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FEATURE: Big Spring freshman the lone representative at state for the Lady Steers

Zach Duncan, Special to Big Country Preps

Niomi Wines isn’t surprised she qualified for the UIL Class 4A state track meet.  

The Big Spring freshman will compete in the high jump at 9 a.m. Thursday and then turn around and run the 200 later that night.  

“I thought it was a realistic goal, I just had to work a little bit to achieve it,” Wines said. “It was very realistic from the start.”  
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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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BREAKING: Wylie promotes Powell, brings Hopper home as her replacement

As Wylie High School continues to grow, so too have its needs in the realm of athletic administration.

After promoting Amy Powell to a role in which she will serve as the campus coordinator for girls athletics, the school had an unexpected opening to lead the girls basketball program.

Enter Duane Hopper.

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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: Anson rides fast start to 8-1 win over Miles, advances to area round

Coming off a hard-fought 5-3 win over Miles in Game 1 of their Region I-2A bi-district series against the Bulldogs, the Anson Tigers eliminated the drama early in Game 2 on Saturday, scoring four first-inning runs on their way to an 8-1 series-clinching win at Abilene Cooper.

Coach Scotty Nichols’ squad led 7-0 by the end of the third inning and 8-0 before Miles finally scored in the sixth to avoid the shutout.

The victory, which improved the Tigers to 22-1-1, earned AHS an area-round date with Christoval next week.

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Anson rides fast start to 8-1 win over Miles, advances to area round”

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: Read spins gem, Albany bats explode late in series-clinching rout of Winters

Behind a gem of a start by Cole Read and a late explosion at the plate, the Albany baseball team rolled to a 12-0 win over Winters in Game 2 of its Region I-2A bi-district series, sweeping the best-of-three affair to advance to the area round next week.

Leading the Blizzards 3-0 after four innings Saturday at the Abilene Cooper baseball field, the Lions put up three runs in the fifth and six in the sixth to turn a tight game into a run-rule victory.

Read pitched into the sixth, before handing the ball to reliever Cooper Fairchild, who recorded the final outs to complete the combined shutout. The Lions starter allowed just five hits and three walks while striking out five to earn the win.

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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: Coleman rides big first inning to 7-5 win over Stamford in Game 1

A big first inning gave the Coleman baseball team a lead it would never relinquish Friday in Game 1 of its Region I-2A bi-district series against Stamford. But that didn’t mean things were easy for the Bluecats in their 7-5 win over the Bulldogs at Abilene High’s Blackburn Field.

Leading 6-1 after three innings, CHS nearly saw its lead erased in the bottom of the sixth. But with runners on second and third and no outs, Stamford could score only one of those runs, keeping the Bluecat lead at one heading into the final inning.

Coleman then plated an insurance run in its half of the seventh and reliever Ryland Gentry struck out the side in the bottom to save the victory for starter Jorge Salas.

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GAME STORY: Chapman, two big innings fuel Albany past Winters in Game 1

Junior ace Cole Chapman gave Albany a strong start on the mound and his offense did the rest as the Lions opened their Region I-2A bi-district series against Winters with a 11-4 win at Abilene Cooper. 

AHS scored two in the first and four in the third to take an early 6-0 lead, before extinguishing a potential Winters rally with a four-run sixth inning to put the game away.

The victory improved the Lions to 14-4 on the year and put coach David Fairchild’s team one win away from a series victory and a trip to the area round.

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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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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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GAME RECAP: Wylie baseball sweeps Plainview to open postseason run

LAMESA — Trey Gomez had a complete game two-hitter on Friday afternoon to lead the Wylie baseball team to a 10-3 win over Plainview in the opening game of their best-of-three Region I-5A bi-district series.

Brooks Gay followed that up with five dominant innings on the mound in Game 2 to lead the Bulldogs to a sweep with an 11-7 win.

The Bulldogs offense helped the pitching staff with a combined 26 hits in the two games.

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FEATURE: Early pinning hopes of a deep playoff run on talented pitching staff

In baseball, there’s no substitute for quality pitching.

If you have it, you can win any game you play. If you don’t, your team’s ceiling drops precipitously.

The Early baseball team falls firmly into the first camp. And it’s for that reason, the Longhorns (18-4) are entering the playoffs with a sky-high confidence level and matching expectations.

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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: Wall crushes Stanton 15-2, 16-0 to advance to area round

The Wall baseball team kicked off its playoff run with a pair of dominant efforts Thursday, run-ruling Stanton 15-2 and 16-0 at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field to sweep the Buffaloes in a Region I-3A bi-district series.

The Hawks, who were coming off a 10-3 win over Jim Ned to clinch the No. 1 seed out of District 6-3A on Monday, were dominant in all facets against Stanton, outhitting the Buffs 25-2 over the two games.

The victory improved WHS to 23-6 on the year and earned the Hawks an area-round date next week with the winner of this weekend’s bi-district series between Jacksboro and Comanche.

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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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FEATURE: Aspermont softball makes successful return after 13-year hiatus

By Mike Lee, special to Big Country Preps 
Photos by Mark Martinez of the Double Mountain Chronicle

Back in February, Aspermont High School hadn’t fielded a softball team in 13 years. The Lady Hornets’ coach was going to be the ag teacher, and she was finishing up a maternity leave of absence.

But here we are in May, and the Lady Hornets are 9-2 with a playoff win to their credit as they face Van Horn in the Class 1A regional quarterfinals Thursday afternoon in Odessa. The Aspermont-Van Horn winner will advance to play the Eula-Marfa winner in the regional semifinals.

About 20-25 Aspermont girls signed a petition to restart softball in 2022, and it was approved by the superintendent and school board. Kelsey Myers, the school’s third-year agricultural teacher and FFA sponsor, agreed to coach the team.

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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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