SPORTS HEADLINES

Saturday Sports Buffet: Coaching stars – Bridgeport coach lands role as manager in all-star game

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014

After coaching the game of baseball on three different levels, Ted Leps found the high school level to be the fit for him.

“The high school game is totally unpredictable. Every game is a different adventure working with 14- to 18-year-olds,” Leps explains. “It’s about how you can react to the bad things that happen.”

Picked for Big Honor

PICKED FOR BIG HONOR – Bridgeport baseball coach Ted Leps, who has led the Bulls to five straight playoff appearances, will be the coach of the North team in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches All-Star game this summer at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Over his 25 years in the profession, including 22 as a head coach, Leps has seen a little bit of everything on the diamond – and for the most part, his teams have weathered every storm, piling up more than 300 wins. All five of his Bridgeport teams since he arrived in 2009-10 have been in the playoffs.

This summer, Leps will get a chance to manage some of state’s best players in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star game. Leps will be one of the three coaches for the North squad in the game set for July 14 at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

“To be recognized by your peers is a big honor,” Leps said. “Another coach has to nominate you, and they vote on you. State tournaments and all-star games show you where your career is at. But like I told them last year after winning 300 games, it just means you’ve been coaching a long time.”

Leps calls his career path a “star in Texas,” that has moved south to north and west to east and back west.

The Midland Lee alum started his coaching career at Del Rio, then went to Muleshoe and to Brownfield. He went to San Angelo Central to work for Gary Gaines, the former Odessa Permian coach featured in “Friday Night Lights.” He spent a year on the college level at Sul Ross before stops at Daingerfield and back at Brownfield.

He also coached in the Texas Collegiate League and in the Texas-Louisiana League, a professional independent league.

When he came to Bridgeport five years ago, he found a home.

“Bridgeport is the best place I’ve ever worked,” he said. “The school, the administration, the kids are all very receptive.”

His teams won more than 20 games in his first four seasons. This year with a team made up of mostly underclassmen, his Bulls made the playoffs with a shorter-term strategy.

“We break the games down to innings,” Leps explains. “You go out and try to win innings.”

He pointed to how his team fought back from an early deficit against rival Decatur this season to force extra innings.

“You win the next inning and string enough of those together, you can get back in the game,” he said.

And eventually something unpredictable will happen – which Leps doesn’t mind.

SIDEDISHES

Happy Win

HAPPY WIN – Decatur’s Brandon Rivera wasn’t just happy about winning the 3A title in the 800. He sent out a tweet this week about appearing on the front page of the Messenger. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

  • It was quite the haul for Wise County athletes last weekend in Austin, bringing home nine medals, including four golds. Can’t imagine there have been too many years with that impressive of a collection – and it was close to being 10 or 11 medals as Jacob Kevetter and Kayson Roof each finished fourth in their 300 hurdles races. Out of the Wise County’s medals, only two were claimed by underclassmen – Alvord’s Savannah Williams and Slidell’s Caitlin Pruett – meaning there will be huge shoes to fill for the county to experience a similar weekend next year
  • Brandon Rivera provided the best picture of the weekend with his tongue hanging out at the finish line of his 3A 800 victory, but he also had a great Tweet after seeing himself in the paper Wednesday, saying “I can die a happy man knowing I made the front page of the Wise County Messenger.”
  • Decatur’s Taylor Clayton took two-thirds of the distance running triple crown, winning the 3A cross country title and the 1600. He finished second in the 3A 3200. Frisco Heritage’s Carter Blunt was the only boys triple crown winner. Two girls pulled off the feat – Crawford’s Annie Dunlap and College Station’s Kelsie Warren
  • Still shocked a team with no relay and only three members competing could finish runner-up in 3A at the state meet like Decatur did last week
  • Looking up where Inez McDaniel is headed in the fall, saw that former Chico standout Malori Moss turned in an impressive season at Western Oklahoma State College. She batted .347 with eight homers and 41 RBIs. She is headed to Rogers State, a NCAA Division II school, to play next year
  • The PGA tour is in town with the Byron Nelson. Northwest senior Aaron Guanlao made a bid to make the field, shooting an even round of 72 to finish 15th at the Monday qualifier. The top four made the field
  • A kid I covered in high school, Colt Knost, is back at the Nelson. He was flirting with making the cut late Friday
  • Of the many great things about Jordan Spieth’s rapid rise to the top of PGA is the assurance that one of the best on tour should be here to play every year
  • When complaining of a sore arm during my glory days as a mediocre pitcher, my father used to say that throwing a baseball was one of the most unnatural actions for the human body. Seeing the epidemic of Major League pitchers needing Tommy John surgeries – Texas Rangers’ Martin Perez is the latest – I guess Dad was right, as he was on most things.

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