Johnson, Eagles take game 1

With his bat, arm and glove, AJ Johnson provided the big plays the Decatur Eagles needed Thursday night.

The Decatur sophomore blasted a two-run homer in the sixth to put the Eagles ahead. In the bottom of the inning, he came on in relief to get the final out with the tying runs on base. Then in the seventh, he knocked down a smash at third and made the putout to help preserve the 5-4 game-one win over Frisco Lone Star in the Class 3A bi-district series at Bronco Field in Denton.

Something to Celebrate

SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE – Decatur teammates celebrate with AJ Johnson after his go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth inning Thursday in the Class 3A bi-district game against Frisco Lone Star at Denton High School.

“He did a great job tonight,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter about Johnson.

The win extended Decatur’s winning streak to three and, most importantly, put the Eagles a win away from reaching the area round of the playoffs. The Eagles took on Lone Star at 7:30 p.m. in game two Friday at Bronco Field.

“The first game is huge. It gives us momentum and puts pressure on them,” Carter said.

“They are coming out, focusing and getting in the moment. They are doing a great job of getting focused and making plays.”

With the Eagles down 3-2 in the top of the sixth, Nick Trachta worked a one-out walk. Johnson followed with a two-run blast to turn the game around.

“He just threw me a fastball inside, and I kept my hands in and drove it,” Johnson said.

Decatur added another run in the inning after Christian Carrillo worked a walk and came around to score.

Eagles starter Josh Jones went back to the mound in the bottom of the sixth with the 5-3 lead. Jones, who picked up the win against Krum to give the Eagles the second seed out of 9-3A, gave Decatur another solid showing. He limited Lone Star to three runs on eight hits.

“He did a fabulous job. We looked up and he’d pitched five innings and thrown 38 pitches,” Carter said. “He kept the ball in the zone. They hit the ball but didn’t score a lot. We were able to play good defense behind [Jones].”

After a walk and double in the sixth, Carter brought in Johnson to get a out of a jam. With runners at second and third, he got a grounder to second to end the inning.

“I just threw strikes. I knew my defense would be there to back me up,” Johnson said.

Cain Lowe led off with a single and stole second, but the Eagles stranded him at third in the top of the seventh.

Jerry LaSaint led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple and came in to score to make it a 5-4 game on a one-out double by Jared Eckert.

Carter then handed the ball to sophomore Mason Baur. His first batter hit a hot shot to Johnson at third, which he handled. Baur then recorded a strikeout to end the game and pick up the save.

Friday, Baur tried to pick up the win and end the series as the Eagles’ top starter will get the ball for game two.

“We kept our No. 1 pitcher in our back pocket,” Carter said. “We should be confident going into tomorrow.”

Posted in News0 Comments

Krum holds off Bulls

After cutting Krum’s lead in half in the top of the sixth inning, the Bridgeport Bulls appeared set to push across the tying runs with runners at second and third and one out.

But Krum pitcher Mason Lucas got Bridgeport’s Mason Baker to pop up his squeeze bunt back to the mound. Lucas snared it and fired the ball back to third for an inning-ending double play that secured the Bobcats’ 4-2 victory Friday in the 9-3A tiebreaker for the league’s third seed.

“We had the guy from second also going but we couldn’t execute the squeeze,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps. “Your seven, eight and nine hitters have got to be able to bunt.”

With the win, Krum earned the league’s third playoff seed. The Bulls fell to the fourth seed with their second loss in two days and will open the Class 3A playoffs with a bi-district series against fourth-ranked Argyle at Northwest High School.

The series begins at 7 p.m. Thursday. Game two is at 7 p.m. Friday. The third game, if necessary, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“We’ve played them before and know what they are about,” Leps said. “We’ll have to play our best game ever to beat them.”

After being shutout Thursday, the Bulls’ offense couldn’t get going against Krum starter Colton Knierim, managing just two hits over five innings. In the sixth, Bridgeport’s Alex Samples and Daniel Garcia worked walks to start the inning. Jared Huff then plated both of them with a double to left.

After failing to tie the game in the top of the sixth, the Bulls got two on in the seventh with a pair of singles by Travis Fuentes and Erik Delgadillo. But Lucas got a strikeout and infield fly to end the game.

James Gray took the loss for the Bulls, allowing four runs – one earned – on three hits in three innings. Two of the runs off Gray were set up by back-to-back doubles to start the second.

Huff took over in the bottom of the fourth and worked three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two.

“We kept it close,” Leps said. “That’s what we ask of our pitchers.”

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Baur, Eagles escape with 2-0 win over Bulls; Pitcher tosses 4-hit shutout in 9-3A tiebreaker

Baur, Eagles escape with 2-0 win over Bulls; Pitcher tosses 4-hit shutout in 9-3A tiebreaker

Mason Baur turned from a pitcher into an escape artist Thursday night.

The Decatur sophomore worked around having runners in scoring position from the third through sixth innings, and three times closed innings with a runner at third. Those masterful escapes led to a four-hit shutout and 2-0 victory for the Decatur Eagles over the Bridgeport Bulls in the 9-3A tiebreaker.

Close Play

CLOSE PLAY – Decatur’s Christian Carrillo slides under the tag of Bridgeport catcher Mason Baker for the Eagles’ final run in their 2-0 victory over the Bulls Thursday in Bridgeport. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I couldn’t have done it without them,” Baur said pointing at his teammates. “They got me out a lot of situations that I shouldn’t have been in.

“I just wanted to keep them at zero. This is probably the biggest game of my life, being a sophomore in my first year on varsity. I’m glad to shut them down.”

After Baur’s gem, the Eagles (11-13-2) move on to play Krum at 5 p.m. Friday for the second playoff seed out of 9-3A. With a win, Decatur would get a bi-district playoff matchup with 10-3A’s third seed, Frisco Lone Star. Krum would then turn around and immediately play Bridgeport for the third seed out of 9-3A.

Krum would claim the second seed with a win over Decatur and make the Eagles the third seed. Bridgeport would then be the fourth seed and get a bi-district series with fourth-ranked Argyle, the 10-3A champion.

“We’ll leave here at 5 and hopefully when we get there Krum is down. We’ll get the guys up and ready to play,” said Bridgeport senior Alex Samples. “If we’re playing, we’ll try to kick their tails.”

Baur put the Bulls on the sidelines watching. He struck out nine and walked two over seven innings.

“He pitched a great game,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter. “We also made some plays behind him defensively along the way.”

Baur did his best work with runners on base and against the dangerous Samples, who went 0-for-4, including a strikeout to end the game.

“I had to really focus on the three-hole hitter and throw off-speed pitches,” Baur explained. “You can’t throw anything he can drive.”

Carter added: “He pitched well against him. Samples is a great hitter. He hits everything hard. We were trying to work him with a lot of off-speed pitches. We were able to get him out.”

Samples did get hold of one fastball in the third inning. With a runner on second, he lashed it into left field – but Decatur’s Michael Hicks was able to range toward to line, chase it down and end the inning.

“Playing Decatur for four years, they know me and won’t throw me anything good to hit,” Samples said. “When they throw me a fastball, I try to jump on it.”

Samples came up with the bases loaded and one out against Baur in the fifth and hit a fly ball to right field. The runner on third failed to tag on the play and was thrown out trying to get back to the bag for an inning-ending double play.

That was one of two outs on the base paths for Bridgeport.

“After 27 games, you can’t be making the base-running mistakes that we did,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps.

“We also were not getting hits when we had runners on base. We struck out too much. From the fourth on, we had opportunities.”

Decatur found just enough offense against Samples early to get the win. The Eagles’ first three runners reached base on a walk and a pair of singles by Baur and Austin Givens. Drew Edwards knocked in Cain Lowe, who worked a leadoff walk, with a fielder’s choice.

Samples limited the Eagles to just a run in the first.

Decatur added a second run in the top of the second with Christian Carrillo reaching on a dropped third strike and coming around to score on sacrifice fly to right by Lowe.

Samples never allowed another runner past second, tossing a five-hitter with five strikeouts, two walks and hit batter.

“Alex did a great job. All we ask it to keep it close into the seventh,” Leps said.

Posted in Features, Sports0 Comments

Panthers secure 2nd place

Nine straight Panthers reached base in the top of the fourth inning as Paradise piled up seven runs on their way to a 10-3 win over Ponder Tuesday.

Landry Norwood started the fourth-inning hit parade with a single to right and came around to score. Paradise sent 12 batters to the plate in the frame.

The Panthers (19-6-1) clinched the second playoff seed out of District 9-2A with the win, moving to 8-3 in the league.

“The district turned out to be real competitive,” said Paradise coach Mike Fehler. “Peaster played really good defense, and Ponder hit the ball better than expected. It really made it a challenge.”

As the second seed, Paradise will open the playoffs with a bi-district series against the 10-2A third seed Whitney May 2-3 at Fort Worth All Saints. Game one will be at 7:30 p.m. May 2. The second game will be a 2 p.m. May 3 and the third game, if necessary, will follow.

Fehler expects his team’s pitching depth behind ace Dillon Meadows to be a benefit in the playoffs.

“We have a good amount of arms. We have a lot of kids that throw a lot of strikes and can get people out,” Fehler said. “We’ve also been hitting well the last few games.”

Paradise pounded out 13 hits against Ponder. Jarret Holt, Meadows, Skylar Black, Norwood and Tanner Valentine had two hits each. Meadows collected a double for the Panthers’ lone extra-base hit.

On the mound, Holt limited Ponder to three runs on five hits over five innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. Austin Hogan worked a scoreless two innings in relief.

Paradise looked to close the regular season on a high note Friday, taking on Millsap at home.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Baseball Roundup: Rebels beat Texans

The Richland Rebels pushed across six runs in the third and another five in the fourth on the way to a 16-5 win over the Northwest Texans in five innings Tuesday.

Four Northwest pitchers – Tristen DerMargosian, Bailey Dovel, Cameron Rhodes and Elijah Christenson – allowed 16 runs, including 10 earned, on 13 hits and gave up eight walks. Christenson had the only strikeout in his his two-thirds of hitless relief. He did walk three.

The Texans tallied six hits. Cayde Ward doubled twice and scored a pair of runs. Doger Gilliland went 2-for-3 with a RBI.

Northwest closed the season Friday at home against Keller Central.

MILLSAP 2, ALVORD 1

The Alvord Bulldogs dropped their final game of the season Tuesday to the Millsap Bulldogs 2-1.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Indians, Scott blank Eagles

Sanger hurler Ross Scott silenced the Decatur Eagles’ bats Friday to close out an unbeaten run through District 9-3A for the Indians.

Scott held the Eagles hitless until Michael Hicks’ lead-off single in the bottom of the fifth. It was Decatur’s lone hit of the night in an 11-0 loss.

Not in Time

NOT IN TIME – Sanger’s TJ Self slides around the tag of Decatur’s Christian Carrillo during the Indians’ 11-0 win over the Eagles Friday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Scott pitched four innings, striking out five, walking two and hitting two batters before turning the ball over to Anthony Escobedo, who got the final three outs in the five-inning game.

“He’s a good pitcher. He threw the ball well against us last year,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter about Scott. “He stays in the strike zone and has good velocity.”

The loss dropped the Eagles (11-13-2) to 4-4 in the 9-3A and into a three-way tie with Bridgeport and Krum for the league’s second playoff seed.

Coaches from the three teams met and flipped coins Saturday morning. Krum won the initial flip and will play host to Bridgeport or Decatur Friday at 5 p.m. to play for the second seed. Bridgeport then won the second flip and the right to host Decatur Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with the winner moving on to Friday’s game. If Thursday’s winner beats Krum Friday, the Bobcats would then play the loser of the first game for the third seed immediately following.

“You have to win to get your seeding,” Carter explained.

Decatur could have avoided the complicated playoff with a win Friday over Sanger. Any hopes of that disappeared in the top of the first inning when Sanger plated six runs on four hits, three walks and three Decatur errors.

“We made a couple of mistakes in the field early that got the ball rolling for them,” Carter said. “They hit the ball well. They hit as well as any high school team I’ve seen in a long time.”

Sanger knocked Decatur starter AJ Johnson out after two-thirds of an inning, scoring six runs – one earned – on the four hits. He walked two and struck out one.

Josh Jones came on in relief and gave the Eagles four innings of work, allowing six runs – five earned – on seven hits. He struck out four and walked three.

Four of the runs against Jones came in the top of fifth. Kyle Link’s RBI-triple put the Indians up 10-0 and ended Jones’ night. Mason Baur took over on the mound and allowed a run-scoring single by Roy Hedgecock before getting out of the inning with a strikeout.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Baseball Roundup: Samples puts Bulls into three-way tie in 9-3A

The Bridgeport Bulls scored four runs in the third inning including one driven in by Alex Samples in a 5-3 victory over Gainesville Friday.

Samples finished with a pair of RBIs, going 1-for-4 as the Bulls secured a share of second place in District 9-3A with Krum and Decatur.

Jared Huff added a RBI for the Bulls.

On the mound, Samples held Gainesville to three runs – one earned – on five hits. He struck out nine and walked one.

PARADISE 7, PEASTER 0

Dillon Meadows fanned 14 and held Peaster to two hits in a complete-game 7-0 shutout against Peaster.

The Panthers (18-6-1, 7-3) moved a win away from securing the second seed in District 9-2A. Paradise took on Ponder Tuesday and will close the regular season against Millsap at home Friday.

Skylar Black homered and drove in two runs, going 3-for-3 against Peaster. Jarret Holt added two RBIs on three hits. Austin Hogan also had three hits.

CHICO 17, BRYSON 7

Kalan Johnson drove in four runs and Tyler Melton three on two doubles as the Chico Dragons hammered Bryson 17-7 Friday.

Chico (18-5) moved to 10-3 in District 9-A. With a win Friday in the regular season finale, the Dragons will secure second place in the league.

Hagen Davis added three RBIs against Bryson. Jerico McGuire knocked in two runs.

Chase Riddles and Jaston McBree each tripled.

BROCK 14, BOYD 1

Brandon Hardee tripled and Anthony Spinelli doubled and scored a run as the Boyd Yellowjackets were tripped up by 9-2A champion Brock 14-1 Friday.

PONDER 14, ALVORD 0

The Alvord Bulldogs fell to 2-9 in District 9-2A Friday with a 14-0 loss to the playoff-bound Ponder Lions.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Baseball Roundup: Boyd trumps Bulldogs

The Boyd Yellowjackets scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning Saturday to break a tie and beat the Alvord Bulldogs 6-3.

Clay Barnett went 2-for-4 and drove in a run. Colton Batterton and Anthony Spinelli collected doubles for Boyd.

Sonny McCarmack collected the win, pitching three and two-thirds innings without allowing a hit or run. Rett Sears pitched three and one-third, allowing three runs – one earned – on a hit with four strikeouts.

Without Lane Peace, who suffered a broken ankle at the end of the Paradise game, Alvord struggled for offense, managing two hits.

WINDTHORST 7, CHICO 0

The Windthorst Trojans sewed up the District 9-A title Friday with a 7-0 victory over the Chico Dragons.

The Dragons (15-4) fell to 9-2 in the district and remain in second place in the league. Chico was swept by Windthorst.

Jaston McBee, Austin Collins and Hagan Davis had Chico’s only hits against the Trojans.

BROCK 10, PARADISE 3

The top-ranked and District 9-2A leading Brock Eagles scored 10 runs in the first two innings on their way to a 10-3 victory over the Paradise Panthers Saturday.

Jarret Holt allowed all 10 runs – five earned – in two innings on six hits. He walked five and struck out two. Dillon Meadows worked four hitless and scoreless innings in relief.

Holt doubled and drove in two run for the Panthers. Meadows went 2-for-4 with a double.

HALTOM 4, NORTHWEST 1

Cayde Ward drove in the Texans’ lone run in the bottom of the seventh as Northwest’s rally fell short in a 4-1 loss to Haltom.

Haltom scored three runs in the first and added another in the top of the sixth.

Tanner Diminuco had two hits for the Texans, including a triple.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Samples shuts down Eagles; Senior’s first win puts Bulls in hunt for second in 9-3A

It’s been a long time coming, but Alex Samples’ first victory of the season couldn’t have been any sweeter.

The Bridgeport senior right-hander limited the rival Decatur Eagles to a single unearned run on four hits Friday in a 2-1 victory.

Nice Throw

NICE THROW – Bridgeport Bulls pitcher Alex Samples mows down the Eagles for his first victory of the season. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

“My first win all season – a 2-1 game against Decatur – I couldn’t ask for better,” Samples said. “I had all three pitches working. I was being able to spot the curveball and throw it around the zone. I kept them off balance, and they chased a couple of pitches.”

Samples’ gem gave the Bulls (7-16, 3-3) their third straight victory in District 9-3A and a chance to get into a three-way tie for second in the league. That’s if form holds with unbeaten Sanger winning out and winless Gainesville dropping its final two. Bridgeport took on Sanger Tuesday and closes with Gainesville Friday.

“I told the kids to keep battling and they are,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps.

Decatur (11-12-2, 4-3) dropped their second straight district game. The Eagles have only a showdown with Sanger Friday remaining on their schedule.

“This puts us where there could be a three-way tie. But if we take care of Sanger, we could be the second-place team,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter.

Decatur will need to get the bats going to have a chance against Sanger. Friday against Samples, the Eagles mustered just three singles and a double by Austin Givens, who finished 2-for-3. Givens scored the Eagles’ lone run after a walk and an error by the Bulls on a Cain Lowe flyball in the top of the fifth.

In the Nick of Time

IN THE NICK OF TIME – Decatur’s Austin Givens slides past Bridgeport’s Jared Huff and tags first base to beat out the pitcher’s attempt to throw him out. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Samples struck out eight and never allowed another runner past first after the fifth inning.

“He pitched a great game,” Carter said. “He was in the strike zone all night and ahead in the count. Whenever he got to two strikes, he’d throw his curveball out or a fastball up and would get us to chase something.”

Decatur starter Clayton Egle was as impressive as Samples in his six innings of work. He allowed only two unearned runs on two hits and struck out three. He walked one and hit a batter.

“He threw a great game,” Carter said. “That was coming off throwing a lot of pitches Tuesday night in extra innings.”

Bridgeport took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after Jared Huff was hit by a pitch and came around to score on Lane Morrow’s sacrifice fly.

The Bulls made it 2-0 in the third with Erik Delgadillo singling and eventually scoring on a Decatur error.

The two runs were enough for Samples and the Bulls.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Bulls revive season

After their extra-inning loss to Decatur March 25, the Bridgeport Bulls buried the first part of the season.

“We took a coffee can and I told my team to put the five things they’ve done bad this season and put it in the can,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps. “We then buried it in front of the dugout.”

Since its memorial service for the 4-15 start, the Bulls have resurrected its season with two wins in three games. After Friday’s 9-1 win over Krum, the Bulls (6-16) are suddenly firmly entrenched in third place in District 9-3A at 2-3.

“The last three games have been a new season,” Leps said. “After the Decatur game, we set our goal at just getting in the playoffs and playing well. We started playing inning by inning. If you string enough wins of innings together, you can start winning games.”

Friday against Krum, freshman James Gray made sure the Bulls won every inning. The hurler needed just 58 pitches to get through seven innings. He scattered six innings and struck out one.

“He pitched great, and we played good defense behind him,” Leps said.

“Our pitchers have done a great job keeping us in games.”

The Bulls provided timely hits in support of Gray. Alex Samples and Daniel Garcia went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs each. Garcia also doubled.

The Bulls took on Aubrey in a non-district game Tuesday and will play Decatur at home Friday at 7:30 p.m. to start a final three-game stretch with playoff hopes alive.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Meadows wins final showdown, game; Paradise pitcher strikes outs 16 in 1-0 victory

With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the area’s top hitter, Lane Peace, stepped into the batter’s box to face the area’s top pitcher, Dillon Meadows, in a one-run game Friday.

The showdown between the Alvord slugger and Paradise ace came down to one pitch.

“Facing him with a full count, bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the seventh, it’s what you think of when you’re throwing in the bullpen,” Meadows said.

“I threw a fastball inside. It was the hardest I threw all night.”

Just Missing

JUST MISSING – Alvord’s Lane Peace hits a ground ball to first base for the final out of the game Friday during the Bulldogs’ 1-0 loss to the Paradise Panthers. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Meadows’ fastball jammed Peace just enough to coerce a bouncer to first baseman Caiden Berry, who knocked the ball down and beat Peace to the bag for the final out in the 1-0 Paradise victory at Bulldog Field.

“It was one of the most nerve-racking games. I told myself to be calm and that I’ve been here before,” said Meadows, who struck out a career-high 16 in a three-hitter. “It’s the situation you want to be in. You want to pitch in these games and not 15-0 games.”

ROLLING ALONG – Dillon Meadows struck out 16 batters and allowed three hits during Paradise’s 1-0 win Friday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Paradise (16-5-1) moved to 5-2 in a tight District 9-2A playoff race. Alvord (9-12) fell to 2-5.

Peace, who came into the game batting .569 with four homers, including one off Meadows in the team’s March meeting, saw nothing to hit before that final at-bat in the seventh. He walked the first three times he faced Meadows, who admitted to pitching around him.

“I was not going to give him a fastball to hit,” Meadows said. “He’s a good hitter.”

But after a pair of walks around an infield hit by Jonathan Musgrave, Meadows had nowhere to put Peace when he came to the plate in the seventh.

“You can’t ask for a better situation than the bases loaded and Peace coming to the plate,” said Alvord coach Chris Staley. “He got an inside fastball that jammed him. He made a good pitch.”

Running hard down the line, Peace made the play at first close. He injured his ankle on the play and immediately went to the training room after the game.

Meadows was nearly untouchable all night, as Cassidy Patterson’s first-inning single was the lone ball to leave the infield. The other two hits were infield singles.

Meadows struck out the side in the third and fifth innings. He struck out two or more in every inning.

“With his velocity and a good curveball, he’s going to be effective,” said Paradise coach Mike Fehler.

Meadows did walk six, including the three free passes to Peace.

His counterpart, Patterson, was nearly his equal, holding Paradise to a single run on six hits. He only allowed three hits after the first inning and struck out four.

“You can’t ask for anything more from him. He hit his spots and changed up his speeds,” Staley said.

The Panthers managed to get the game’s lone run in the first inning. After Jarret Holt led off with a double and moved to the third on JD Pearson’s groundout, Meadows blooped a single into shallow right to bring home Holt.

Paradise got only one runner past second after the first inning.

“Our bats never came around at all,” Meadows said. “After the first inning, we thought we’d get a couple more runs. That turned out to be the winning RBI. It was a crazy game.”

Posted in Sports1 Comment

Baseball Roundup: Eagles pound Leopards to improve to 4-1 in loop

Austin Givens drove in a pair of runs with a double as part of a seven-run third inning for the Decatur Eagles Friday in a 12-1 victory over Gainesville.

The Eagles (11-10-2) moved to 4-1 in District 9-3A with the victory.

Nick Trachta went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and double. Drew Edwards also had three hits.

Clayton Egle tossed a complete game, allowing a run on seven hits. He struck out six.

NORTHWEST 4, KELLER 3

Cayde Ward knocked in Alex Perez with a single in the bottom of the seventh Friday to give the Northwest Texans a 4-3 walk-off victory over Keller.

Ward drove in two runs, going 3-for-4.

Northwest’s Dustin May and Tristen DerMargosian held Keller to three runs on eight hits over seven innings.

May struck out four in his five and one-thirds of work. DerMargosian pitched one and two-thirds of scoreless relief.

CHICO 11, OLNEY 4

Brady North went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs as the Chico Dragons moved to 7-1 in District 9-A with an 11-4 victory over Olney Friday.

Marshall Anderle added two hits and a RBI. Kalan Johnson doubled for the Dragons’ lone extra-base hit.

Tyler Melton struck out five and limited Olney to five hits over seven innings.

PONDER 9, BOYD 0

Ponder’s Collin Knight held the Boyd Yellowjackets scoreless on four hits Friday in a 9-0 victory.

Anthony Spinelli had a pair of singles for Boyd.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Baseball Roundup: Bulls outlast delay for win

After storms brought a halt to the scoreless game on Tuesday, the Bridgeport Bulls went back to Gainesville Wednesday to find a pair of runs and their first District 9-3A win.

Bridgeport’s Jared Huff and Daniel Garcia drove in runs in the top of the sixth in a 2-0 victory for the Bulls (5-16, 1-3).

“We changed our approach going into Wednesday,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps. “We had the top hitters in our lineup coming to the plate in the sixth. Dalton Hudson, Erik Delgadillo and Daniel Garcia did a great job.”

Alex Samples held Gainesville scoreless over five and one-thirds, Tuesday, allowing five hits. He struck out 10.

Huff came on in relief Wednesday and allowed two hits in one and two-thirds scoreless innings.

“Alex was pitching very good on Tuesday,” Leps said. “Jared Huff did a great job coming on in relief and handling the pressure.”

PARADISE 12, MILLSAP 1

JD Pearson drove in three runs, including a two-run double in the fourth inning as the Paradise Panthers beat up Millsap 12-1 Tuesday.

Caiden Berry had two RBIs.

Jarret Holt earned the win, allowing a run on four hits in four innings with five strikeouts.

Dillon Meadows struck out six in two scoreless innings, allowing two hits.

CHICO 9, POOLVILLE 5

Brady North, Cameron Weatherly and Tyler Melton drove in two runs each as the Chico Dragons took down Poolville 9-5 Tuesday.

North went 3-for-4 with a triple. Jaston McBee finished 3-for-5 with a double and scored two runs.

North limited Poolville to five runs – four earned – on six hits over seven innings. He struck out one and walked four.

Chico improved to 13-3 and 7-1 in District 9-A.

PEASTER 14, BOYD 2

The Peaster Greyhounds scored nine runs in the first two innings and never let up in a 14-2 victory over Boyd Wednesday.

Cody Jacobs had Boyd’s lone extra-base hit, doubling. Cameron Schulte and Triston Furgerson scored Boyd’s two runs in the fifth.

KELLER 3, NORTHWEST 0

Keller’s Zach Aguayo blanked the Northwest Texans on five hits Tuesday in a 3-0 victory.

Aguayo struck out nine over his seven innings.

Dusty Cloud took the loss, allowing three runs – two earned – on seven hits in six innings.

Elijah Christenson tripled, and Tristen DerMargosian doubled for the Texans.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Indians hammer Eagles, take 9-3A lead

Mason Baur needed just five pitches to get the first two hitters of the bottom of the first out. But the Decatur starter could not keep the potent Sanger bats quiet any longer.

The Sanger Indians put together four straight hits, including back-to-back, run-producing triples to take an early 3-0 lead. The Indians kept piling up the hits and runs on their way to a 9-1 victory over the Decatur Eagles Tuesday in Sanger.

Getting in the Way

GETTING IN THE WAY – Decatur’s Christian Carrillo slid into second base in the second inning Tuesday to break up a double play. He was called for runner interference on the play. The Eagles went on to lose the game 9-1. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“Sanger is a good baseball team and good hitting team,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter. “They average 10 to 12 runs per game. You’ve got to compete every pitch against them.”

With the victory, Sanger (14-6-1) took over sole possession of the District 9-3A lead at the end of the first round at 4-0. Decatur (10-10-2) fell to second place at 3-1.

The loss also ended Decatur’s six-game winning streak.

“We’d played good baseball coming in,” Carter said. “We just need to focus on us. We can’t focus on anything else. A lot of things went against us tonight. They beat us in every phase. There’s a lot of baseball to go. We’ve got to back and fix things.”

Austen Lange and Julien Ly provided the big shots off Baur in the first with triples into the left-center field gap. Lange plated two. Ly, a freshman making his first district start, drove in the first of his two RBIs, hitting a ball past Clayton Egle at shortstop that rolled to the fence.

After giving up the three runs in the first, Baur battled into the fifth inning. Sanger picked up two runs on two hits and an error off him in the third and another run on a pair of hits in the fifth.

“I left a couple of pitches up with two strikes that I shouldn’t have,” Baur said.

“We just fell apart and started giving away runs. We didn’t play as good as we could have.”

Baur allowed six runs – five earned – on 10 hits with a strikeout and one walk in four and one-thirds innings.

Sanger added three runs in the sixth off Decatur reliever AJ Johnson, including Ted Wisdom’s RBI-double.

Sanger starter Logan Looper shut down the Decatur bats through five and one-third innings, allowing five hits and striking out three. He was charged with one run after Josh Jones singled in Austin Givens off Sanger reliever Wilding Smith.

Givens, who started his second straight game as the lead-off hitter, went 2-for-3 with a double.

He led off the game with an infield single. Cain Lowe followed with another infield single, but was doubled off on a shallow flyball by Nick Trachta to right field. After a strikeout of Jones, Looper was out of a potential first inning jam.

Looper gave up a lead-off single to Christian Carrillo in the second. He avoided trouble in the inning as Decatur was called for a batter interference and later runner interference, which resulted in an inning-ending double play.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Panther rally falls short; Catch in right saves game for Ponder

After his team rallied for seven runs in the bottom of the seventh Friday, Paradise’s Caiden Berry stepped to the plate with the tying runs at second and third.

On a 1-2 pitch, Berry drove a ball into the gap in right-center field for what looked to be his third double of the game. As Paradise runners rounded the bases on the sinking liner, Ponder’s lanky right fielder Josh Peterson made a headfirst dive toward center field to snag the ball inches before hitting the ground and finally securing the 11-9 Ponder victory.

Getting Away

GETTING AWAY – Paradise’s Austin Hogan watches the ball get by him on a throw to third Friday during the Panthers’ loss to Ponder. Hogan singled and scored in the Panthers’ seven-run rally in the bottom of the seventh that left them two runs short in an 11-9 decision. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Peterson’s catch ended Paradise’s rally from nine runs down in the final inning two runs short and dropped the Panthers (14-5-1) to 3-2 in District 9-2A.

“We’re fine. This doesn’t change anything,” said Paradise shortstop Jarret Holt. “We needed this. We were on a pedestal and needed to be knocked down a bit.”

Ponder delivered an early wake-up call with seven runs in the first two innings on three doubles among seven hits. Ponder built the lead to 11-1 in the top of the fifth.

Ponder starter Collin Knight held Paradise to a run on five hits over the first four-plus innings and came two outs from finishing off Paradise in the fifth.

Knight pitched six innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on seven hits.

“You have to give them credit. They played a great game,” said Paradise coach Mike Fehler. “No. 20 (Knight) pitched well for them.”

A one-out, RBI-double by Berry to right-center field scored Austin Hogan and kept the Panthers from being run-ruled.

With his team still alive, Jarret Holt, who took over in relief for Berry and Corbin Holt with one out in the fifth, silenced the Ponder bats. He pitched a scoreless and hitless final two and two-thirds.

“I was just throwing strikes,” Jarret Holt said. “That’s what we needed to do. We weren’t really changing up our pitches early.”

Down by nine runs entering the seventh, Hogan started the inning with an infield single and came in to score on a double by Colton Meadows. Berry brought Meadows home with a groundout to second.

The next seven Panthers reached base. Dillon Meadows pulled Paradise within three runs with a two-run single to center. He made it 11-9, scoring on a wild pitch.

Dillon Meadows went 3-for-5.

Paradise’s Sam Robinson and Hogan worked walks and moved to second and third.

Ponder went to its fourth pitcher of the inning Carson Knight with the tying runs aboard. He struck out Colton Meadows before Peterson made the final out to end the game with his play in right field.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Baseball Roundup: Maag homers as Alvord wins second straight

Kory Maag homered and drove in three runs Friday to lead the Alvord Bulldogs to a 15-5 pasting of Millsap.

The win improved Alvord to 9-11 and 2-4 in District 9-2A.

Lane Peace continued to swing a hot bat, driving in three runs, going 2-for-3 with a double. He also scored three runs.

Mason Clower and Bryce Bull added a pair of RBIs each.

Cassidy Patterson picked up the win, allowing five runs on eight hits with five strikeouts.

DECATUR 12, WACO VANGUARD 1

Austin Givens led off with a double and scored one of his four runs in the first inning Saturday to set the Decatur Eagles off to a 12-1 win over Waco Vanguard College Prep.

The non-district win extended the Eagles’ winning streak to six games and improved them to 10-9-2 on the season.

Givens went 4-for-4 and doubled three times. He doubled in a run in the Eagles’ six-run sixth inning that ended the game.

Nick Trachta also had a big day at the plate for the Eagles, going 2-for-4 with four RBIs.

Cain Lowe earned the win allowing one run on two hits over five innings. He struck out seven.

SANGER 5, BRIDGEPORT 2

Sanger scored three in the fourth inning and added a run in the fifth and seventh to get by the Bridgeport Bulls 5-2 Friday.

The loss dropped the Bulls to 4-16 and 0-3 in District 9-3A.

Daniel Garcia allowed four runs – one earned – in five innings on five hits. He struck out three.

“Daniel did a great job pitching throughout his five innings of work,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps. “We have to play a little better defense when we know our pitchers are going to throw a lot of ground balls.”

The Bulls made three errors leading to three unearned runs.

Alex Samples doubled and scored a run for the Bulls.

CHICO 6, ARCHER CITY 1

Tyler Melton held Archer City to a run on three hits over his seven innings Friday to lead Chico to a 6-1 win.

Chico improved to 12-3 and 6-1 in District 9-A.

The Dragons rallied from a 1-0 deficit with four runs in the fifth and two in sixth.

Melton and Jaston McBee drove in two runs each and doubled for the Dragons’ only extra-base hits.

RICHLAND 4, NORTHWEST 1

The Richland Rebels plated three runs in the first inning and held on for a 4-1 victory Friday over the Northwest Texans.

Four Richland pitchers held Northwest to a run on three hits and piled up 10 strikeouts.

Victor DeJesus knocked in the Texans’ lone run by Colin Rhodes in the fifth.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

No Peace for pitchers; Bulldog slugger hitting .564

No Peace for pitchers; Bulldog slugger hitting .564

In the batter’s box, Lane Peace has only one thought.

“In my mind, I’m about to hit the ball as hard as I can,” said the Alvord senior.

Powerful Bat

POWERFUL BAT – Alvord senior Lane Peace entered Friday’s game against Millsap hitting .564 for the season with four home runs and 25 RBIs. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Through the Bulldogs’ first 19 games, Peace is delivering on that mindset more often than not. Going into Alvord’s game against Millsap Friday, Peace was hitting a robust .564 in 55 at-bats. Of his 31 hits, 12 have gone for extra-bases, including four home runs and 25 RBIs.

His on-base percentage plus slugging is off the charts at 1.576.

Peace’s numbers are up drastically from his previous two varsity seasons. As a sophomore, he hit .383 with 12 RBIs. Last year, he batted .388 with 21 RBIs and four home runs.

“Last year, I hit around .390 but felt like I was missing some power,” Peace said. “I worked out over the offseason and put on 10 pounds.”

The added muscle has been evident. He’s equaled his home run total from last year with seven games still left in the season.

“This year, I have a lot more power and am driving the ball more,” Peace said. “I’m making more solid contact even on my outs.”

Peace has set a goal of seven home runs.

“Hopefully, I can get there,” he said.

In building his impressive numbers, Peace is not just feasting on lesser pitching. He’s hit the best against some of the top pitchers in the area. Against top-ranked Brock, Peace went 3-for-3 with a double to left-center field and drove in two runs.

He hit a two-run homer off Paradise ace Dillon Meadows, clearing the left-field fence for the Bulldogs’ only runs.

Peace said he looks forward to the challenge of facing quality hurlers such as Meadows and the pitchers on the Brock staff.

“I play select ball all summer and get to see good pitchers,” Peace said. “I like to face good guys. I struggle more with the slow pitchers.”

Even against the better pitchers, he feels he has the advantage.

“I’m not scared. The pitcher has to throw [a strike],” Peace explains. “If you are on time with it, you are going to hit and make a solid connection.”

Along with being a nightmare at the plate for pitchers, Peace has also been a terror on the basepaths. He is perfect on 10 stolen-base attempts.

“I like running the bases as much as hitting,” Peace said. “I enjoy everything in the game.”

Defensively, Peace moved from second base to shortstop this season.

“I like the move,” he said. “There’s more to cover and there’s more plays.”

Peace is also giving the Bulldogs solid innings on the mound. He picked up the win in the team’s 6-5 victory over Ponder Monday.

“I’ve struggled some, pitching,” Peace admitted. “Against Ponder, I was more in control.”

Peace is hoping to help guide a young team back into the 9-3A playoff hunt in the second half of district play.

“Everyone is trying hard, and we still have a chance,” he said. “I’m just trying to help out and do what I can. We have a young team, but a good attitude.”

Peace’s good bat, and mindset, also helps give the team a chance.

Posted in Features, Sports1 Comment

Lowe’s gamble pays off

When the slow ground ball left Josh Jones’ bat, Decatur’s Cain Lowe took a gamble and raced home from third base.

“I thought it was a slow-hit ball and it would have to be a perfect throw to get me, so I took my chances,” Lowe said.

The gamble paid off as Lowe crossed the plate ahead of the throw and tag of Bridgeport catcher Mason Baker to give the Decatur Eagles the 9-8 victory over the Bulls in nine innings at Eagle Field Tuesday.

“We had to overcome a little adversity, but we stuck together as a team and got the win,” said Lowe, who went 1-for-5 with his lone hit a single to lead off the ninth.

The victory extended Decatur’s winning streak to five games and put them at .500 for the season at 9-9-2.

Decatur rallied from a 3-0 deficit and took a 7-3 lead. But the Eagles could not hold it and fell behind 8-7 going into the bottom of the seventh. A Bridgeport error allowed Nick Trachta to get on base, then he stole home when Baker threw to first to complete a strikeout, sending the game to extra innings.

“We were real fortunate tonight,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter. “We did not play our best baseball. But the kids kept working and going one pitch and one at-bat at a time.”

It was not a crisp game for Bridgeport, either. The Bulls committed four errors and failed to execute several sacrifice bunts in another close loss.

“This is our 13th one-run loss,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps. “We’re giving ourselves a chance to win. We’re just not able to do the simple things – execute a rundown, not putting a bunt down.”

Bridgeport’s final error proved costly as freshman relief pitcher James Gray had Lowe, who led off the ninth with a single, picked off first. In the rundown, the ball got away from the Bulls, allowing the speedy Lowe to reach third.

“I got the sign from coach to steal and got too anxious,” Lowe said. “I got lucky they happened to throw it away.”

Gray took the loss after four and two-thirds of work, allowing just two hits and two unearned runs. He took over for Alex Samples in the middle of the fifth after the starter allowed six hits and four earned runs.

“For a freshman to come into that situation, he did a great job,” Leps said. “He got the ground ball he needed at the end. We didn’t make the play.”

Bridgeport jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third with a two-run single to left-center field by Erik Delgadillo, who went 3-for-5, and a run-scoring groundout by Daniel Garcia.

The Eagles erased the Bulls’ lead in the fourth inning. After Christian Carrillo worked a one-out walk, AJ Johnson, Drew Edwards and Clayton Egle followed with singles. Austin Givens then put the Eagles ahead with a two-run triple into the left-center field gap.

“His bat is coming around and he hit some balls hard tonight that were outs,” Carter said about Givens.

Givens also made five putouts in center field, including his diving catch to rob Bridgeport’s Dalton Hudson of a hit in the fifth inning.

“He made some fantastic plays in the outfield,” Carter said.

Decatur added three runs in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of a pair of walks, a balk and an error. Egle drove in one of the runs with a double to right to make it 7-3.

But that lead was not safe. Bridgeport plated three in the top of the sixth, including two on bases-loaded walks issued by Egle.

Egle threw five and one-third, allowing six runs – two earned – with two walks and four strikeouts.

Carter gave the ball to Mason Baur, who got the final two outs of the inning and kept Decatur ahead 7-6.

Baur, who won the game March 21 over Krum, pitched the final three and two-thirds Tuesday, allowing two runs on two hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Bridgeport scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to grab the 8-7 lead. Gray executed a squeeze but to bring home Samples. Then Garcia scored on a balk to give the Bulls the short-lived advantage.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Baseball Roundup: Dragons crush Bryson

The Chico Dragons scored nine runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 24-2 win over Bryson Tuesday.

Chase Riddles drove in five runs for the Dragons (11-3, 5-1), going 3-for-3 with a double. Brady North, Jaston McBee and Jericoe McGuire had three RBIs each.

On the mound, North allowed two runs on three hits. He struck out five and walked two.

TIMBER CREEK 2, NORTHWEST 1

Keller Timber Creek’s Isaac Schlabach struck out 12 and limited Northwest to two hits over a scoreless five and two-thirds Tuesday.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Decatur extends winning streak to 4

The Decatur Eagles started the season 4-9-2, playing against some of the area’s top teams at the North Texas Tournament of Champions and the Princeton Tournament.

But those opening struggles have given way to the Eagles’ recent surge at the start of District 9-3A play. With an 11-5 victory over Krum Friday, Decatur (8-9-2) moved to a league-best 2-0 and extended its winning streak to four games.

Decatur coach Chris Carter credits that tough opening stretch for some of the success the team is now experiencing.

“We faced some good teams and saw some good pitching and tough hitting. There’s not much that can be thrown at us that we haven’t seen,” Carter said. “We didn’t get down after the two tough tournaments. We kept focused on what’s important – and improving.”

The Decatur bats have come alive during the streak. The Eagles had 11 hits last week in the 5-4 victory over Gainesville, including Nick Trachta’s walk-off homer. In Friday’s win over Krum, Decatur pounded out 16 hits, including three each for Mason Baur and Drew Edwards.

“It was our best hitting game of the season,” Carter said. “The kids have gained confidence that maybe they didn’t have early in the season. They are focusing on having quality at-bats and are not worried about average or striking out.”

Baur gave the Eagles six scoreless innings on the mound, striking out 11 and allowing three hits. He issued two walks.

Baur’s strong start followed the complete game win by Clayton Egle against Gainesville last week.

“They are throwing the ball good,” Carter said. “They are focused on throwing strikes, and we are playing good defense behind them.”

The Eagles took on rival Bridgeport at home Tuesday and will close the first half of 9-3A play April 1 at Sanger.

“It’s important to get off to a quick start,” Carter said. “But it’s more important how you finish.”

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Login

Username:

Password:


Recover password | Create an Account