Boyd ISD approves field renovations


Boyd ISD trustees Monday night approved upgrades to the existing baseball and softball fields, putting in artificial turf, net backstops, renovating the dugouts and replacing side fences.
The cost of the project is $1,081,391. The district will pull money out of its reserves for the project.
The fields are expected to be ready for the teams’ district openers March 12.
Four different contractors will complete the work. Hellas will put in the turf for $988,375. Bob Moss Masonry will build the dugouts and the baseball backstop retaining wall for $21,490. Ray’s Fencing will put in the side fences for $15,925. Containment System will construct the net backstops for $55,601.
Trustees discussed the fields for more than two hours before voting 5-2 for the renovations. Kyle Erwin and Kenneth Shepherd voted against the project.

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Three Decatur athletes sign letters


Making College Plans

MAKING COLLEGE PLANS – Decatur seniors Reagan Chism, Satasha Kostelecky and Nick Birmingham signed letters of intent Wednesday. Messenger photo by Reece Waddell

Three Decatur seniors confirmed their college plans Wednesday morning.

Middle blocker Satasha Kostelecky signed to play volleyball at Rice University. Nick Birmingham inked to play baseball at the University of New Mexico. Reagan Chism will play softball at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Each of their coaches praised their hard work and dedication before the signing ceremony.

“I’m way excited,” Birmingham said. “New Mexico has always felt like home to me. It’s a great place for me to go and play baseball.”

Chism led the Lady Eagles to the 4A Region II final last year. She was the District 9-4A MVP, striking out 259 batters to propel Decatur to an undefeated league title. Chism was also the Wise County MVP, sporting a 1.57 ERA in 30 games.

Kostelecky eclipsed the 1,000-kill mark last weekend against Glen Rose in the 4A Region I final. She played in her first state tournament Friday. Decatur beat Melissa to reach the state final Saturday.

She plans to major in kinesiology, and said she chose Rice because of its combination of athletics and academics.

“I’m very excited to compete in that competitive atmosphere and with those girls,” Kostelecky said. “They’re all amazing and the coaching staff is amazing. I can’t wait.

“I knew that there I would be able to excel academically and athletically. That’s the best place for me to do that.”

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Trending up: Paradise gains momentum after positive year

Trending up: Paradise gains momentum after positive year


Job Well Done

JOB WELL DONE – Paradise softball coach Karin Essig congratulates a player during a game in 2018. The Lady Panthers went 18-11 and qualified for the playoffs. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

After three first-round playoff exits in 2017-2018, confidence around the Paradise athletic program is building.

The girls basketball, baseball and softball teams qualified for the postseason, while the football team was one win shy of snapping an eight-year playoff drought. The girls cross country squad finished 10th at the 3A Region I meet and junior Maddie Mitschke advanced to state meet in the 300 hurdles.

Now that the Panthers have a taste of the postseason, they want – and expect more.

“We’ve been preaching it during our summer athletic training in the morning,” said Paradise athletic director Joe Koch. “Before they leave, we talk about our goals and what we’re really working for – getting into that mindset of being a winner and not settling for second-best. You can feel it starting to come along.”

Softball won its first six games to start District 8-3A play and contended for the league title for most of the season. Junior Kendall Candioto was named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association 3A all-state team, going 11-9 with a 2.87 ERA in the circle.

The Lady Panthers finished third in 8-3A after winning a three-way tiebreaker with Boyd and Bowie to end the regular season.

Eastland swept them in the bi-district round.

Football picked up a key win against Ponder late in the season, but dropped its final two games to Bowie and Boyd. They have not made the playoffs since 2009.

“Having that mindset you belong is a big part of it,” Koch said. “You have to be confident, and you can only gain that through hard work and working with your teammates. It’s definitely growing.”

ROAD TO RECOVERY – Paradise point guard Maddie Mitschke drives to the basket in a game against Boyd last season. Mitschke tore her ACL in June and will miss an undetermined amount of time next year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

BEST TEAM: GIRLS BASKETBALL

Paradise made the playoffs for the sixth straight year, going 18-13 overall and 8-6 in league play. The Lady Panthers started district 5-1 and entered the postseason as the fourth seed.

For the second consecutive season, Paradise fell to Brock in the bi-district round. The Lady Eagles advanced all the way to the state semifinal.

“I thought they did a great job,” Koch said. “There is no quit in that team. The first hurdle is the mental approach that you can win. I think the girls have definitely cleared that hurdle, and that’s the biggest thing.”

Mitschke and fellow junior Kaycee Martin were named to the 8-3A first-team while senior Hunter Rogers earned second-team honors. Mitschke led the team in scoring and rebounds, averaging 12.9 points and 10.1 boards. She was the only girl in Wise County to average a double-double.

Paradise will be without Mitschke for an undetermined amount of time next season as the Lady Panthers’ point guard recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) suffered in a summer league game in June.

“It’s hard to replace one of your best players,” Koch said. “But on the other side of the coin, it’s going to force everyone else to step up their game. If she comes back by some point in district, the whole team is going to be that much better.”

BEST SURPRISE: BASEBALL

The Panthers finished fourth in District 8-3A and made the playoffs for the third straight season despite a lineup that featured a majority of underclassman.

Catcher Jace Essig was the 8-3A Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, committing just five errors behind the plate. Freshman Parker Cook earned Co-Newcomer of the Year honors and made an impressive start against Brock in the bi-district round of the playoffs. Cook surrendered just three runs to the No. 2 ranked Eagles in a 3-1 loss. He ended the year with a 3.30 ERA.

Sophomore Mikey Passariello tied a school record with 17 strikeouts in a win against Bowie and was an 8-3A first-team selection. Sophomore Mitchell Sellars also was selected to the first-team, batting .417 with a home run and 14 RBIs.

“They have [a lot of talent],” Koch said. “They’ve been to the playoffs the last three years. I think now they understand what’s at stake and that [just making the playoffs] isn’t good enough anymore. Not that I’m telling them that – that’s more of [an expectation] within themselves.”

COACHING CHANGES:

Paradise will have several new coaches on the sideline and bench in 2018-2019.

Koch is entering his first year as head football coach after taking over for Ronnie Gage in May.

Former baseball coach Nick Pike, who departed in June for the defensive coordinator position at Santo, was replaced by Jason McCoy. McCoy served as an assistant at Granbury last year and prior to that, spent seven years at Notre Dame in Wichita Falls. He took the Knights to the region finals in basketball and baseball.

Girls track coach Johna Ford retired after spending over two decades coaching. Ford graduated from Paradise in 1986 and ran on the track team when she was in school.

Rhea Mitschke, who already served as the assistant varsity girls basketball coach, will replace her.

PARADISE AT A GLANCE

Sport … ’16-17 record … ’17-18 record … Postseason

Football … 4-6 … 3-7 … Missed playoffs

Volleyball … 4-21 … 12-24-2 … Missed playoffs

Cross Country … Girls 10th in 3A Region I

Boys basketball … 7-17 … 4-24 … Missed playoffs

Girls basketball … 19-14 … 18-13 … Bi-district

Baseball … 14-14-1 … 10-15 … Bi-district

Softball … 18-12 … 18-11 … Bi-district

Track … Boys and Girls 4th in 4A

COACHING CHANGES

Sport … Previous Coach … New Coach

Football … Ronnie Gage … Joe Koch

Baseball … Nick Pike … Jason McCoy

Girls Track … Johna Ford … Rhea Mitschke

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Future stars: 2018 All-Wise Softball and Baseball Teams

Future stars: 2018 All-Wise Softball and Baseball Teams


Teams selected by Reece Waddell with consultation of Wise County coaches. Photos by Joe Duty. Graphic design by Joy Carrico.

Blanks

MVP:
Jerod Blanks, Chico

The senior earned 10-2A Pitcher of the Year honors, going 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA. He struck out 81 over 46 and two-thirds innings while hitting .563 at the plate.

Hicks

PITCHER OF THE YEAR:
Wilson Hicks, Decatur

The Oklahoma State commit gave up only seven earned runs all season. He had an ERA of 0.96 and tossed 51 innings for the Eagles, leading them to the region quarterfinals.

Couture

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Dylan Couture, Boyd

Couture was a 3A second-team all-state third baseman, batting .410 in 2018. The 8-3A Offensive Player of the Year had a monster season, smashing 13 doubles, two home runs and tallying 30 RBIs.

Essig

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Jace Essig, Paradise

The 8-3A Defensive Player of the Year was a wall behind the plate for the Panthers with a fielding percentage of 0.965. Essig committed just five errors all season and caught nine runners stealing.

Rascon

UTILITY PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Bodi Rascon, Decatur

Rascon hit .415 at the dish, drove in 30 runs and swiped 11 bases. On the mound, the lanky southpaw shut the opposition down, sporting an ERA of 1.70 over 39 innings.

Cook

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:
Parker Cook, Paradise

The freshman went 4-3 with a 3.89 ERA, including an impressive start in the bi-district round of the playoffs against Brock. Cook threw the second-most innings on the team and fanned 27 batters on the year.

Chism

MVP:
Reagan Chism, Decatur

The 9-4A MVP tallied 259 strikeouts and pitched in 30 games, leading the Lady Eagles to an appearance in the region final. Chism walked just 27 batters all season and was unhittable at times with a 1.57 ERA.

Candioto

PITCHER OF THE YEAR:
Kendall Candioto, Paradise

An 8-3A first-team selection, Candioto collected 202 strikeouts to go along with a 2.78 ERA and 11-9 record. Six of her losses were by one run. Candioto led the Lady Panthers in every statistical category offensively, hitting .488 with five home runs and 25 RBIs.

Tipton

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Christina Tipton, Paradise

The 8-3A first-team catcher had a 0.974 fielding percentage and was Candioto’s battery mate behind the plate. She batted .340 with an on-base percentage of .376 and drove in 19 runs.

Trull

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Tristyn Trull, Decatur

The freshman hit .450 and drove in 27 runs in the heart of Decatur’s order. Trull was a 9-4A first-team selection and scored 39 runs on the season.

Rasbury

UTILITY PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Kristin Rasbury, Boyd

A four-year starter, Rasbury capped off her final season with the Lady Jackets by hitting .483 with 27 RBIs and four home runs. In the circle, she struck out 128 with a 4.58 ERA. She will play softball at Henderson State.

Hesteande

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:
Brison Hesteande, Decatur

Hesteande batted .455, tallied 12 RBIs and scored 41 runs to help Decatur finish the season 25-6. She was 9-4A’s Newcomer of the Year and had a fielding percentage of 0.937.

Touch Em All

TOUCH ‘EM ALL – Decatur’s Bodi Rascon is greeted by teammates after hitting a grand slam against Bridgeport. Rascon was the All-Wise Baseball Utility Player of the Year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

ALL-WISE BASEBALL FIRST-TEAM

Pitcher: Mikey Passariello, Paradise

The sophomore struck out 17 batters in one game and went 4-4 with a 2.14 ERA. He threw 51 and one-third innings on the season and had a WHIP of 1.711.

Pitcher: Boston McIntire, Boyd

McIntire went 5-4, recorded one save and struck out 65 to help Boyd take third in 8-3A. He had an ERA of 2.39 over 67 and one-third innings.

Catcher: Daniel Delgadillo, Bridgeport

The 9-4A first-team selection hit .333, drove in 20 runs and committed just one error behind the plate. He caught 20 runners trying to steal and was selected to play in the Sophomore Sun Belt Classic in Oklahoma City.

Infield: Mitchell Sellers, Paradise

The 8-3A first-team first baseman slugged .682, launched a home run and collected 20 RBIs in 2018. Sellers hit .424 and drew 15 walks for an OBP of .524.

Infield: Yobany Roman, Bridgeport

Roman hit .338 with an OBP of .462. He scored 17 runs, tallied 15 RBIs and had a fielding percentage of 0.988 at second base.

Infield: Kooper Martin, Chico

The freshman hit .446, drove in 26 and belted six doubles. He also pitched 28 and one-third innings and had a 4.69 ERA, earning him first-team honors from 10-2A.

Infield: Tanner Petree, Alvord

The 10-2A first-team selection led Alvord in RBIs with 24 and had an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of 0.981. On the mound, Petree went 4-2 and struck out 31.

Outfield: Beau Bedford, Decatur

Bedford hit .312, drove in 14 and had an OBP of .423. He also saw quality innings on the mound and out of the bullpen as a reliever.

Outfield: Jadon Maddux, Bridgeport

The speedy sophomore stole 20 bases and had a batting average of .328, earning him first-team honors from 9-4A. In the outfield. Maddux never committed an error and had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

Outfield: Payton Brown, Boyd

An 8-3A first-team outfielder, Brown patrolled center field for the Yellowjackets and hit .310 on the year. He produced 15 RBIs, scored 17 runs and laced seven doubles.

DH: Triston Read, Decatur

Read struck out just 10 times all year in 111 plate appearances. He hit .374 with 14 doubles, 32 RBIs and scored 26 runs.

ALL-WISE BASEBALL SECOND-TEAM

Pitcher: Clayton Machal, Alvord

The second-team 10-2A selection led the Bulldogs in innings pitched and tied for the team lead in wins. He was 2-0 with a 5.64 ERA and struck out 45.

Pitcher: Creighton Witt, Boyd

An 8-3A first-team designated hitter, Witt hit for .272 and also found success on the mound. He was 5-3 overall on the season, struck out 58 and boasted an ERA of 3.42.

Catcher: Dayne Chapman, Decatur

The 9-4A second-team catcher hit .333 with an OBP of .418. He drove in 18 runs and caught 16 runners stealing.

Infield: Bailey Umphress, Chico

A 10-2A second-team pitcher, Umphress also spent time at first base and had a solid year at the plate. He finished the season with a .411 average, driving in 26.

Infield: Bridger Skogberg, Paradise

The 8-3A second-team third baseman hit .278 for the Panthers, helping Paradise make it back to the postseason. He had an OPS of 0.741 in his senior campaign.

Infield: Rustyn Fuller, Chico

Fuller led Chico in RBIs with 31 and was third on the team in batting average at .427. He hit six doubles, two triples and scored 29 runs.

Infield: Ace Edgett, Alvord

The freshman hit .309 and was third on the team in RBIs with 16. Edgett had an OBP of .465 and averaged a walk once every five at-bats.

Outfield: Karson Parker, Alvord

The 10-2A second-team selection proved to be a tough out in 2018, tying for the team lead in batting average. He hit .361, led the Bulldogs in walks and triples, and drove in 10.

Outfield: Trey Valentine, Paradise

Valentine batted .256 and collected 10 RBIs. He recorded 23 putouts to go along with a 0.963 fielding percentage.

Outfield: Austin Lacy, Chico

The 10-2A first-team selection stole 24 bases and drove in 17 runs while batting .324. He led the Dragons in fielding percentage at 0.958.

DH: Jake Faust, Boyd

The senior hit .274 with 21 RBis for the Yellowjackets. He was 2-1 on the mound with a 2.21 ERA in district play

Out at Home

OUT AT HOME – Paradise catcher Christina Tipton tags out a City View runner at home plate. Tipton was the All-Wise Softball Defensive Player of the Year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

ALL-WISE SOFTBALL FIRST-TEAM

Pitcher: Gracie Gose, Alvord

The freshman was a 12-2A first-team selection, using her change up to keep hitters off-balance. She notched 47 strikeouts over 43 innings.

Catcher: Jordyn Smith, Decatur

Smith recovered from surgery at the beginning of the season and returned for the final four games of district and the playoffs. She batted .549, drove in 17 runs and did not commit an error behind the plate.

Infield: Sydney Langley, Boyd

Langley flashed her power to all fields in 2018, crushing five home runs, 12 doubles and driving in 38. She hit .451 and was an 8-3A first-team selection each of the past two years.

Infield: Maddi Terry, Paradise

The 8-3A first-team second baseman hit .317 with one home run and 19 RBIs. She scored 22 runs and had a 0.848 fielding percentage.

Infield: Morgen Davidson, Bridgeport

A 9-4A first-team shortstop, Davidson hit .538 and drove in 11 runs. In the field, she made 46 putouts, tallied four assists and had a fielding percentage of 0.877.

Infield: Kaylee Rutledge, Boyd

An 8-3A second-team third baseman, Rutledge batted .379 with 18 RBIs. She hit 11 doubles and one home run and was a two-year starter for the Lady Jackets.

Outfield: Jaci Ticknor, Decatur

The 9-4A Offensive Player of the Year led the Lady Eagles in RBIs with 41. She hit .417 and had a 0.875 fielding percentage.

Outfield: Emerson Coleman, Bridgeport

Coleman hit .412 as a freshman and drew seven walks. She earned second-team 9-4A honors and recorded 26 putouts.

Outfield: Aliyah Smith, Decatur

The 9-4A first-team selection belted three home runs, drove in 15 and hit .390 for the Lady Eagles.

DH: Hannah Copeland, Northwest

The 6-5A first-team selection had a productive year at the plate, batting .427 with one home run and 10 RBIs. She had an OBP of .463 and a slugging percentage of .573

ALL-WISE SOFTBALL SECOND-TEAM

Pitcher: Laynee North, Chico

The 12-2A first-team selection came up big for the Lady Dragons in her senior year, tossing multiple gems throughout the season.

Catcher: Jordan Salmon, Boyd

An 8-3A all-district catcher, Salmon tied for the team lead in home runs with five. She hit .333 with six doubles and 19 RBIs.

Infield: Lilly Hooks, Decatur

Hooks hit .333 and had a 0.971 fielding percentage at first base, earning her 9-4A second-team honors.

Infield: Faith Hicks, Bridgeport

Hicks played at first, third and in the outfield, batting .286. She earned 9-4A academic all-district honors and drew six walks.

Infield: Maley Mader, Alvord

A 12-2A first-team third baseman, Mader hit .509 with an OBP of .581. The junior drove in 17 runs and was a force in the middle of Alvord’s order.

Infield: Samantha Cantu, Decatur

Cantu led the Lady Eagles in home runs with four and drove in 26 runs. She was a 9-4A first team selection and hit .333, playing in 33 games.

Outfield: Kristen Whatley, Boyd

A three-year starter, Whatley earned 8-3A first-team honors in her senior campaign. She hit .268 and drove in 12 runs with two triples.

Outfield: Kinly Walker, Alvord

Walker earned 12-2A first-team honors, batting .490 and tallying 26 RBIs. She pitched 49 innings, struck out 43 and had a fielding percentage of .909.

Outfield: Kristen Grooms, Bridgeport

A 9-4A second-team outfielder, Grooms had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, recording 13 putouts and five assists in 18 total chances. At the plate, she hit .293.

DH: Katelyn Schedcik, Alvord

The senior hit .400 and launched a home run in 2018, earning her 12-2A first team honors. She drove in 15 runs and had an OBP of .538.

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Softball: Northwest grad named Academic All American


Brianna Barnhill

BRIANNA BARNHILL

Rhome native and Northwest graduate Brianna Barnhill was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-American second team after posting a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average during her tenure at Abilene Christian University.

A kinesiology major, Barnhill is only the second Wildcat softball player to earn the distinction, joining catcher Samantha Borgeson from 2007.

In her senior season, Barnill tied for the team lead in home runs with eight and finished second in RBIs with 25. Barnhill and shortstop Peyton Hedrick were the only two Wildcats to play all 198 games over the past four seasons.

In a game against Incarnate Word on April 17, 2017, Barnhill went 4-for-5 with a pair of home runs. She drove in five.

Barnhill left Abilene Christian ranked third among its all-time Division I leaders with 31 home runs and 114 RBIs. She had a slugging percentage of .478.

At Northwest, Barnhill was a first-team all-district and all-state selection. She helped the Lady Texans win a 2013 bi-district title and broke Northwest’s school record for triples in a season as a sophomore with nine.

In her junior season, she hit .477 with 27 RBIs and slugged a school-record eight home runs.

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Softball: Chism, Candioto named to all-state team


Decatur’s Reagan Chism was named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association 4A all-state team.

Paradise’s Kendall Candioto landed on the 3A squad.

Chism led Decatur to an undefeated run through District 9-4A and a league title. She struck out 259 and sported a 1.57 ERA.

The Lady Eagles went 25-6 on the season and made a run all the way to the 4A Region II final. Chism earned 9-4A MVP.

Candioto went 11-9 for the Lady Panthers and boasted an ERA of 2.87. She helped Paradise finish fourth in District 8-3A and secure a playoff appearance.

Candioto was a first-team 8-3A selection.

“Kendall is a game-changer on the rubber and at the plate,” said Paradise coach Karin Essig. “She has the ability to keep us in games and shut down opponents. She works hard and is committed to our program and her teammates.”

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Chism, Candioto named to All-State teams


Decatur’s Reagan Chism was named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association 4A All-State team and Paradise’s Kendall Candioto was named to the 3A All-State team.

Decatur junior Reagan Chism. Photo by Joe Duty.

Chism led Decatur to an undefeated run through District 9-4A and a league title. She struck out 259 and sported a 1.57 ERA.

Paradise junior Kendall Candioto. Photo by Mack Thweatt.

The Lady Eagles went 25-6 on the season and made a run all the way to the 4A Region II final. Chism earned 9-4A MVP honors for her performance.

Candioto went 11-9 for the Lady Panthers and boasted an ERA of 2.87. She helped Paradise finish fourth in District 8-3A and secure a playoff appearance.

Candioto was a first-team 8-3A selection.

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Raising the Bar: Eagles continue to grow and improve


Adding to Trophy Case

ADDING TO TROPHY CASE – Decatur coach Mike Fuller presents his team with the area trophy after the Eagles’ victory over Andrews last season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

When the dust finally settled on the 2017-2018 school year, the Decatur Eagles had five district championships and seven playoff appearances to their name.

Every team except girls basketball qualified for the postseason, with boys and girls track, softball and boys and girls cross country capturing league titles. Football advanced to the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2013. Volleyball also advanced to the regional quarterfinals before falling to 4A runner-up Argyle.

PULLING AWAY – Decatur’s Triston Read brings home the District 9-4A title for the Eagles in the 4×400 relay. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Boys basketball finished third in district and made the playoffs, losing to eventual 4A runner-up Dallas Carter in the bi-district round. Boys and girls soccer made the postseason, with the boys finishing second in district behind Bridgeport – the 2016 4A runner-up.

Baseball lost a dramatic series to Crandall in the regional quarterfinal, knocking off Dallas Pinkston and Princeton to claim bi-district and area titles. Softball completed an undefeated run through district play and made it all the way to the regional final, falling to Emory-Rains one game shy of the state tournament.

“It was kind of across the board a successful year,” said Decatur athletic director Mike Fuller. “We look forward to trying to build on that and see what happens in the future. I was pleased this year how all of our teams competed and how they represented our school and our town.”

BEST TEAM: SOFTBALL

Behind dominant pitching from junior Reagan Chism and a lineup that featured five freshman and four sophomores, the Lady Eagles cruised to a District 9-4A title. Decatur went 10-0 in league play, knocking off defending 4A champion Krum twice.

Even without sophomore catcher Jordyn Smith, who missed the first six district games after undergoing surgery, the Lady Eagles still continued to dominate. Decatur averaged 7.2 runs per game.

Opponents managed just 1.8 runs per game against Chism, who was named 9-4A MVP. She pitched in 30 games and had a 1.57 ERA with 259 strikeouts.

Sophomore Jaci Ticknor, the district Offensive MVP, hit .417 and drove in 41. Freshman Brison Hesteande earned Newcomer of the Year and batted .455 with 12 RBIs.

Decatur finished the season 25-6 overall. The Lady Eagles dispatched Dallas Roosevelt, Melissa, Bonham and Rusk to claim bi-district, area, regional quarterfinal and regional semifinal titles.

“Our softball team with so many freshman, sophomores and juniors – watching them compete the way they did was pretty special,” Fuller said. “It was a good year all around.”

BEST SURPRISE: FOOTBALL

After a 69-36 loss to Wichita Falls Hirschi in mid-October, Decatur was 3-4 and thoroughly banged up. But true to their motto, Eagle fight never died.

Decatur rattled off five straight victories to make a run all the way to the regional quarterfinal. The Eagles beat Gainesville, Burkburnett and Sanger to end the regular season 6-4.

Decatur followed those wins up with a victory over Abilene Wylie – the 4A runner-up in 2016 – in the bi-district round. They went on to beat Andrews in a 55-48 shootout in the area round, advancing to the third round of the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Fuller said for his team to build on last season, conditioning will be crucial. The Eagles will also play another tough slate of non-district games in 2018, with contests against Kennedale, Midlothian Heritage and Graham.

“It’s going to be important that we get in really good shape this summer. I think a key will be staying healthy and avoiding some injuries,” Fuller said. “We’ll see some of the best teams in the area for sure, and in my opinion, a bunch of top teams in the state. It will be helpful like it always is.”

COACHING CHANGES:

Fuller said there are no head coaching changes for the upcoming school year.

DECATUR AT A GLANCE

Sport … ’16-17 record … ’17-18 record … Postseason

Football … 7-5 … 8-5 … Regional quarterfinal

Volleyball … 27-21 … 28-14 … Regional quarterfinal

Cross country … Girls 5th in 4A

Boys basketball … 27-8 … 17-17 … Bi-district

Girls basketball … 17-14 … 14-17 … Missed playoffs

Boys soccer … 9-8-3 … 16-11-2 … Regional quarterfinal

Girls soccer … 0-11-2 … 2-13-3 … Bi-district

Baseball … 27-12 … 20-16 … Regional quarterfinal

Softball … 14-8-1 … 25-6 … Regional final

Track … Boys and Girls 1st in 9-4A

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Basketball/Softball: Mitschke, Tipton suffer torn ACLs


Road to Recovery

ROAD TO RECOVERY – Paradise catcher Christina Tipton tags out a City View runner during a game last season. Tipton tore her ACL in a summer league game last week. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Wise County girls basketball Co-MVP and state track qualifier Maddie Mitschke tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a summer league basketball game last week.

TOUGH BLOW – Paradise guard Maddie Mitschke drives to the basket in a game against Bowie last season. Mitschke tore her ACL in a summer league game last week. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Mitschke, who will be a senior in the fall, led the Lady Panthers to a fourth-place league finish and playoff appearance while averaging a double-double of 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds. She qualified for the state track meet in the 300 hurdles and won 8-3A and area titles in the event.

“It’s a big blow,” said Paradise girls basketball coach Chad Woodard. “Anytime you lose a leader of your program it’s tough. But she’s a resilient kid. She’s going to fight to get back.”

Woodard said he is not sure if Mitschke will see court time in the upcoming season. He said Mitschke met with her doctors on Friday to learn more and determine a treatment plan.

“Her strong faith is going to get her through this,” Woodard said. “This is something you put in God’s hands.”

Mitchke’s teammate, Christina Tipton, also tore her ACL in the same game. Tipton was a key role player for the Lady Panthers last season on the court and a first-team catcher from 8-3A.

She hit clean-up for Paradise and batted .340, driving in 19 runs. Tipton said she is expected to miss anywhere from six to eight months recovering.

“I was in the training room looking at Maddie and Christina was driving to the basket and stepped on someone’s foot,” Woodard said. “She kind of blew her knee out.”

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Softball: Alvord, Chico players earn All-District honors


Four Alvord Lady Bulldogs and two Chico Lady Dragons earned first-team District 11-2A honors.

Gracie Gose, Maley Mader, Katie Schedcik and Kinley Walker were tabbed to the first team for Alvord.

STRONG YEAR – Alvord freshman Gracie Gose pitches during a playoff game. Gose earned first-team honors, striking out 47 over 43 innings. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Mader hit .509 and tallied 17 RBIs. Schedcik batted .400 with a home run. Gose and Walker served as the Lady Bulldogs’ 1-2 punch in the circle.

Gose threw 43 innings and recorded 47 strikeouts. Walker pitched 49 innings and had 43 punch outs. She also hit .490 with 26 RBIs, two home runs and a .545 on-base percentage.

Alvord finished fourth in 11-2A, falling in the bi-district round of the playoffs to Perrin-Whitt.

Chico’s first-team selections included Laynee North and Macy McDaniel.

2018 DISTRICT 11-2A SOFTBALL TEAM

MVP: Tayla Evans, Collinsville

Offensive MVP: Tannah Evans, Collinsville

Co-Defensive MVP: Lindsay and Kelcey Nanney, Valley View

Pitcher of the Year: Carrie Johnson, Collinsville

Newcomer of the Year: Graci Buckley, Valley View

Catcher of the Year: Gracie Caven, Collinsville

Utility Player of Year: Payton Reynolds, Valley View

Coach of the Year: Daniel Johnson, Collinsville

FIRST TEAM

Alvord: Gracie Gose, Maley Mader, Katie Schedcik, Kinly Walker

Chico: Laynee North, Macy McDaniel

Era: Bri Knabe, Maddison Strickland

Lindsay: Kloe Copeland, Bethani Cornelison, Brianna Craigie, Olivia Hertel, Madyson McCage, Mya Meece

Valley View: Carrie Buckey, Bailey Brinkley, Avery Huff, Sydney Reynolds, Jasmyn Studamire

Collinsville: Bailey Cantrell, Katy Claytor, Brookelyn Haning, Lexie Martin

SECOND TEAM

Alvord: Cydney Bailey, Abbey Bloomer, Cami Hering

Chico: Reagan Herdee, Michaela Martin

HONORABLE MENTION

Alvord: Aubrey Mitchell

Chico: Cheyenne Hood, Maci Lingle

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Softball: Chism named MVP – Ticknor earns Offensive MVP


Throwing Heat

THROWING HEAT – Decatur junior Reagan Chism struck out 259 batters, earning her District 9-4A MVP. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Decatur junior Reagan Chism earned MVP honors in District 9-4A after leading the Lady Eagles to an appearance in the 4A Region II final.

Chism was a force for Decatur in the circle throughout the regular season and playoffs.

She guided the Lady Eagles to a perfect district record and sported a 1.57 ERA in 30 games pitched. Chism fanned 259 batters and only surrendered 27 walks.

Sophomore Jaci Ticknor was named Offensive MVP. She was a big bat in the heart of Decatur’s order, hitting .417 with 41 RBIs.

Freshman Brison Hesteande was tabbed Newcomer of the Year. She hit .455 and drove in 12 runs on 46 hits.

The Lady Eagles ended the year 25-6.

First-team selections for Decatur included Tristyn Trull, Samantha Cantu and Aliyah Smith.

Shortstop Morgen Davidson was the only Bridgeport player named to the first-team. She hit .538 for the Sissies and boasted a fielding percentage of .877.

2018 DISTRICT 9-4A SOFTBALL TEAM

MVP: Reagan Chism, Decatur

Offensive MVP: Jaci Ticknor, Decatur

Defensive MVP: Morgan Sebastian, Krum

Pitcher of the Year: Kat Wells, Sanger

Newcomer of the Year: Brison Hesteande, Decatur

Catcher of the Year: Kimbo Hopson, Sanger

Utility Player of Year: Maddie Goin, Krum

FIRST TEAM

Infield: Tristyn Trull, Decatur; Samantha Cantu, Decatur; Morgen Davidson, Bridgeport; Lindsay Beutnagel, Krum; Sarah Oellermann, Argyle ; Abby Williams, Argyle; Lynzie Rollins, Sanger

Outfield: Aliyah Smith, Decatur; Marley Straubmueller, Argyle; Mercedes Ibarra, Sanger; Tori Hamilton, Krum

SECOND TEAM

Infield: Lilly Hooks, Decatur; Emerson Coleman, Bridgeport

Outfield: Katie Hale, Decatur

HONORABLE MENTION

Bridgeport: Alexa Holzer, Faith Hicks

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Stunned: Decatur loses extra innings thriller

Stunned: Decatur loses extra innings thriller


Heartbreak

HEARTBREAK – Sophomore catcher Jordyn Smith reacts after losing Game 3 in extra innings. Decatur finished its season one win shy of advancing to the state tournament. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Junior pitcher Reagan Chism took a long look into the Decatur dugout and at catcher Jordyn Smith.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Chism faced her biggest jam of the night as Emory Rains’ speedy lead-off hitter Leo Terry stepped to the plate in a 2-2 tie. Chism reached back and uncorked a pitch that ran inside and hit Terry on the arm, pushing across the winning run and sending the Lady Cats to the state tournament.

Rains won the 4A Region II final series at Prosper in dramatic fashion, coming away with a 3-2 extra innings victory in Game 3 Saturday night. The Lady Cats took the series 2-1 after getting routed 9-0 in Game 1 Thursday.

The loss ended the Lady Eagles’ season at 25-6. The Lady Eagles went undefeated in league play, claiming the District 9-4A title. Decatur dispatched Dallas Roosevelt, Melissa, Bonham and Rusk before falling to Rains.

“They never give up,” said Decatur coach Carly Cloud of her team. “I’m unbelievably proud of them.”

Chism threw eight and one-third innings in Game 3, scattering three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and three walks.

In Game 2, Chism surrendered five runs on eight hits in six innings. She threw a total of 233 pitches between the two games with only a half hour break. Chism sat Rains down in order in the sixth and seventh and worked around a two-out walk in the eighth.

“I’m not going to deny, she probably was fatigued,” Cloud said. “But she’s a fighter. I’m very proud of her. She never once second-guessed.”

Decatur outhit the Lady Cats 9-6 in the third game, but struggled with runners in scoring position. The Lady Eagles left the bases loaded in the second and stranded runners at first and second in the third.

“We’re very capable of hitting the ball. I don’t know,” Cloud said. “We just hit it right to them.”

Katie Hale put Decatur up 2-0 in the second with an RBI-double to left, but she was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Smith scored the Lady Eagles’ first run of the game on a passed ball in the top of the first.

Rains’ starter Chanlee Oakes helped her own cause in the bottom of the third, tallying an RBI on a hit-and-run to cut Decatur’s lead in half. The Lady Cats tied the game in the fifth on a double by Dezaray Duarte.

Pumped Up 1

PUMPED UP – Rains’ Dezaray Duarte celebrates after tying Game 3 on an RBI-double in the fifth inning. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

GAME 2

Chanlee Oakes retired 14 of the final 15 Decatur batters she faced as Rains knocked off the Lady Eagles 5-3 in Game 2 of the 4A Region II final Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Cats used solo home runs by Jasmine Mott, Catrin Hoffman and Dezaray Duarte to come away with the win and force a decisive Game 3. Hoffman and Duarte both went yard in the bottom of the second.

Hoffman’s long-ball came in the bottom of the sixth to give Rains an insurance run.

Decatur got its first run of the game on a groundout by Tristyn Trull. After Rains took the lead in the second, the Lady Eagles knotted the score at three in the top of the third. Lilly Hooks led off the inning with a double into the left-field corner. Jordyn Smith drove her in, and Trull plated Smith with a ringing RBI-double.

Trull finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI. Smith went 2-for-3 at the plate and also plated a run.

The Lady Cats took the lead for good in the bottom of the third on a groundout by Presley McAree.

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Rains wins extra innings thriller, eliminates Decatur in region final


With the winning run 60 feet away, junior Reagan Chism took a long look into the Decatur dugout and at catcher Jordyn Smith.

There was one out in the bottom of the ninth and the bases were loaded. Emory Rains had speedy lead-off hitter Leo Terry up in a 2-2 tie.

Facing her biggest jam of the night, Chism reached back and uncorked a pitch that ran inside and hit Terry on the arm. The hit-by-pitch sent the Lady Cats to the state tournament.

Sophomore catcher Jordyn Smith reacts after losing Game 3 in extra innings. Decatur finished its season one win shy of advancing to the state tournament. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Rains won the 4A Region II final series at Prosper in dramatic fashion, coming away with a 3-2 extra innings victory in Game 3 Saturday night. The Lady Cats took the series 2-1 after getting routed 9-0 in Game 1 Thursday.

“They never give up,” said Decatur coach Carly Cloud of her team. “I’m unbelievably proud of them.”

Chism went eight and one-third innings for the Lady Eagles in Game 3. She scattered three runs on six hits, striking out nine and walking three.

In Game 2, Chism surrendered five runs on eight hits in six innings. She threw a total of 233 pitches between Game 2 and 3 with only a half hour break. Chism sat Rains down in order in the sixth and seventh and worked around a two-out walk in the eighth.

“I’m not going to deny, she probably was fatigued,” Cloud said. “But she’s a fighter. I’m very proud of her. She never once second-guessed.”

Decatur out-hit the Lady Cats 9-6 in Game 3 but had trouble with runners in scoring position. The Lady Eagles left the bases loaded in the second and stranded runners at first and second in the third.

“We’re very capable of hitting the ball. I don’t know,” Cloud said. “We just hit it right to them.”

Katie Hale put Decatur up 2-0 in the second on an RBI-double to left but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Smith scored the Lady Eagles’ first run of the game on a passed ball in the top of the first.

Rains’ starter Chanlee Oakes helped her own cause in the bottom of the third, delivering an RBI-double on a hit-and-run to cut Decatur’s lead in half. The Lady Cats tied the game in the fifth on an RBI-double by Dezaray Duarte.

Rains’ Dezaray Duarte celebrates after tying Game 3 on an RBI-double in the fifth inning. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Decatur ended its season 25-6 overall. The Lady Eagles went undefeated in league play, claiming the District 9-4A title. Decatur dispatched Dallas Roosevelt, Melissa, Bonham and Rusk before falling to Rains.

Game 2

Chanlee Oakes retired 14 of the final 15 Decatur batters she faced as Rains knocked off the Lady Eagles 5-3 in Game 2 of the 4A Region II final Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Cats used solo home runs by Jasmine Mott, Catrin Hoffman and Dezaray Duarte to come away with the win and force a decisive Game 3. Hoffman and Duarte both went yard in the bottom of the second.

Hoffman’s long-ball came in the bottom of the sixth to give Rains an insurance run.

Chism surrendered five runs on seven hits over six innings. She struck out six and walked one.

Decatur got its first run of the game on an RBI-groundout by Tristyn Trull. After Rains took the lead in the second, the Lady Eagles knotted the score at 3 in the top of the third.

Lilly Hooks led off the inning with a double into the corner in left field. Jordyn Smith then drove her in and Trull plated Smith with a ringing RBI-double.

Trull finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI. Smith went 2-for-3 at the plate and also plated a run.

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Softball: One more – Lady Eagles dominate Game 1

Softball: One more – Lady Eagles dominate Game 1


On a Roll

ON A ROLL – Decatur players celebrate after scoring a run in the bottom of the second. The Lady Eagles scored five runs in the frame to win Game 1 of the 4A Region II final 9-0. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Decatur Lady Eagles wasted little time getting on the board in Game 1 of the 4A Region II final Thursday night at Prosper.

After scoring a run in the first, the Lady Eagles batted around in the second, plating five runs en route to a 9-0 blowout over Emory Rains.

DIALED IN – Decatur junior Reagan Chism pitches during Game 1 of the 4A Region II final Thursday against Emory Rains. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Game 2 is back at Prosper at 5 p.m. Saturday. Game 3, if necessary, would immediately follow.

Sophomore catcher Jordyn Smith started the scoring in the bottom of the second with a scorching ground ball that narrowly got past Rains’ shortstop. The ball rolled to the wall and Smith slid into third with a two-RBI triple.

Shortstop Tristyn Trull also drove in a run in the inning. She finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate.

Every Lady Eagle collected a hit. Decatur had 15 hits.

“[We’ve had] very team-driven wins,” said Decatur coach Carly Cloud. “They’re collectively as a team doing what they need to move runners around and put us in good positions.”

Junior Reagan Chism threw a complete game shutout, striking out 11. She allowed just three hits over seven innings.

Chism was perfect going into the top of the fifth. Rains’ first baseman Olivia Lusk broke up the perfect game bid with a single down the first base line.

The Lady Cats had their best opportunity to scratch across a run in the frame, but left runners stranded at second and third. Chism struck out Jordan Garvin to retire the side and get out of the jam.

“She threw pretty good. She’s consistent,” Cloud said.

Jaci Ticknor scored Trull in the bottom of the fourth on a double into the gap in left field. Katie Hale also tallied an RBI in the inning to make it 8-0.

The Lady Eagles added one final run in the bottom of the fifth to make it 9-0.

Decatur is now one win away from returning to the state tournament for the first time since 2002.

“It feels good because we’ve been working for this as a team all year,” Trull said. “It’s been a team effort. We’re pretty excited.”

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Lady Eagles rout Emory Rains, one win from state tournament


The Decatur Lady Eagles wasted little time getting on the board in Game 1 of the 4A Region II final Thursday night at Prosper.

Decatur players celebrate their 9-0 win over Emory Rains in Game 1 of the 4A Region II final Thursday night. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

After scoring a run in the first, the Lady Eagles batted around in the second, plating five runs en route to a 9-0 blowout over Emory Rains. Game 2 is back at Prosper at 5 p.m. Saturday. Game 3, if necessary, would immediately follow.

Sophomore catcher Jordyn Smith got the scoring started in the bottom of the second with a scorching ground ball that narrowly got past Rains’ shortstop. The ball rolled to the wall and Smith slid into third with a two-RBI triple.

Shortstop Tristyn Trull also drove in a run in the inning. She finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate.

Every Decatur player had a hit in the win.

“[We’ve had] very team-driven wins,” said Decatur coach Carly Cloud. “They’re collectively as a team doing what they need to move runners around and put us in good positions.”

Junior Reagan Chism threw a complete game shutout for the Lady Eagles. She struck out 11 and gave up just three hits over seven innings.

Decatur junior Reagan Chism pitches during Game 1 of the 4A Region II final Thursday against Emory Rains. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Chism had a perfect game until the top of the fifth. Rains’ first baseman Olivia Lusk broke up the perfect game bid with a single down the first base line.

The Lady Cats had their best opportunity to scratch across a run in the frame, but left runners stranded at second and third. Chism struck out Jordan Garvin to retire the side and get out of the jam.

“She threw pretty good,” Cloud said of Chism. “She’s consistent.”

Jaci Ticknor scored Trull in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI-double into the gap in left field. Katie Hale also tallied an RBI in the inning to make it 8-0. Decatur ended the game with 15 hits.

The Lady Eagles added one final run bottom of the fifth to make it 9-0.

Decatur is now one win away from the state tournament. A win in Game 2 Saturday would give the Lady Eagles the 4A Region II title and the right to go to Austin next week.

“It feels good because we’ve been working for this as a team all year,” Trull said. “It’s been a team effort. We’re pretty excited.”

 

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Softball: Lady Eagles rally for sweep – Smith’s homer lifts Decatur over Rusk


Comeback

COMEBACK – The Decatur softball team celebrates their 3-2 victory over Rusk in Game 2 of the 4A Region II semifinal. Submitted photo

Jordyn Smith’s first home run of the season was one to remember.

With Decatur trailing by a run in Game 2 Friday, Aliyah Smith led off the fifth with a base hit up the middle. Then, with one out, Jordyn Smith launched a rocket that blasted the Lady Eagles one step closer to the state tournament.

The Decatur sophomore lofted a pitch over the wall in right-center to propel the Lady Eagles to a 3-2 victory over Rusk and finish off the sweep in the 4A Region II semifinal at Rockwall.

“I am not a home run hitter,” Smith said. “I knew we had someone on base and we were down by a run, so I wanted to do whatever I could to not let the team down.

“I got a pitch right down the middle, a little bit outside, and I was able to get all of it.”

Decatur (25-4) will take on Emory Rains in the region final at Prosper. Game 1 is 7 p.m. Thursday. Game 2 is 5 p.m. Saturday, with Game 3, if necessary, following.

Jordyn Smith went a perfect 2-for-2 in the game. Reagan Chism, Tristyn Trull and Brison Hesteande also tallied base hits for Decatur.

Chism pitched a complete game, allowing a run on three hits and striking out nine.

Decatur got on the board in the third frame when Hesteande laced a base hit into center that scored a run. That put the Lady Eagles up 1-0.

Rusk, who swept top-ranked Paris North Lamar last week, plated runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings to move ahead 2-1.

Decatur coach Carly Cloud said even though her team trailed late in the contest, she knew the game was far from over.

“This team never gives up, they fight until the end in every game,” Cloud said. “They didn’t get down and they continued to believe that they could win the game.”

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Smith’s home run lifts Lady Eagles over Rusk, into region final


Jordyn Smith’s first home run of the season was one to remember.

With Decatur trailing by a run in what had already been a tightly-contested series, Aliyah Smith led off the fifth with a base hit up the middle.

Then, with one out, Smith launched a rocket that blasted the Lady Eagles one step closer to the state tournament.

The Decatur sophomore lofted a pitch over the wall in right-center to propel the Lady Eagles to a 3-2 victory over Rusk in Game 2 of the 4A Region II semifinal Friday at Rockwall. Decatur (25-4) swept the series 2-0 and advanced to the region final with the win.

The Decatur softball team poses for a photo after their 3-2 victory over Rusk in Game 2 of the 4A Region II semifinal.

They will take on Emory Rains next week for the right to go to state.

“”I am not a home run hitter,” Smith said. “I knew we had someone on base and we were down by a run, so I wanted to do whatever I could to not let the team down.

“I got a pitch right down the middle, a little bit outside, and I was able to get all of it.”

Smith went a perfect 2-for-2 in the game. Reagan Chism, Tristyn Trull and Brison Hesteande also tallied base hits for Decatur.

Chism pitched a complete and was the winning pitcher of record for the Lady Eagles. She allowed one earned run on three hits and struck out nine Rusk batters.

Decatur got on the board in the third frame when Hesteande laced a base hit into center that scored Smith from third base. That put the Lady Eagles up 1-0.

Rusk, who swept top-ranked Paris North Lamar last week, plated runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings to move ahead 2-1.

Decatur coach Carly Cloud said even though her team trailed late in the contest, she knew the game was far from over.

“This team never gives up, they fight until the end in every game,” she said. “They didn’t get down and they continued to believe that they could win the game.”

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Softball: Lady Eagles outlast Rusk – Decatur takes Game 1 of region semis


Decatur took advantage of its opportunities early and then kept Rusk at bay to post a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the 4A Region II semifinal Thursday at Rockwall.

CLOSE PLAY – Decatur’s Brison Hesteande dives back to first base during Game 1 of the 4A Region II semifinal against Rusk. Hesteande had one of the Lady Eagles’ three hits in their 2-1 victory. Photo courtesy of Jay Neal

The Lady Eagles used lead-off walks from Jordyn Smith and Brison Hesteande to jump on Rusk ace Preslye Cox in the first inning. Both Smith and Hesteande came around to score to give Decatur a quick 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.

“I think it helped us to get the early lead,” said Decatur coach Carly Cloud.

Smith advanced to second after a walk to Hesteande. Immediately after, Tristyn Trull laid down a well-placed sacrifice bunt to move Smith and Hesteande up another base.

Smith raced in to score the first run of the game when Cox uncorked a wild pitch. Hesteande later scored on a single to center by Jaci Ticknor.

Rusk scored its lone run of the night in the bottom of the fourth, cutting Decatur’s lead to 2-1.

Hesteande stroked a base hit in the sixth and starting pitcher Reagan Chism had a single in the final frame, but neither was able to score.

“Overall I thought we played well, but we have got to get our offense going,” Cloud said.

Rusk put a runner in scoring position with one out in the sixth, but Chism retired the next two hitters she faced to end the threat. She pitched a complete game, allowing a run on four hits – all singles. She did not walk a batter and struck out seven.

Rusk outhit Decatur four to three, but stranded three base runners. The Lady Eagles only left one runner aboard.

The two squared off again at 7 p.m. Friday in Game 2 with Decatur needing one win in two games to secure a trip to the region final.

“This is the position that we wanted to be in,” Cloud said.

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Softball: Boyd, Paradise players earn All-District honors


Boyd senior Kristin Rasbury and Paradise junior Kendall Candioto made the District 8-3A first-team after successful 2018 campaigns in the circle.

KENDALL CANDIOTO. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Rasbury went 8-14 for the Lady Jackets and sported a 4.58 ERA. She struck out 128 and helped Boyd make a push for a playoff spot in the second half of district play. At the plate, she hit .483 with 27 RBIs and four home runs.

Candioto compiled an 11-9 record for Paradise with a 2.87 ERA. Six of Candioto’s nine losses came by one run. In the second-to-last game of the regular season, Candioto threw 13 and one-thirds innings in a 3-2 loss to Wichita Falls City View.

Boyd’s Jordan Salmon, Sydney Langley and Kristen Whatley also earned first-team honors for the Lady Jackets. Salmon hit .333 and drove in 19 runs. Langley batted .451 and knocked in 38 runs. Whatley had a .268 average and drove in 12.

The Lady Panthers’ other first-team selections included catcher Christina Tipton and second baseman Maddie Terry. Tipton hit .340 for Paradise in the clean-up spot, driving in 19 runs on the year.

2018 DISTRICT 8-3A GIRLS SOFTBALL TEAM

MVP: Haleigh Hogan, Henrietta

Offensive MVP: Taylor McCarty, Bowie

KRISTIN RASBURY. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Defensive MVP: Maddie Brown, Henrietta

Pitcher of the Year: Maddie Chalenburg, Wichita Falls City View

Utility Player of the Year: Maylie Short, Bowie

Newcomer of the Year: Whitney Zaloski, Wichita Falls City View

Coaching Staff of the Year: Henrietta

FIRST-TEAM

Pitcher: Kendall Candioto, Paradise; Kristin Rasbury, Boyd; Marshal Gillitt, Holliday;

Catcher: Jordan Salmon, Boyd; Christina Tipton, Paradise; Mackenzie Cave, City View;

First base: Sydney Langley, Boyd; Callie Melton, Bowie;

Second base: Maddie Terry, Paradise; Addison Nichols, Holliday;

Shortstop: Hadlee Richardson, Jacksboro; Katie Newberry, Henrietta; Olivia Ford, City View;

Third base: Bailey Wright, Holliday; Kylee Hunter, Henrietta;

Outfield: Kristen Whatley, Boyd; Katelyn Allison, Bowie; Trinity Tisdale, Jacksboro; Cameron Byers, Henrietta; Kylee Erikson, Henrietta; Kalico Burkes, Henrietta; Kori Hurd, City View;

Designated player: Isabel Cervantes, City View; Kaitlynn Weatherread, Holliday

SECOND-TEAM

First base: Tori Green, Paradise

Shortstop: Kaycee Martin, Paradise

Third base: Kaylee Rutledge, Boyd; Kailey Thomas, Paradise

Outfield: Makenna Hudson, Paradise; Keylee Winters, Paradise; Sarah McKinney, Paradise

HONORABLE MENTION

Boyd: Jules Tullos, Morgan Pitts, Hannah Radke, Emma Clark

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Lady Eagles outlast Rusk, take Game 1


Decatur took advantage of its opportunities early and then kept Rusk at bay to post a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the 4A Region II semifinal Thursday at Rockwall.

The Lady Eagles used lead-off walks from Jordyn Smith and Brison Hesteande to jump on Rusk ace Preslye Cox in the first inning. Both Smith and Hesteande came around to score to give Decatur a quick 2-0 advantage they would not relinquish.

Brison Hesteande dives back to first base on a close play during Game 1 of the 4A Region II semifinal. Hesteande had one of Decatur’s three hits in the 2-1 victory. Photo by Jay Neal.

“I think it helped us to get the early lead,” said Decatur coach Carly Cloud.

Smith advanced to second after a walk to Hesteande. Immediately after, Tristyn Trull laid down a well-placed sacrifice bunt to move Smith and Hesteande up another base.

Smith raced in to score the first run of the game when Cox uncorked a wild pitch. Hesteande later scored on a base hit to center by Jaci TIcknor.

Rusk scored its lone run of the night in the bottom of the fourth, cutting Decatur’s lead to 2-1.

Hesteande stroked a base hit in the sixth and starting pitcher Reagan Chism had a single in the final frame, but neither was able to score.

“Overall I thought we played well, but we have got to get our offense going,” Cloud said.

Rusk put a runner in scoring position with one out in the sixth, but Chism retired the next two hitters she faced to end the threat. She pitched a complete game for the Lady Eagles and scattered one run on four hits — all singles.

She did not walk a batter and struck out seven.

Rusk out-hit Decatur four to three, but stranded three base runners. The Lady Eagles only left one runner aboard. The two will square off again at 7 p.m. Friday in Game 2. If Decatur wins, they will advance to the 4A Region II final.

If Rusk wins, they will force a decisive Game 3 at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“This is the position that we wanted to be in,” Cloud said.

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