SPORTS HEADLINES

Softball: Wise squads hit diamond

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, February 18, 2017
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In an unseasonably warm February, the Wise County softball teams hit the field this week for the start of the 2017 season.

Alvord, Boyd, Bridgeport, Decatur and Paradise are coming off playoff appearances. Alvord, Boyd and Decatur all captured league titles.

Here’s a brief look at the county teams as the 2017 season starts:

ALVORD LADY BULLDOGS

The Lady Bulldogs graduated their all-district and all-county battery of pitcher Mikena Mader and catcher Reagan Guthrie. Mader went 16-9 last year and also hit .457. Guthrie batted .435 with 28 RBIs.

Overall, Alvord lost six starters.

The Lady Bulldogs return Britney Gayler, who hit .476 with 17 RBIs, at shortstop. Randi Taylor is the team’s other senior and will man a spot in the outfield along with all-district returner Katelyn Schedcik.

Kinly Walker will take over in the circle.

BOYD LADY YELLOWJACKETS

The Lady Yellowjackets went 12-2 in 9-3A last year to win the district title.

Boyd brings back six starters from the league champions – Kristin Rasbury, Kayleigh Pappajohn, Lindsey Thorpe, Jordan Salmon, Kristen Whatley and Jules Tullos.

The Lady Yellowjackets will have three big holes to fill from last year with the graduation of Payton Salmon (Wise County MVP), Amber Bowen and Kassidy Lester.

Jordan Salmon, a sophomore, is moving from third to catcher to fill in for her sister. She drove in 22 runs last year.

The Lady Yellowjackets will rely heavily on Rasbury in the circle. She pitched 150 of the team’s 155 innings last year, going 18-9 with a 4.03 ERA. She batted .429.

BRIDGEPORT SISSIES

PROVIDING POP – Bridgeport’s Hailey Hollingsworth was the top offensive player in the county last year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Sissies finished third last year in 8-4A and dropped a pair of one-run games in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

Bridgeport is coming off a 12-11 campaign and will return pitcher and offensive weapon Hailey Hollingsworth. The Wise County Offensive Player of the Year batted .690 from the leadoff spot with an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.693. She went 3-3 with a 2.745 ERA in district.

Bridgeport returns Morgen Davidson, last year’s district newcomer of the year after hitting .591 with an OPS of 1.451, and Melissa Monjaraz, who hit .440.

The Sissies have been hit by injuries, losing CheyAnne Weirich (knee) and Jillian Hagar (rotator cuff).

CHICO LADY DRAGONS

The Chico Lady Dragons narrowly missed out on a playoff spot last year, going 5-7 in district.

The Lady Dragons are due to return all-district outfield Cheyenne Hood and second-team infielder Makayla Martin and catcher Kylie Marburger.

Laynee North and Brooke Vidal, who spent time in the circle last year, are back.

DECATUR LADY EAGLES

STRONG FIRST IMPRESSION – Decatur’s Reagan Chism was the county’s top freshman last year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Behind freshman sensation Reagan Chism, the Decatur Lady Eagles rolled to the 8-4A title last year and reached the area round of the playoffs.

The Stephen F. Austin commit is back in the circle for Decatur after striking out 286 batters with a 2.41 ERA and two no-hitters last year. She also hit .427 with 22 RBIs and three home runs.

Taylor Butler is back at catcher after being an all-district performer for her solid play defensively and helping to generate offense.

NORTHWEST LADY TEXANS

After competing in the same district with 6A champion Keller last year, the Lady Texans are now in 5A.

The Lady Texans bring back six starters and eight returning players.

Northwest did graduate all-state and Texas signee Tuesday DerMargosian in center field and at leadoff. Tarah Hilton has moved into center field. She hit .527 with an OPS of 1.289 last year. DD McCullough has taken over at leadoff with her .773 on-base percentage.

Kelsey Rhine and Hannah Copeland have split time in the circle early this spring.

PARADISE LADY PANTHERS

With a young team last year, the Paradise Lady Panthers made it to the playoffs.

The Lady Panthers now return eight starters, including pitchers sophomore Kendall Candiotto (10-5, 3.54 ERA) and Kailey Thomas (9-6, 5.15 ERA).

The Lady Panthers’ left side of the infield will be strong with Kaycee Martin at shortstop and Brooklynn Davis at third. Martin hit .352 with a fielding percentage of .882 as a freshman. Davis batted .446 with 40 RBIs and two home runs.

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