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District 25-2A runners-up prepare for playoffs

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Big Sandy lost its chance at a share of the District 25-2A title Tuesday by falling 3-0 to the Rebels of Evadale in the regular season’s final contest.

The two teams fought through a scoreless tie on the campus of Evadale High School until the bottom of the third. The Rebels singled in the game’s first run and were aided by a Wildcat error and sacrifice bunt, making the score 1-0.

Wildcat starter Ethan Cherry worked out of trouble in the fourth inning, as a runner on first was pushed to second on a sacrifice bunt. An excellent defensive play by Ben Griffin at third base saved a run when he went toward the line to backhand a hard-hit grounder and threw out the runner at first by a step. On the play, a runner advanced to third, but Cherry struck out the last batter of the inning.

Griffin continued his good play by smashing a lead off double in the Wildcats’ next at bat. A bunt put down by T.J. Lilley was back to pitcher Daniel Bean on a hop. Bean was able to field it cleanly and toss to third, getting the lead runner. Justin Adams moved Lilley to second on a sac bunt, giving the ‘Cats a runner in scoring position with two out. Kyle Lennox got a small piece of a pitch, sending it in the air where the Evadale catcher was able to settle under it.

Rebel Gunner Bryan started the fifth inning with a smash down the third base line past a diving Griffin. Catcher Austin Hendrix fielded a bunt laid down by Coy Williams, but the throw was high, sending second baseman Seth Maze off the bag. Cherry induced an infield fly ball, then another in left field. Parker Moye hit a liner to the opposite field that brought home a run and sent another to third for a 2-0 game.

With two out in the sixth, Maze beat out an infield grounder to shortstop to bring up Hendrix. The Wildcat catcher drilled a single into left, giving the team runners on first and second. Layton VonBerg also grounded to shortstop, but the ball was fielded and thrown to second for the force and end of the threat.

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Gunner Bryan led off the bottom of the sixth with a single that lifted Cherry from the mound. Hendrix was brought in from behind the plate to hold the Evadale attack.

Hendrix struck out Cade Flowers when he tried to bunt a third strike. Chase Simmons was hit by a pitch, as was Williams to load the bags. Paxton Bryan walked, bringing in the third Evadale run. The junior hurler then got Tyler Torres and Moye on strikes to work out of the jam.

Cherry, the Wildcats’ No. 2 starter, took the hill Tuesday to help the team determine a playoff strategy. Big Sandy coach Jacob Hooker said Cherry’s performance and the efforts of Lilley in previous games have given him the confidence to seek a three game series in the postseason, as opposed to one game.

“We needed to see how we were going to compete when it comes to the playoffs,” Hooker said. “I wanted to decide if we wanted to go one game or three games. I feel like we have one of the better threes (pitcher) in the area with T.J. Lilley. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone tried to flip us for one game. We are going to regroup tomorrow and get back into the cage and get back to hitting. We’re flying open, not stepping when we are swinging, and it’s just the fundamental little things that we’re going to get back in the cage and do.”

Down 3-0, Big Sandy needed base runners. However, Bean was strong in his final trip to the mound, retiring the side quickly for the win.

“Bean has been a thorn in our side in both games,” Hooker said. “He was better tonight than he was the first time around, I thought. We squared up a few balls, but we just couldn’t put anything together tonight. It is the same thing that happened the first time around. He was a lot better than he was the first time around.”

Big Sandy (19-4-1) will begin the postseason with Burton (13-9) Friday at 7 p.m. at New Waverly High School. It will be a three-game series, with the second game Saturday at 2 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, would be 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2.

DSC 4012Seth Maze connects on a pitch during District 25-2A baseball action in Evadale Tuesday.

DSC 4048Big Sandy head coach Jacob Hooker chats with Wildcat T.J. Lilley during a timeout in action Tuesday in Evadale.

Ladydogs prevail in 10-inning matchup with Tigers

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The Corrigan-Camden Ladydogs survived a 10-inning marathon to defeat Trinity 2-1 in the first game of a best-of-three series in Class 3A Bi-district action Thursday at Ladydog Field.

A super defensive effort helped offset the lack of run production, despite Corrigan’s 12-5 advantage in hits.

“Sometimes our defense has to pull us out,” commented head coach Michael Scoggin. “We didn’t hit the ball bad, we just couldn’t come up with the big hit.

“I think we had runners on almost every inning but maybe one or two, so we did well. We just have to come out (Friday) and try to get the big hit.”
A pitching dual between Katy Burris and Trinity’s Kinley Searcy developed early, and it would take five innings before either team could get on the scoreboard in the fast-paced matchup.

Corrigan (26-8) out-hit the Tigers 3-2 in the first four frames, as both squads stranded a pair of runners.

The two teams finally broke through in the fifth, notching a run apiece. Alex Harrell, who went 2-for-4 at the plate, drove the first pitch off Searcy into centerfield, scoring Makenna Hughes for a 1-0 lead.

Trinity, who was designated the home team, knotted the score with a bases loaded walk after boarding on an error and two singles in the bottom half of the inning.
Four more scoreless innings quickly mounted. Corrigan managed five hits, but stranded five, and left 11 on base throughout the contest.

Burris threw a gem of a game in limiting the Tigers to five hits overall. She issued one walk, hit two batters, and struck out eight.

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Although the Ladydogs managed 12 hits off Searcy, the Tiger pitcher shut out four of Corrigan’s starters and finished the game with 12 strikeouts.

“Her main pitch is a rise ball and that’s a tough pitch to hit,” said Scoggin. “She’s a very good pitcher. I think she may even be all-state, but I know she travels all over the nation pitching.”

Burris won the pitching dual over the last five frames, limiting the Tigers to one hit and a walk. On the flip side, the Bulldogs cranked out eight hits, but would leave five stranded before they plated the winning run in the top of the 10th.

Searcy started the final frame with a strikeout to slugger Hailey Nash, who struggled with Searcy’s rise ball throughout the game.

Batting third in the order, Molly Rayborn singled up the middle for her third base hit of the game. A strikeout to cleanup batter Keely Smith had the home team down to one out in the game’s third extra frame.

K.K. Harrison, Corrigan’s go-to hitter of late, stepped to the plate and hit a line drive back to Searcy who was unable to make a clean play on the ball. Before Searcy could gather the ball and make the throw to first, Harrison was on board.

Harrison had the most success off Searcy, hitting singles in the second, sixth, eighth, and none more important than the line drive in the 10th inning.
Makenna Hughes kept the inning alive and connected the biggest knock of the game when she singled to center field to score Rayborn for a 2-1 edge over the Tigers.

Searcy stranded Harrison and Hughes when she fanned Eryka Price for the final out of the inning.

Burris finished her dominating performance by retiring the Lady Tigers in order in the bottom of the tenth with two infield grounders and an infield pop fly, giving the

Ladydogs an edge in the first round playoff series.

The two teams were scheduled to play game two (and three if necessary) Friday in Hudson.

Whether or not the Tigers can come back with Searcy in game two, the Ladydogs will go with an equally tough pitcher in sophomore Makenna Hughes, who alternates duty on the mound with Burris.

Scoggin is more concerned in keeping his Ladydogs hitting the ball and mentally focused in attempting to win the first round playoff series against an equally tough Tiger squad.

“We just have to take it one game at a time. I know that’s cliché, but we’re so young that sometimes we get excited and look forward one or two games in advance, and sometimes you’ve got to hold the reins back on them.

“We need to focus on the next game, because we haven’t done anything yet. We need to try to bring it (Friday).”

DSC 4113Corrigan catcher Molly Rayborn catches Trinity’s Telena Allen in a run down during the second inning of Thursday’s Class 3A Bi-district playoff game in Corrigan. (ENTERPRISE PHOTOS BY LINDA JACOBS)

DSC 4167Alex Harrell (16) went 2-for-4 and knocked in a run to help lead Corrigan to a 2-1 win over Trinity in the first game of a three-game Class 3A Bi-district playoff series.

DSC 4084Katy Burris pitched 10 innings to help the Corrigan-Camden Ladydogs defeat Trinity 2-1 in Class 3A Bi-district playoff action Thursday.

18-5A leaders remain steady in district play

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WILLIS - The No. 5 state-ranked Willis Lady Wildkats were as good as advertised, allowing Livingston just one hit in a 6-0 victory Friday in Willis.

The Wildkats, 23-1 for the season, remain atop the District 18-5A leaderboard with an unblemished 12-0 record.

The Lady Lions (7-5 in district) will need to win at least one of their final two games to reach the postseason. They were scheduled to host Huntsville Tuesday (weather permitting) and then close out the regular season Friday at A&M Consolidated.

“These are the most important (games) of the season,” said Lady Lion head coach Christine Jaques. “We’ve spent most of the time on the road, which has been hit and miss for us. Playing Huntsville Tuesday is huge because we have to win out.

“For us to fight and win out, we have to come out and produce runs, and we have to have a game plan to go with, and to fight the whole game, not just here and there.

“Playing at home is huge for us, because we haven’t played home yet in this long journey in the second round, so it’s very important that we split with Huntsville.”
The loss to Willis Friday tied the two teams in the district standings.

In their previous two games, the Lady Lions had accumulated 13 runs, defeating Bryan Rudder 5-0 and dropping a 9-8 decision to College Station. Friday, they fell victim, as many have, to Wildkat pitcher Casey Dixon.

The ace threw all seven innings, allowed just one hit, and recorded 13 strikeouts.

“We came out and we just went flat,” said Jaques. “We didn’t execute when it was needed. We put runners in scoring position and didn’t do anything with them.”
Grason Long had the only hit of the game with a leadoff single in the second inning. She stole second, but was stranded when Dixon struck out the next three batters.

Dixon fanned six of Livingston’s first seven batters, and finished with at least one strikeout in all seven frames. She got stronger as the game went and did not allow a base runner past the third inning.

Livingston put two base runners on in the third frame, but failed to get beyond second base. Hailey McClendon was hit by a pitch, but was forced out at second on a ball hit to third by Darian Drake. Drake quickly stole second, but was stranded when Dixon ended the frame with another strikeout.

“We didn’t adjust to her; we let her play her game instead of us playing ours,” said Jaques. “We let her dictate what was going to happen in the circle and she dictated the game.

“I think once our defense kind of settled down, we definitely held them. I thought Anna (Bass) pitched a good game, but we have a lot of work ahead of us to get into the playoffs. I think we went flat and that can’t happen along the way. We have to be able to hit at all points and time.”
Jaques was quick, however, to credit the Wildkat pitcher. “She’s a good pitcher, she’s very disciplined, and she doesn’t give up many walks.

“I don’t think she walked anybody. She fights back and we didn’t adjust when we needed to. We chased everything. We fed into her game and once she got a rhythm going of how to get to us – she found it and went after it. We never adjusted, so therefore, she dictated the whole game.”

Dixon was backed by a solid offense. The Wildkats’ fourth, fifth and sixth hitters did most of the damage. Cleanup batter Samara Lagway hit a solo home run in the third and singled in the fifth. Kalynn Johnson followed with a 2-for-3 performance, including a two-run blast in the fifth inning. Rachel Brown, batting sixth, opened with a two-run double in the first and singled in the fifth for the home team.

DSC 3462-640pHailey McClendon throws to first base to get the final out in the first inning at Willis Friday.

DSC 3465-640pGrason Long had the only hit for Livingston in Friday’s 6-0 loss versus the league-leading Willis Lady Wildkats.

No-hitter propels Lions past Huntsville

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Andrew King had a night to remember on the mound Tuesday versus the Huntsville Hornets, throwing a no-hitter in Livingston’s 5-0 victory at The Livingston ISD Baseball Complex.

The senior right-hander tossed seven innings, striking out 12 Hornets and walking three. King allowed four total base runners (one on a dropped third strike), but was able to erase two. One was picked off of first base, while another was gunned down at second in a stolen base attempt.

“We’ve put ourselves in a bind and every game is pretty much a playoff for us now,” Livingston coach Mike Innerarity said. “We have put ourselves behind the eightball, but our kids the last three games have played really well. Pitching has been really good the last couple of games and we have to continue to do that. We had some opportunities to get some more runs in with runners at second and third and no one out, but we didn’t get anybody in. That’s the kind of stuff we talk about all the time where good teams will make you pay for not taking advantage of that situation. We got enough done tonight to get by. The great thing about these kids here is they never quit. We have been down and way out and they will find a way to fight back in it.”

Corbin Patterson got the Lions started in the first with a one-out double. After a groundout pushed Patterson to third, Andrew King laced a single up the middle to score the first run.

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In the second, Lane Purvis singled with one out and Peyton Stewart was hit by a pitch. Brannon Miller hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Stewart out at second. Miller then took second on the first pitch to Derrick Findley, who hit a two-RBI single, making it a 3-0 contest after two innings.
With two outs in the fourth inning, the Lions got singles from Miller and Findley, setting up Patterson. The Livingston left fielder singled in Miller to extend the lead to 4-0.

Again with one out, Livingston went to work on offense in the sixth. Findley singled and stole second base. With two-outs a Boothe pop up turned into a single when it was lost in the night sky. The RBI brought Findley across home for the final run.   

Finishing the contest as strong as he began, King retired the Hornets in order, striking out his final batter. He was backed all night by good defense from the Lion infield that received the majority of opportunities.

“To throw a no-hitter — especially early, he was making himself work,” Innerarity said. “I think he felt like he had to strike them all out. I told him between half innings that he was going six or seven pitches on every hitter. You don’t have to do that. Let them hit the ball. Early, Brannon Miller made a good play and Peyton Stewart made a good play. When we played Willis a couple of weeks ago, those were base hits. They took them away, so that kept them in the ballgame. It’s hard to beat a no-hitter.

Anybody that throws a no-hitter, that is a great accomplishment, so I am proud for him.

The home team’s offense accumulated 11 hits. Findley and King had three each, and Patterson had two.  

With the win and a Bryan Rudder loss versus College Station, the two schools are now tied for the fourth and final playoff seed in District 18-5A.

“I told the kids that we need to stay within one (game) of Rudder, because we already beat them (in Bryan),” the Livingston coach said. “If we beat them here and get a tie, we get the tiebreaker.”

lionshuntsville1-640pAndrew King threw seven innings, allowing just four base runners and striking out 12.

lionshuntsville2-640pTeammates congratulate senior Andrew King on his no-hit performace Tuesday.

Two LHS cheerleaders named to All-State team

LHS-cheerleadersKelsi Peters and Savanah Steffey (l-r) of Livingston were named to the Class 5A Academic All-State cheerleading team. The 2015-16 school year marked the first time that UIL officially recognized cheerleading as an approved activity. With this recognition came the opportunity for students to be acknowledged by the UIL for their superior efforts. This year, the Livingston High School Varsity Cheerleaders, are proud to announce Peters and Steffey were two of only 15 girls named to the team from across the state in Class 5A. To garner such an honor, the ladies have to be classified as a senior, be a member of the varsity squad, and have an overall GPA of 92 or higher.

Local hoopster gaining court time playing AAU ball

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Briana Hutchinson, currently a sophomore at Livingston High School, is gaining valuable court time playing AAU basketball for the 3T Franchize 16U team.

The commitment keeps Hutchinson on the go with practices and tournaments mostly in the Houston area. This summer the team will travel to tournaments in Chicago and Las Vegas, as well.

The team recently competed at the Hoopstar Fest in Pasadena, where they brought home first place and received a plaque and medals for their effort.

Coached by Melvin Marks and Broderick Williams, the 3T Franchize squad got off to a great start in their AAU basketball season by posting wins over Team Choice (34-20), Team Faith (41-15) and Hoopstar (38-17).

Hutchinson’s teammates include Sierra Fuller (Cypress Lakes), Morrison Neal (Splendora), Essence Richards (Tomball Memorial), Cameron Thompson (Cy-Fair), Kayia

Jackson (Summer Creek), Tevin Hainey (Waltrip), Ashley Edwards (Waltrip), Lauren Romo (Atascocita), Ah’Jaya Johnson (Oak Ridge) and Laurin Gregory (Oak Ridge).

Briana-Hutchinson640pBriana Hutchinson (third from left), a sophomore at Livingston High School, is playing AAU basketball with the 3T Franchize, a team comprised of mostly Houston area schools. The 3T Franchize recently won first place at a tournament in Pasadena. Hutchinson and the team will compete in area tournaments, as well as tournaments in Chicago and Las Vegas during the summer months.