UIL academic team snags 2nd

Led by its team of journalists that captured first and second in headline and news writing, Paradise brought home second place at the District 9-3A University Interscholastic League Academic meet Friday.

Paradise piled up 280 points. Holliday won the sweepstakes trophy with 586.

“We were excited. We were in a tougher district with a couple of schools we usually compete with at the regional level,” said Paradise UIL coordinator Megayla O’Rear. “Holliday last year at district was 500 points ahead of second place.

“We talked with the kids that they had to work a little harder, and they did,” she said. “I’m very proud of them.”

Paradise students won titles in three events – news writing, headline writing and chemistry. Paradise brought home the journalism team award.

Paradise will advance 15 students to the 3A Region II meet April 23-25 at Tyler Junior College.

“We have a lot of good coaches in different events,” O’Rear said. “We were able to take students to several invitational meets and work with them. It paid off.”

Juliana Smith and Jamie Talley took the gold and silver medals in headline writing. Bailee Miller and Avery Caddell pulled off the same feat in news writing.

Faith Blankenship garnered second in feature writing to give Paradise a fifth medal in journalism.

Zachary Loney won Paradise’s third gold medal in chemistry.

Austin Medlin took silver medals in calculator applications and persuasive speaking.

The Paradise calculator applications squad along with the speech and number sense teams finished second.

Nicholas Loney in current issues, Tryston Webb in computer applications, Tanner Aberl in informative speaking, Carlos Powers in number sense and Sarah Horton in ready writing brought home bronze medals.


Paradise’s cast and crew in “Twelfth Night or a What You Will” earned a spot at bi-district with its performance last week at the 9-3A One-Act Play contest.

Paradise, Nocona and Bowie were the three productions to advance.

Paradise’s Michael Hasty earned all-star cast as Sir Toby Belch.

Andrew Alexander garnered honorable mention with his work as Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

Stage manager Heather McDuff received all-star crew.


Team: 1. Holliday 586, 2. Paradise 280, 3. City View 216, 4. Bowie 110, 5. Henrietta 85, 6. Jacksboro 72, 7. Nocona 59, 8. Boyd 10

Calculator Applications: 2. Austin Medlin, Paradise; 5. Hunter Anthony, Paradise

Calculator Applications Team: 2. Paradise

Current Issues: 3. Nicholas Loney, Paradise

Computer Applications: 3. Tryston Webb, Paradise; 4. Hunter Anthony, Paradise

Computer Science: 3. Hunter Anthony, Paradise; 6. Caiden Berry, Paradise

Editorial Writing: 2. Faith Blankenship, Paradise

Feature Writing: 6. Jamie Talley, Paradise

Headline Writing: 1. Julianna Smith, Paradise; 2. Jamie Talley, Paradise; 6. Avery Caddell, Paradise

Informative Speaking: 3. Tanner Aberl, Paradise

Mathematics: 4. Caiden Berry, Paradise; 5. Nicholas Loney, Paradise; 6. Braden Thomas, Boyd

Number Sense: 3. Carlos Powers, Paradise

Number Sense Team: 2. Paradise

News Writing: 1. Bailee Miller, Paradise; 2. Avery Caddell, Paradise; 4. Allison Rutledge, Paradise

Journalism Team: 1. Paradise

Persuasive Speaking: 2. Austin Medlin, Paradise; 5. Jada McCoy-Reynolds, Paradise; 6. Jacob Branscum, Paradise

Poetry Interpretation: 4. Faith Blankenship, Paradise

Prose Interpretation: 5. Cheyanne Alvarez, Paradise

Speech: 2. Paradise

Ready Writing: 3. Sara Horton, Paradise

Chemistry: 1. Zachary Loney, Paradise

Social Studies: 5. Trever Shuker, Paradise

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Baseball: Boyd bats beat up pair

The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets’ offense piled up the runs Friday and Saturday in wins over Jacksboro and Bowie.

Boyd hammered Jacksboro 15-0 Friday and turned around and beat Bowie 10-4 the following day.

Boyd moved to 13-4 and 5-1 in District 9-3A with the two wins.

The Lady Yellowjackets pounded out 13 hits against Jacksboro.

Chelsea Arlington blasted a home run and drove in three runs. Chandler Hammon and Britney Howard knocked in three runs each and doubled.

Boyd scored eight runs in the first and six in the third.

Hammon struck out two and allowed three hits in three innings.

Against Bowie, the Lady Yellowjackets pushed across two runs in the third and three more in the fourth to take control of the game.

Boyd had to overcome six errors, including four in one inning.

Arlington kept Boyd in the game, allowing four runs – one earned – on six hits over six innings. She struck out four.

Kristin Rasbury went 3-for-3 and scored three runs. Savannah Foster, Howard, Kaytlin Bullard and Kassidy Lester drove in two runs each. Foster, Bullard and Lester doubled.


Mikena Mader belted a pair of homers and drove in six runs Friday in the Alvord Lady Bulldogs’ 16-1 win over Chico.

Alvord scored 11 runs in the first and five in the third.

Mader pitched three innings, allowing five hits and striking out four.

Brittany Gayler added three hits for Alvord. Kaely Beaver went 2-for-3 with a triple.

Alli York went 2-for-2 and scored a run for Chico.

The Lady Dragons fell to Valley View 14-0 Monday. Destinee Hardee had a double.


Holliday used a three-run sixth inning to get past Paradise 10-8 Friday.

The loss dropped Paradise from its solo hold on first place in District 9-3A and into a three-way tie with Holliday and Boyd at 5-1.

Paradise committed three errors.

Allie Rutledge went 3-for-5 and scored a run. Kailey Thomas finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs.


Tuesday DerMargosian doubled, going 2-for-2 and scoring three runs in the Northwest Lady Texans’ 5-2 win over Denton Ryan Friday.

Rhianna Speicher drove in a pair of runs on two hits. Sydnee Hickle, Kelsey Rhine and Emily Worley added RBIs.

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Baseball: Yellowjackets hold off Millsap

The Boyd Yellowjackets scored five runs in the first three innings to take a 5-0 lead over Millsap Saturday afternoon.

The Bulldogs rattled off five runs in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game.

The Yellowjackets showed their resolve by continuing to score, racking up three runs in the fourth and another four runs in the final three innings.

After holding Millsap scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, the Bulldogs rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Boyd held on for the 12-9 win.

Colton Batterton went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a home run. Cameron Clark also drove in a pair of runs.

Hayden Ford got the win with his two and two-thirds innings. Evan Stephenson, Colton Meadows and Colton Bruce also took the mound for Boyd.


Chico and Perrin-Whitt were tied at 6-6 heading into the sixth inning when Tyler Melton hit a grand slam that fueled the Dragons to victory.

Melton had two doubles to go with the grand slam in Chico’s 12-7 win Monday.

Melton was also called in for some damage control on the mound after Jeremy Blanks allowed four earned runs, throwing 105 pitches in four innings.

Blanks struck out seven of the batters. Melton delivered five outs with four strikeouts and no hits or earned runs to fuel a comeback.

Kalan Johnson finished things off on the mound with a solid inning.

The Dragons were down 3-0 before a pair of runs in the third inning and another in the fourth had the teams tied.

The tie continued when they both scored three in the fifth.

But a six-run sixth inning, led by Melton’s heroics, put the game out of reach for the Pirates.

Blanks also had a big day at the plate, driving in two runs with a triple.


Despite throwing solid five innings with seven strikeouts, no earned runs and two hits, John Bridgeman couldn’t overcome the five Paradise errors that led to three unearned Holliday runs.

The Panthers were down 3-2 in the fifth, but Holliday exploded with four runs in the sixth. The Eagles held the Panthers scoreless in the top of the seventh to close the game out.

Austin Hogan and Sam Robinson each drove in a run for Paradise in the loss.


Northwest had two outs and were tied 3-3 with Denton Guyer when things took a turn for the worse for the Texans.

In the bottom of the sixth, two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Guyer.

Still, with two outs it seemed there was still a chance Northwest could escape the inning unscathed.

But Dustin May lost some accuracy and hit the next batter to walk home the go-ahead run.

Guyer then doubled for two runs and scored again before the Texans could end the rally.

The climb back proved too massive for the Texans with only one inning to go. Guyer held Northwest scoreless in the top of the seventh to get the 7-3 victory.

Dodger Gilliland’s lone hit was a two-run homer that tied things up for the Texans in the top of the sixth.

It was one of only three hits Northwest could conjure against the stingy Guyer pitching.

The Texans did keep things close for most of the game with solid defense, committing only one error in the contest.


The Olney Cubs picked up a win over Alvord Friday, 8-3.

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Track: Lady Panthers capture relays

Led by Kyndall McCasland, Taylor Richards and a dominant relay performance, the Paradise Lady Panthers beat Graham by 15 points to take first place at the Jacksboro Invitational Thursday.

TAKING FLIGHT – Bridgeport’s Bailey Thompson takes off in the triple jump during the Jacksboro meet Thursday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

McCasland posted a 49.42 in the 300 hurdles to take first place at the meet and Taylor Richards won gold in the long jump and third in the triple jump.

The Lady Panthers relay teams took first in the 4×100 and 4×200, and got the silver in the 4×400.

Other top finishers include Slidell’s Caitlin Pruett who won the 800 with a time of 2:33.01, and Boyd’s Linsay Thorpe won the gold in the discus and silver in the shot put.

For the boys, Chris Hernandez took his second consecutive gold medal in the high jump, clearing 6 foot for Bridgeport, and his teammate Eric Aguilar got the silver in the 1600 and 3200.

The Paradise boys’ 45.17 was good for a gold medal in the 4×100.


Boys team results: 3. Bridgeport, 4. Paradise, 6. Boyd, 11. Chico

100: 2. Austin Hogan, Paradise, 11.30; 6. Cash Preather, Paradise, 11.78; 9. Zildjian Brooks, Paradise, 11.85; 12. Roger Mastin, Bridgeport, 12.04; 14. Keenan Holdman, Bridgeport, 12.18; 16. Frank Williams, Chico, 12.25; 20. Cameron Starnes, Chico, 12.54; 21. Caleb Smith, Bridgeport, 12.56; 22. Justin Milligan, Boyd, 12.59; 23. Jesse Neagle, Chico, 12.60

200: 3. Troy Thompson, Boyd, 24.04; 5. Xavier Kyle, Boyd, 24.55; 9. Nick Loney, Paradise, 24.95; 11. Chris Hernandez, Bridgeport, 24.98; 15. Ethan Chapman, Bridgeport, 25.63; 16. Dillon McAlister, Bridgeport, 25.65; 17. Jesse Neagle, Chico, 25.73; 19. Frank Williams, Chico, 25.85; 20. Jayston McBee, Chico, 25.93, 21. Brayden Ford, Paradise, 26.00; 27. Tyler Arozemena, Paradise, 27.70

400: 7. Conner Snell, Paradise, 57.44; 10. Ryan Dunn, Bridgeport, 57.87; 12. Francisco Martinez, Slidell, 58.30; 13. Cameron Hammett, Boyd, 59.06; 14. Jacob Roper, Bridgeport, 59.08; 16. Brayden Ford, Paradise, 59.54; 17. Kyler Carnes, Slidell, 1:00.78; 19. Walker Gladden, Slidell, 1:00.97; 20. Isaiah Williams, Chico, 1:01.45; 22. Brady North, Chico, 1:03.26; 23. Keeton Ford, Boyd, 1:03.67; 24. Tyler Hamblin, Bridgeport, 1:04.43; 25. Tyler Arozemena, Paradise, 1:04.97

800: 6. Conner Snell, Paradise, 2:20.20

1600: 2. Eric Aguilar, Bridgeport, 4:48.87; 5. Aaron Hammett, Boyd, 4:57.39; 6. Salvador Garcia, Bridgeport, 5:00.81

3200: 2. Eric Aguilar, Bridgeport, 10:49.62; 3. Marco Martinez, Boyd, 10:50.07; 4. Aaron Hammett, Boyd, 10:54.72; 5. Salvador Garcia, Bridgeport, 11:10.16; 6. Nathan Garcia, Boyd, 11:10.26

110 hurdles: 9. Grayson Cobb, Paradise, 18.15; 11. Colton Crane, Slidell, 20.06; 12. Tyler Sparks, Chico, 21.69; 13. Jace Hardee, Chico, 21.85

300 hurdles: 3. Tyler Raby, Bridgeport, 43.58; 8. Grayson Cobb, Paradise, 48.42; 9. Colton Crane, Slidell, 50.66, 11. Tyler Sparks, Chico, 55.67; 12. Jace Hardee, Chico, 1:04.20

4×100: 1. Paradise, 45.17; 3. Boyd, 45.70; 4. Bridgeport, 45.86; 5. Chico, 46.35; 6. Bowie, 47.18

4×200: 3. Boyd, 1:34.95; 4. Paradise, 1:35.60; 5. Bridgeport, 1:37.34; 8. Chico, 1:38.54; 10. Slidell, 1:48.61

4×400: 4. Paradise, 3:38.08; 6. Bridgeport, 3:39.04; 8. Chico, 3:50.94

High Jump: 1. Chris Hernandez, Bridgeport, 6-00; 5. Brayden Ford, Paradise, 5-06

Pole Vault: 3. Zildjian Brooks, Paradise, 10-06

Long Jump: 2. Seth Keener, Bridgeport, 19-03; 3. Cash Preather, Paradise, 19-02.50; 5. Ryan Dunn, Bridgeport, 18-11; 7. Darian Sotomi, Paradise, 18-10; 8. Kalen Johnson, Chico, 18-09.25; 11. Jacob Roper, Bridgeport, 17-11.50; 12. Crese Redman, Chico, 17-03.75; 13. Corbin Blackwood, Chico, 17-02.50; 17. Khristian Talamantes, Slidell, 15-09.75

Triple Jump: 3. Cash Preather, Paradise, 40-07; 4. Tyler Raby, Bridgeport, 40-00.75; 5. Chase Williams, Bridgeport, 39-11; 6. Caleb Smith, Bridgeport, 39-05

Shot Put: 3. Anthony Ortiz, Bridgeport, 44-01

Discus: 6. Anthony Ortiz, Bridgeport, 110-06.50


Girls team results: 1. Paradise, 6. Bridgeport, 10. Slidell, 12. Boyd, 13. Chico

100: 10. Courtney Cline, Paradise, 14.03; 19. Shelby Preston, Bridgeport, 14.77; 20. Ayesha Parr, Chico, 14.78; 21. Allison Maddux, Chico, 15.03; 22. Morgan Abbot, Boyd, 15.04; 26. Sydnie Parketon, Chico, 15.51; 27. Vanity Johnson, Bridgeport, 16.11

200: 2. Aliya Read, Paradise, 27.64; 3. Allie Raby, Bridgeport, 27.69; 12. Courtney Cline, Paradise, 29.00; 13. Brandi Anderson, Bridgeport, 29.51; 20. Britton Petty, Chico, 30.14; 21. Hunter Rodgers, Paradise, 30.27; 22. Bailee Harris, Boyd, 30.54; 26. Macie Lingle, Chico, 31.07; 30. Jessica Byers, Chico, 32.43

400: 5. Mikaela Beck, Paradise, 1:05.51; 6. Caitlin Pruett, Slidell, 1:06.64; 8. Hunter Rodgers, Paradise, 1:06.98; 9. Kaitlyn Robinson, Paradise, 1:08.86; 12. Bailey Thompson, Bridgeport, 1:10.04; 18. Laynee North, Chico, 1:12.38; 20. Brandi Anderson, Bridgeport, 1:12.52; 25. Kayler Talamantes, Slidell, 1:14.19; 26. Jessica Byers, Chico, 1:14.37; 27. Sofia Scott, Boyd, 1:15.29; 28. Kiley Marburger, Chico, 1:19.71

800: 1. Caitlin Pruett, Slidell, 2:33.01; 3. Diana Garcia, Bridgeport, 2:36.26; 6. Taylor Richards, Paradise, 2:40.84

1600: 3. April Courtney, Paradise, 6:07.23; 4. Hannah Pearson, Paradise, 6:07.40

3200: 2. Hannah Pearson, Paradise, 13:17.40

100 hurdles: 4. Stormi Lamb, Paradise, 17.76; 10. Alli York, Chico, 18.62; 11. Amber French, Paradise, 18.69; 13. Whitney Renfro, Chico, 19.56; 14. Raven Leal, Chico, 20.61; 15. Sydney Keating, Slidell, 21.16; 16. Kylie Franklin, Slidell, 21.27; 18. Brooklyn Rambsel, Slidell, 21.97

300 hurdles: 1. Kyndall McCasland, Paradise, 49.42; 2. Courtney Cline, Paradise, 51.11; 4. Kayson Roof, Slidell, 52.48; 7. Stormi Lamb, Paradise, 53.26; 8. Whitney Renfro, Chico, 53.36; 10. Sadie White, Bridgeport, 54.30; 11. Kristain Bowen, Boyd, 55.52; 16. Raven Leal, Chico, 57.37; 17. Sydney Keating, Slidell, 1:01.08; 19. Brooklyn Rambsel, Slidell, 1:03.44

4×100: 1. Paradise, 52.49; 5. Bridgeport, 53.96; 6. Chico, 58.35

4×200: 1. Paradise, 1:50.63; 6. Chico, 2:02.70; 7. Slidell, 2:09.64

4X400: 2. Paradise, 4:19.50; 4. Bridgeport, 4:30.80; 7. Boyd, 4:39.87; 9. Slidell, 4:46.08; 10. Chico, 4:52.03

Pole Vault: 2. Kayson Roof, Slidell, 7-06; 4. Britton Petty, Chico, 7-00

Long Jump: 1. Taylor Richards, Paradise, 16-06.5; 4. Bailey Thomas, Bridgeport, 16-04.5

Triple Jump: 3. Taylor Richards, Paradise, 33-10; 4. Allie Raby, Bridgeport, 33-10; 7. Amber French, Paradise, 32-02; 8. Kaitlyn Robinson, Paradise, 32-00; 11. Alli York, Chico, 30-09; 13. Shelby Preston, Bridgeport, 29-07; 15. Macie Lingle, Chico, 26-02

Shot Put: 2. Lindsey Thorpe, Boyd, 35-05; 6. Bailee Miller, Paradise, 31-05; 7. McKenna Flake, Chico, 28-00; 9. Natalie Smith, Bridgeport, 27-10; 11. Jessica Redwine, Chico, 27-01; 11. Samantha Hancock, Bridgeport, 27-01; 14. Ashtin Cozby, Boyd, 25-08; 17. Bailey Hornsby, Chico, 25-01; 19. Kaitlyn Melvin, Paradise, 23-07

Discus: 1. Lindsey Thorpe, Boyd, 86-05; 3. Sadie Freeman, Chico, 83-03

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Softball: Bridgeport blanks Lake Worth

Hailey Hollingsworth struck out seven and allowed only four hits Tuesday, leading the Bridgeport Sissies to a 10-0 victory over Lake Worth.

Hollingsworth drove in two runs at the plate and doubled.

Ryhan Read knocked in three runs. Melissa Manjaraz and Taby Rivera had a RBI each.


Chelsea Arlington homered twice and drove in four runs as the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets beat Henrietta 6-2 Tuesday.

Chandler Hammon added a double.

In the circle, Arlington struck out seven and walked two, allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings.


Reagan Taylor doubled and drove in two runs as the Paradise Lady Panthers stayed unbeaten in District 9-3A Tuesday with a 7-2 victory over Bowie.

Bailey Higgins added a double and RBI.

Taylor held Bowie to four hits and two runs – one earned – in seven innings. She struck out seven.


Alvord’s four-run rally in the sixth was not enough in a 10-9 loss to Lindsay Tuesday.

Alvord piled up 14 hits.

Kaely Beaver homered and knocked in two runs. Ashton Peterson finished with four RBIs. Brittany Gayler tripled and doubled, going 3-for-4.


The Collinsville Lady Pirates scored seven runs in the fourth in a 17-1 victory over the Chico Lady Dragons.

Laynee North collected the Lady Dragons’ lone RBI, driving in Destinee Hardee. Kylie Marburger had a double.


Timber Creek rode a three-run, sixth-inning rally to a 5-3 victory over the Northwest Lady Texans Tuesday.

Sydnee Hinkle doubled and drove in two runs for the Lady Texans. McKenzie Middlebrook finished 3-for-3 and scored a run.

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Softball: Errors plague Bulls in loss

Six errors sunk the Bridgeport Bulls Tuesday in a 7-4 loss to Lake Worth in the 8-4A opener.

“We had a really bad third inning where no one could make a routine play,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps.

Corbin Coleman took the hard-luck loss, allowing seven runs – none earned – on four hits in four innings. Jared Huff pitched two scoreless innings.

Hayden Sutherland went 2-for-3 and scored a run.


Jaston McBee, Tyler Melton and Michael Galindo drove in two runs each as the Chico Dragons cruised to a 15-2 win over Poolville Tuesday.

Chico needed six hits for the 15 runs, collecting 14 walks.

Melton earned the win, allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out eight.


Bowie scored two in the sixth and one in the seventh to beat the Paradise Panthers 3-2 Tuesday.

Bryson Myers held Bowie to three runs on five hits over six and two-thirds. He struck out five and walked four.

J.D. Pearson doubled and drove in a run. Austin Hogan finished 2-for-4 with a double.

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Douglas Ray Wood

Douglas Ray Wood

Douglas Ray Wood, 56, of Paradise died Tuesday, March 24, in Decatur.

Funeral was March 27 at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport with Ray Cook officiating. Burial followed at Cottondale Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Rick Caruthers, Joe Webb, Chris Caruthers, Jimmy Gentry, Wally Gentry and Randall Holley.

Douglas was born Dec. 14, 1958, in Bridgeport to Jimmie Douglas and Edna (Niblett) Wood. For many years, he owned and operated Wood Dozer Service in Bridgeport.

He was a man who loved to fish, hunt, cook and work crossword puzzles. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge in Bridgeport.

Douglas was preceded in death by his father and grandparents.

He is survived by daughters Amanda Webb and husband, Joe, and Stephanie Nelson and husband, Justin; mother Edna Wood; sister Debby Caruthers and husband, Rick; grandchildren Riley and Chloe Webb and Bryson and Wyatt Nelson.

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Baseball: Strong return – Bridgeman turns in solid starts after arm surgery

John Bridgeman dominated Henrietta hitters, allowing a single hit in five scoreless innings of work Friday night.

For Bridgeman, the showing was more than just a victory for him and the Paradise Panthers. It was a significant milestone that proved he was fully back after missing an entire season following arm surgery.

READY TO FIRE – Paradise’s John Bridgeman has allowed just one run on two hits in 10 innings for the Panthers this season after returning from Tommy John surgery. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It felt good. I had pitched in a tournament but going into Friday I was nervous that I wouldn’t be where I needed,” Bridgeman said.

After helping the Panthers in relief as a freshman, Bridgeman had hoped to become a part of the rotation as a sophomore. Then during a throwing session in December, Bridgeman felt something give in his elbow.

“I heard a pop,” Bridgeman recalled.

The pitcher received the dreaded diagnosis that he had torn the ulnar collateral ligament. He underwent Tommy John surgery, the operation to repair the UCL named after the former major league pitcher who was the first to undergo it.

“It was bad. It hurt more mentally knowing I was going to miss a full year of baseball,” Bridgeman said.

While the Panthers fought their way into the playoffs last spring before falling to eventual state champion Sunnyvale, Bridgeman went through an intensive rehab.

“You do a lot with bands and a lot of leg workouts to get your whole body stronger,” Bridgeman said. “It’s hard and intense. But it’s worth it to get back to where you were.”

Bridgeman actually returned stronger, picking up three to four mph on his fastball.

“I’m actually stronger,” he said.

The showing against Henrietta was Bridgeman’s second impressive start of the season. He held West, ranked No. 7 in 3A, to one run on one hit in five innings, striking out seven.

Bridgeman has allowed one run on two hits in 10 innings of work. He’s struck out 13 and walked five.

“I’ve been impressed. He’s worked hard to get where he is,” said Paradise coach Mike Fehler.

“He came out and threw the ball well against West. That was a real confidence boost. He’s got good velocity and his offspeed stuff really helps his fastball.”

Fehler said Bridgeman is not on a strict pitch count. He threw 82 pitches in the five innings against Henrietta.

“The 82 in five innings is good for us,” Fehler said. “It allowed us to get to the bullpen.

“Mentally that’s the biggest thing to get over. But he’s not worried about [the arm]. I asked him the day after he threw and he said he felt great.”

Bridgeman’s comeback provides depth to a Paradise pitching staff that lost its top arm – senior Dillon Meadows. The TCU-signee underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and is not expected to throw this spring for the Panthers.

“We lost a huge asset and another kid stepped up,” Fehler said.

Bridgeman has also tried to give Meadows, who is playing first base for the Panthers, advice.

“I’ve just told him he’s got to keep up with the therapy,” Bridgeman said. “It’s worth it.”

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Baseball: Panthers shut out Henrietta

A masterful pitching performance and steady offense fueled the Paradise Panthers in their dominant 8-0 win over the Henrietta Bearcats Friday night.

Paradise starter John Bridgeman pitched five innings, allowing a single hit and no runs, while also going 1-for-2 at the plate and driving in a run for the Panthers.

Paradise opened with a 2-0 lead out of the gate and scored six runs over the final four innings.

The Panthers managed 10 hits and no errors in the rout.

Bryson Meyers picked up where Bridgeman left off after coming in relief.

Meyers threw two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and walking none.

Austin Hogan and Skyler Black were the two offensive stars for the Panthers.

Hogan drove in three runs, going 3-for-4 at the plate, while Black hit a two-run homer.


Paradise … 200 … 121 … 2 … 8 … 10 … 0
Henrietta … 000 … 000 … 0 … 0 … 2 … 2

WP: John Bridgeman 5 IP, 6 K, 5 BB, 0 ER

LP: Max 4.1 IP, 3 K, 5 BB, 2 ER

Paradise: Austin Hogan 3-4, 3 RBI; Sam Robinson 2-3; Skyler Black 1-2, 2 RBI, HR

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Softball: Taylor shuts down Cats – Pitcher strikes out 15

Reagan Taylor struck out 15 batters, keeping the Paradise Lady Panthers unbeaten in District 9-3A with a 3-0 win over Henrietta.

Taylor allowed just three hits in seven scoreless innings and walked seven.

At the plate, Taylor doubled for one of the Lady Panthers’ seven hits. Shelby Barclay drove in two runs with her triple in the fourth. Jett Preather collected the Lady Panthers’ other RBI.


Paradise … 000 … 210 … 0 … 3 … 7 … 2
Henrietta … 000 … 000 … 0 … 0 … 3 … 0

WP: Reagan Taylor; LP: Campbell

3B – Paradise, Shelby Barclay. 2B – Paradise, Taylor. RBIs – Barclay 2, Jett Preather

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Paradise Intermediate School Fourth Six Weeks Honor Roll


FOURTH GRADE – Kamryn Baker, Matthew Benson, Kaden Bernal, Georgia Black, Kailee Buyers, Dean Caddell, Brooklyn Cathey, Cooper Davidson, Nevaeh Davis, Emma Dowling, Ross Edwards, Avery Felton, Brissa Fernandez, Natalie Forsyth, Bryson Gibson, Aubree Godwin, Dalila Gonzalez, Leonardo Hernandez, Jaxen Herrington, Cade Hogan, Emma Nelson, Ashley Norvell, Harold Oberg, Carlos Perez, Mason Pettifield, Keegan Plunket, Marenda Pollard, Hailey Roberson, Jason Rose, Madyson Stevenson, Hunter Sutton, Breanna Thomas, Jessinia Torres, Levi Waggoner, Allison Warren, Samuel Wiley and Summer Wylie.

FIFTH GRADE – Leslie Colbert, Callie Davis, Emily Fraser, Levi Goodman, Brylee Hawkins, Kieran Hunter, Julia Karg, Kyler Kelsey, Dustin Meadows, Brady Nelson, Lane Nelson, Cade Pearson, Brayden Philips, Abigayle Schaefer, Corey Schaefer, Carter Stainton and Jessie Wright.


FOURTH GRADE – Grant Adams, Britton Barnett, Grayson Beauvais, Kammie Bennet, Kya Bennet, Kynzee Bingham, Braian Butler, Jennifer Chavez-Romo, Will Crawford, Mason Cross, Kreece Dearing, Mykayla Derouin, Keaton Dillinder, Rafe Foreman, Calvin Gage, Mason Gauna, Grace Gonzales, Parker Hardcastle, Lane Harding, Natalee Hasty, Nathan Hill, Zadie Holland, Kynlee Holt, Libraty King, Kylie Knox, Tradyn Lambert, Cole Livesay, Randon Logenbaugh, Kennith McCauley, Chase McDowell, Christian Mott, Lorenzo Pineda, Jordan Piper, Savannah Pope, Brandt Rasco, Kaydence Rogers, Bowen Rose, Cameron Shipp, Justin Sires, Jayden Smith, Ethan Swan, River Tierney, Santiago Villalobos, Mikah Winters, Carter Woodruff, Cazen Woolsey and William Worley.

FIFTH GRADE – Hunter Aberl, Kade Aberl, Kendyl Adams, Meghan Bacon, Logan Baker, Brady Barnett, Karen Escalera, Lexi Fowler, Brenlee Gentry, Landon Hodges, Ashton Hughes, Jakob Lowery, Laney Miller, Lauren Moon, Casey Nocks, Dalton Penny, David Ramsey, Sydnee Salsman, Cheyenne Silvey, Kaylie Simmons, Bryson Thomas, Martin Villaneda and Trey Wiley.

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Paradise ISD extends teacher contracts

The Paradise School Board extended all the district’s teacher contracts and will not need to hire additional teachers for the 2015-16 school year.

The board voted on contracts after 45 minutes in closed session Thursday night.

Prior to discussing contracts, the board adopted the 2015-16 school calendar. Interim Superintendent Robert Criswell did suggest the board consider altering next year’s spring break dates to align with neighboring Bridgeport ISD.

Any changes should be considered at the April 20 board meeting.

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Softball: Decatur cruises in 8-4A opener

The Decatur Lady Eagles crushed the Lake Worth Lady Bullfrogs in the District 8-4A opener Tuesday.

The Lady Eagles won in four innings, 17-0.

Brittany Roberts went 3-for-4, belting a grand slam for four of her six RBIs.

Teryn Trull and Jenny Bradford had three hits each. Trull doubled twice and knocked in a run. Bradford doubled and had two RBIs. Caitlin Butler pushed across two runs.

Butler earned the win in the circle, striking out seven in four hitless innings.


Brooke Vidal held Tioga to just three hits in three innings Tuesday as Chico won 15-0.

She struck out six.

At the plate, Brooke Vidal doubled and had a RBI. Jorden Vidal drove in two runs with a triple.


Reagan Taylor was too much for City View at the plate and in the pitching circle Tuesday.

Taylor homered, doubled and drove in three runs in the 12-2 win that pushed the Lady Panthers to 3-0 in District 9-3A. She also struck out seven and allowed two runs – none earned – on two hits in five innings of work.

Jett Preather went 2-for-4 and knocked in four runs.


The Alvord Lady Bulldogs committed 10 errors Thursday in an 11-2 loss to Argyle at the NCTC Tournament.

“It was one of those games where we couldn’t do much right,” said Alvord coach Tony Brazeal.


Rival Byron Nelson handled the Northwest Lady Texans 7-2 Tuesday.

Tuesday DerMargosian finished 2-for-3 and scored a run for the Lady Texans.

Shelby Hodo and Brie Wrobel doubled.

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Mr. and Mrs. John Derrell Martin

Misty Marie Bowers of Holliday, daughter of Ted and Lamesa Foster, married John Derrell Martin of Wichita Falls, son of Pam Martin and Jim Stegman of Paradise and Les and Charlene Martin of Oklahoma, Feb. 14, 2015, in Holliday.


Mr. and Mrs. John Derrell Martin

Judge Judy Baker officiated the Valentine’s Day ceremony.

The maid of honor was Bailee Bowers, daughter of the bride. The best man was Ayden Winters, nephew of the groom.

After a short honeymoon at Jellystone, the couple resides in Holliday.

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Smith pleads guilty to arson

Despite being left in a house set on fire by his wife, Jeffrey Scott Smith said Tuesday that she deserves the chance to move forward with her life.

Crystal Kay Smith

“She’s a good person,” Jeffrey Smith told District Judge John Fostel at the sentencing hearing for his now ex-wife, Crystal Kay Smith.

When asked what he thought would be a fair sentence, Jeffrey Smith said it would be probation and paying back the insurance money she received following the fire.

At the end of the hearing, Fostel did indeed grant the 33-year-old Crystal Smith probation in the form of 10 years deferred adjudication for arson of a habitation. She must also pay back the approximately $88,000 she received in insurance money stemming from the house fire at 211 Private Road 3360 in Paradise on Nov. 6, 2013.

Crystal Smith pleaded guilty to the first degree felony arson charge at the beginning of the hearing, and prosecutors agreed to drop the second degree felony attempted murder charge against her. The plea also included Crystal Smith pleading “true” to a finding that a deadly weapon in the form of a combustible or flammable liquid was used during the commission of the crime.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Berry played the audio of an interview between Crystal Smith and arson investigators in which she admitted to starting the fire by pouring a bottle of nail polish onto a pile of towels, lighting a match and setting the towels on fire before leaving the house. Jeffrey Scott Smith was asleep in the house at the time.

During the interview with investigators, Crystal Smith said, “I didn’t want him to die,” but she later admitted that she knew it was possible that he could die. She went on to say she went to pick up her son from school.

Jeffrey Smith testified that when his wife slammed the door as she left, he woke up and went to the bathroom.

“I heard something like dishes crashing, and I heard the smoke alarms going off,” he said. “I opened the door and saw smoke. I grabbed my robe, threw it over my head and got out.”

He went to a neighbor’s home to call for help.

The fire ended up destroying the home.

Jeffrey Smith said the two moved into a travel trailer nearby, but he left the next month when he found out his wife was having an affair. The two were divorced in April of last year.

He testified that prior to the fire, the two argued over finances, and Crystal Smith would act withdrawn and cry at times. Years earlier, the couple had lost a child who was born six months early. That loss took a large toll on both of them, he said.

Crystal Smith’s mother, Roxanne Chamberlain of Clute, also testified that her daughter had never been in trouble before, and her daughter would live with her if granted probation.

Crystal Smith’s attorney, Sam Bishop, asked Chamberlain if she believes the seven months Crystal Smith has spent in county jail has sent her a serious message.

“Yes,” Chamberlain said. ” … I think she’s found God. She’s ready to move forward in her life.”

In delivering his sentence, Fostel told Smith that she must abide by the conditions of her probation or face the full punishment range for a first degree felony – up to 99 years in jail.

Berry said after the trial that the district attorney’s office never considered offering Crystal Smith less than 20 years in jail as part of a plea deal.

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Track: Strong willed – Beck bids for state spots in gym, on track

Track: Strong willed – Beck bids for state spots in gym, on track

Mikeala Beck is preparing for a hectic week.

Thursday, the Paradise senior sprinter will take the track in Bridgeport in another tune-up for what she hopes is an eventual trip to the state track meet. The next morning, she will make the trip to Corpus Christi for weigh-in before competition at the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association’s championships.

“It all hits around this time,” Beck said about her busy schedule.

Eyes on the Prize

EYES ON THE PRIZE – Paradise senior Mikeala Beck earned a second straight trip to the state powerlifting meet earlier this month. She hopes to add a trip to the state track meet this spring. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Beck is not about to complain or take these opportunities for granted. She learned that appreciation after an accident took away her freshman campaign.

“I broke my femur my freshman year racing dirt bikes,” Beck said. “It was hard sitting out that year. I was set to be on the relays.”

READY TO RUN, LIFT – After running in a track meet Thursday, Mikeala Beck will head to Corpus Christi for the state powerlifting meet. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

After missing four months of action, Beck returned as a sophomore and took up powerlifting along with returning to the track with a renewed determination.

“Having that year taken away, she realizes what it’s like not to be able to compete,” said Paradise girls track coach Johna Ford.

“She’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve been around. She thrives on competition. She’s also had to work hard for everything she’s gotten.”

Paradise powerlifting coach Jonathan Ryle echoed Ford in his praise of Beck.

“She has ability but has worked her tail off,” he said. “She’s determined and will do whatever it takes to win.”

Beck proved that point before the regional meet March 7, spending hours in a sauna suit to make weight for the 123-pound class. After making her weight, she won the Region 6 Division 3 title with a tally of 675. She had a squat of 245, bench press of 120 and pulled 310 on deadlift.

“I was qualified for the 132s and 123s, but I decided I had a better chance in the 123s,” Beck explained. “[Making weight] is a daily struggle because I love food.”

Last year Beck won the region title in the 114s and finished 16th at state with her total of 525.

Beck is hoping to get 250 on squat, 135 on bench press and 330 on deadlift at state.

“The other regions are really strong, but I expect her to compete for a medal,” Ryle said.

After this weekend, Beck will concentrate on track full time. She is the two-time district champion in the 100. Last year, she narrowly missed breaking her coach’s school record of 12.1.

Beck also ran on the sprint and mile relays and long jumped. She narrowly missed a state spot in the long jump, finishing fourth with an effort of 17-3.25.

“I was in first until my last jump,” Beck said.

This year she is considering switching from the 100 to the 400 to give her a better shot of advancing out of regionals to state.

“I’ve always sprinted. One lap is my limit,” Beck joked. “I’m looking at running the 400 as my open event because it may be my best chance to get out. In the 100, I’d do good until regionals.”

Beck ran on the 4×400 and 4×100 relays last week at the Liberty Christian meet.

Ford said Beck ran well at the meet but is expecting her to improve.

“She’s not where she wants to be yet,” Ford said. “She had to make weight for powerlifting, and that was hard on her. It affected her strength.”

There’s also an adjustment going from powerlifting to track that Beck acknowledged.

“It helps in the end around district and regionals. That’s when my time drops,” Beck said.

Ryle said their training, doing the bulk of the heavy lifting and strength building work in December and January, also helps Beck be ready when track comes around.

“Once track season kicks in, it’s really trying to maintain,” he said.

With her final powerlifting tournament and also knowing there’s only a handful of track meets remaining, Beck knows she’s nearing the finish line of her high school career.

“It doesn’t feel real,” she said. “How many more track meets I’ve got is determined by how I do.”

But she’s not about to let up or give herself a break.

“I’m really hard on myself. But I believe all the hard work is worth it in the end when they hand you the gold medal,” Beck said.

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Baseball: Panthers blast City View to open 9-3A

The Paradise Panthers opened District 9-3A with a dominating 25-0 victory over City View Monday.

The Panthers (2-4) scored 10 runs in the first and 11 in the second in the five-inning game.

Paradise piled up 20 hits. Austin Hogan drove in five runs, going 4-for-5 with a triple. Dillon Meadows, Kash Helton and Skylar Black finished with three RBIs each.

Black and John Bridgeman doubled.

Bryson Meyers limited City View to one hit in three innings of work, striking out seven.

Patrick Dorado allowed two hits in two innings.

Paradise went 1-3 over the weekend at the Brock Tournament. Paradise fell to Mineral Wells 11-7, West 5-1 and Clifton 6-2. The Panthers beat Rio Vista 13-1.

Hogan held Rio Vista to one unearned run in five innings on three hits.

J.D. Pearson doubled and drove in three runs.

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Track: Lady Panthers finish third

After seeing their first two meets canceled by inclement weather, the Paradise Lady Panthers finally got on the track last Thursday in Argyle.

The Lady Panthers finished third at the Bubba Joiner Invitational with 95 points.

Hannah Beth Pearson won the 3,200 in 12:48.99.

Kyndall McCasland brought home the Lady Panthers’ other gold medal in the 300 hurdles, running 48.54.

Aliyah Read finished third in the 200. Taylor Richards took third in the 800 and fourth in the triple jump.

Amber French garnered fourth in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the high jump.

The 4×200 team of Read, Richards, Kyndall McCasland and Caressa McCasland took second.

The 4×400 squad of Read, Richards, Mikeala Beck and Hunter Rogers finished second. The 4×100 with Kyndall McCasland, French, Beck and Caressa McCasland was third.

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Vote Joiner for DISD board

All eligible voters should run, not walk, to the polls to vote for Matt Joiner in the upcoming DISD school board election!

He is by far one of the most qualified candidates to ever run. He understands the school system from top to bottom having been a public school teacher, college professor and currently a college administrator with two children in the DISD system. His extensive resume in education speaks volumes.

I worked with Matt for several years and was constantly amazed by his abilities. He is one of the most capable and knowledgeable people I have ever worked with. He was an excellent teacher and generous co-worker who was always willing to help anyone in need with whatever was necessary to tackle a problem or accomplish an assignment. I have never seen anyone who could take a monumental task and accomplish it with such ease and efficiency.

He is resourceful, intelligent, cooperative, confident and an excellent problem solver – a must when dealing with the enormous task of educational leadership. Matt also has an impeccable r sum of leadership, which equips him to navigate the waters both in and out of the classroom. His blend of faith and business acumen position him at the top of the list for the DISD school board. It is obvious that he would be a huge asset to Decatur ISD.

Jill Eder

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Pearl Harbor veteran reflects on service

Pearl Harbor veteran reflects on service

According to the World War II Museum, there are less than 100,000 living veterans of the conflict in America. About half of them are currently living in Texas.

Dale Robinson is one of them.

Stories of War

STORIES OF WAR – Dale Robinson sits in his living room as he recounts his World War II experiences. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Now 93, Robinson lives by himself in a small house in Paradise, where he hosts poker games every week with his friends. He’s blind in one eye, but that doesn’t stop him from playing.

“Oh, I never win when I play, but I donate to the pot a lot,” he said with a laugh.

SERVICE IDENTIFICATION – Dale Robinson’s 25th Infantry Division dog tags hang on his wall next to his other World War II memorabilia. He served in the 25th Infantry Division during his time at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Robinson’s military career hit two of the biggest moments of the war. He was in Hawaii on Dec. 7, and Normandy shortly after D-Day.

He recalls Pearl Harbor very clearly.

“The planes were flying so low to the ground that I could see the pilot,” he said. “But I knew it was Japanese ’cause I could see the red dot on the plane.”

On that day, Robinson was stationed with the Army’s 25 Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks – about 16 miles north of Pearl Harbor.

“Oh, that day was just confusion,” he said. “Confusion reigned back then.”

He was on office duty that day, but quickly moved down south to assist with the defense effort.

“It took a while because we had to actually get live ammunition for everything instead of it just sitting there,” he said.

Emerging unscathed from Pearl Harbor, he stayed in Hawaii for about another year until he went back to the mainland for more training and then headed to Scotland, and then France.

He missed D-Day by less than a week.

“Thank God for that,” he said.

“After that, we fought through France, Belgium, Germany, all over Europe.”

He recounts his war service as if it was just another aspect of his life. If it disturbs him, he doesn’t let it show. He’s 93, but moves around like a man half his age, despite not being able to see out of one eye.

After his war service, he decided to go to Alaska, of all places.

“There wasn’t much going on after the war, so my buddy I enlisted with told me to come up and do construction work with him in Alaska,” he said.

“I ended up staying for 40 years. It was a good life up there, especially if you’re young. I can’t tolerate the cold weather now, but it was so beautiful when I was up there.”

Framed Memories

FRAMED MEMORIES – Robinson keeps a copy of the newspaper proclaiming V-E Day on his wall, along with letters from President George H.W. Bush and the French Government. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

His travels eventually landed him in Wise County, close to his late wife Dora’s home.

“She was from Jacksboro, and wanted to move back to be near her family,” Robinson explained. “We had a great life together. She enjoyed fishing, which made it easy,” he recalled.

Once he stayed in Texas, he said he lived a fairly relaxed life, and still does now.

“I get around and I handle myself real good – I’ve got two garden spots and I handle most of the yard work on my property,” he said. “The only thing that hurt a little was when they took my license away. That hurt my sense of independence a little bit.”

He keeps a framed “Stars and Stripes” newspaper from V-E Day in his living room, reminding him of the day Germany surrendered – May 8, 1945, 70 years ago this May.

“I got a signed ‘thank-you’ letter from the French government for that effort – in 2000,” he said with a laugh. “But I guess that counts for something.”

As one of the few remaining members of the Greatest Generation, Robinson is now content to stay at home and work on his garden and play poker.

At the rate he’s going, he might live another 93 years.

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