Red River thoughts

October 18, 2009

As a Sooner fan living in the heart of Longhorn country, I’ve had some interesting dialouge over the past 24 hours with Texas fans, as I do each time this year after the annual Red River Rivalry game. 

This season’s contest goes to the Longhorns in a 16-13 defensive slugfest that saw OU quarterback Sam Bradford leave the game after re-injuring the sprained A-C joint in his throwing shoulder – the same ailment that knocked him out of the BYU game over a month ago. 

Let me preface the rest of this by admitting that I’m about to come off as a whining, flailing OU fan trying to rationalize what’s turning into a bad season.  Guilty as charged.  At least I don’t lack self awareness.

Given the circumstances – no Bradford, no All-American tight-end Jermaine Gresham, and top receiver Ryan Broyles playing hurt with a fractured shoulder blade – I’d say no OU fan could have asked for the Sooners to play much better Saturday.  All the cards were lined up for a Texas blowout, and the OU defense didn’t let it happen.  Two dropped interceptions by OU linebacker Keenan Clayton and a touchdown saving tackle by Colt McCoy after throwing a pick to Brian Jackson allowed the Longhorns to survive this one.  And hats off to them – wounded opponent or not, a win is a win in this rivalry.

But here’s what I find interesting in talking to some Texas fans (some…not a blanket statement here…just some).  There’s a school of thought among some of them that OU fans are just “making excuses” when they blame their three losses (by a combined five points) on injuries.  Right.  As if the presence or absence of a  Heisman winning quarterback (Bradford), All-American tight-end (Bradford), and the nation’s leader in TD receptions (Broyles) don’t have enought impact to swing a one-point or three-point game in the other direction.

What’s really neat about this is the fact that in 2006, when Colt McCoy was hurt late in the season, those same Texas fans had no problem using that injury as an excuse in losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M (and they were right…and I agreed with them).  So to be sure I’ve got it right:  When a Texas player gets hurt, it’s a legitimate reason for losing, but when an OU player gets hurt, Sooner fans are “whiners”.  Airtight logic.

Also had a dialouge with my best friend, who also happens to be a Texas fan, about Bradford’s injury.  His contention is that OU fans have no right to complain about the injury because poor offensive line play has allowed Bradford to take a lot of hits, and with more hits comes a greater risk of injury.  He has a point on some level, but it’s not that simple.  

My rebuttal is this:  There are 120 teams in Division I college football, and OU ranks 34th in fewest sacks allowed, with eight.  That means there are 86 teams in the nation with quarterbacks who have been hit MORE than Sam Bradford this season, and NONE of them have sprained AC joints in their throwing shoulders.  So I think my contention that Bradford’s injury is a rare, flukish, unlucky, freak occurence is well supported by the numbers.  By the way, Texas has actually allowed one more sack than OU this year, and Colt McCoy’s shoulder is not in a sling – again evidence that shoulder injuries to quarterbacks are rare, not common. 

Now… to what this game means for the college football season…Texas, at 6-0 and with a favorable Big-12 schedule in front of them, has a tremendous opportunity win its second conference title in the Mack Brown era, and to advance to the BCS championship game.  The Horns shouldn’t have a problem on the road at Missouri this Saturday, but visiting OSU in Stillwater on Halloween could get hairy, especially if Dez Bryant is reinstated by the NCAA & suits up for the Boone Pickens Pokes.  Remember – the Pokes (refuse to call them the Cowboys – the Cowboys play in Dallas) gave UT a scare in a 28-24 game in Austin a year ago, and they’ve got plenty of offensive firepower. 

Texas, by the way, has offensive line issues of its own to work out.  Frankly, I was shocked to see the stats reveal that the Longhorns had actually given up more sacks than OU this season.  But in the past two games, against OU & Colorado, UT has struggled to protect Colt McCoy and has had to rely almost exclusively on defense and special teams play to win.  This will have to get fixed as the stakes get higher later in the year. 

As far as the Sooners go, the season goals have dramatically changed…OU came into the year with national title aspirations, and anybody with common sense has to admit that those hopes would still be alive if the Sooners had the fortune of fielding a healthy team this year.  But the reality of it is that three losses by five total points leave OU at 3-3 and unranked for the time being.  The focus for the Sooners now is on just trying to win out and let the chips fall where they may.  Texas has to lose twice for OU to have a shot at another Big 12 title, and that’s highly unlikely to happen.  So we Sooner fans are now relegated to seeing a 9-3 regular season and Cotton Bowl berth as a successful season.  That’s life.  The cupboard isn’t bare in Norman, and OU will be right back in the hunt next year.

There…the whining OU fan now has it out of his system.  Cowboys are off today, so I’m off to the driving range to work on my golf swing – a pursuit even more hopeless than the Sooners’ national title chances.

Tough weekend for Mats & Bulldogs

October 18, 2009

Not a great weekend for the area high school teams we featured in our broadcast games.  Friday night, Seguin dropped to 0-4 in District 27-4A with a 28-0 loss to Clemens in Schertz.  Saturday evening, Marion fell to 0-2 in District 27-3A with a 39-0 loss to Sam Houston at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.

That’s a combined score of 67-0 in two nights.  Didn’t get to make a single touchdown call as the play-by-play voice of area teams this weekend.   Those of you who kept listening in the fourth quarter of those games get a gold star.

A common theme this weekend for the Matadors and Bulldogs was struggling offenses running into fast, ball-hawking defenses.  Seguin had any hopes of coming back from a 14-0 halftime deficit dashed in the third quarter Friday when Clemens returned two interceptions for touchdowns.  Likewise for Marion, who trailed 13-o at the half on a pair of Sam Houston touchdowns that were set up by interceptions.

Another common theme was each team’s defense struggling with a fleet footed dual-threat quarterback.  Clemens signal-caller Stanley Harris gashed the Mats for 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns Friday, while Sam Houston QB Dominique Broadnax-Lee scrambled his way to 67 yards on just eight carries and tossed three touchdown passes.

Both teams now find themselves in dire straights as far as their respective district races go.  Seguin faces the prospect of having to win out (with Steele – the top 4A team in the San Antonio metro area – still on the schedule) and receive lots of help if the Matadors hope to secure a playoff berth.  Marion finds itself in the same conundrum, with rapidly improving Luling, always dangerous Poteet, and regional power La Vernia still looming on the slate. 

All either squad can do now is just keep fighting and competing every Friday night, and let the chips fall where they may.

The comeback kids

September 13, 2009

Quite an impressive rally by the Matadors at East Central Friday night.  Seguin was down 21-7 and looked stuck in the mud offensively at halftime, but the Mats outscored the Hornets 24-0 in the second half to notch an impressive road win heading into the bye week.

I don’t know if it was head coach Jim Carson, offensive coordinator Mitch Ables, or defensive coordinator Claude Basset, or all three who delivered the halftime speech, and I don’t know if there was gentle encouragement or a  fire-breathing rant.  But it worked.  The Mats came out breathing fire in the 3rd quarter.  A few observations:

1) Can’t emphasize enough how big Chris Mcleod’s sack of Horents’ QB Eddie Lopez was late in the 2nd quarter.  East Central had just recovered an onside kick at Seguin’s 45 after taking a 21-7 lead, and had a mindset of going for the jugular and putting the game away before the break.  Mcleod busting through the line and sacking Lopez on first down basically killed that possession, and kept the deficit at a manageable 14 points going into the lockerroom.  It was the play that allowed for the plays that led to the plays that led to the comeback. (Huh?)  What I mean is…without that sack, the rally may never have happened.

2)  Seguin’s receivers are coming into their own.  Ideally, the quarterback has great protection, the receiver gets wide open, and the throw hits the target in stride.  But it doesn’t always work out that way, and sometimes receivers have to flat out MAKE PLAYS to keep the offense moving.  Dustin Read and Popeye Carter did a lot of that Friday night.  Read made a couple of remarkable diving catches – one down the sideline for a first down, and one for the two-point conversion after his second touchdown catch to give Seguin a 24-21 lead.  Carter made, perhaps, the catch of the game early in the fourth quarter when he basically did the splits at the one-yard line and came up with a shoestring grab of an underthrown pass to set up the Mats’ final touchdown, which produced the final 31-21 margin.  (A photo of Carter’s grab, taken by our talented staff photograper Andie Rangel-Jenner, can be found in Monday’s edition of the Seguin Daily News, in the sports section of www.seguintoday.com, and on the Seguin page of Football Central

Brig Gerlich, last weeks’ “Built Ford Tough Texas State Football Player of the Week” for his 338/ 125/ 3 TD outing against Georgetown, is a terrific quarterback, but he’s got to feel good knowing that he’s got receivers who can go get the ball and make tough catches if throws are occasionally off target.

3) Can we get a tip of the cap to Seguin’s offensive line for Friday’s performance?  I’m talking about the fine work of Joseph Cheek, Anthony Razo, Chase Ramos, Christian Jackson, and Austin Worthy for consistently protecting their quarterback and opening holes against a beastly East Central D-line that averages 265 lbs and is led by OU-bound All-Area tackle Torrea Peterson.  Nice work up front, boys.  The Mats need more of the same in district play.

4) This team has a stout secondary.  For the third straight game, safeties Bubba Lawson and Howard Matthews EACH intercepted a pass, and nickel safety Daniel Zamora recorded his second fumble recovery of the season.  Cornerbacks Chris Carpenter and Mason Schmidt have done an excellent job in pass coverage, and Schmidt made some impressive open-field tackles Friday in run support against the Hornets’ All-Area tailback Chris Johnson.  The Mats have some some serious athletes in that defensive backfield.

5) The officials were a liiiiiiiiiiitle flag-happy Friday night.  I don’t want to get into criticizing officials – I understand that it’s an extremely difficult and often thankless job, but 30 combined penalties for 294 yards?  I’m finding it extremely difficult to believe that the actual infractions in Friday’s game were that great in number.  Maybe I’m wrong.  The good news is, Seguin has two weeks on the practice field to work out the kinks and cut down on the penalties before district play begins.

6) And speaking of District 27-4A …it doesn’t look nearly as imposing as it did a year ago.  Don’t get me wrong…it’s still a tough-as-nails league to play football in, but there are some teams that were hit hard by graduation, and early returns in non-district play indicate that only Steele and Kerrville-Tivy can be considered clear-cut favorites in any given district game involving the other five teams.  Alamo Heights and Clemens will be tough, but they’re beatable, and Seguin gets the Mules at home.  Boerne-Champion is a solid football team, though the Chargers are breaking in new starters at quarterback and tailback, but they also have to visit Matador Stadium this year.  New Braunfels-Canyon and San Marcos look immenently beatable.  So the pundits who picked Seguin dead last in this district may be eating their words when the Mats are strapping up their pads for a playoff game in November.  Not guaranteeing it…just saying that Seguin fans have every reason in the world to be optimisitc about it.  If the Matadors stay healthy, they are a playoff contender – even in this district.

Opening night thoughts

August 28, 2009

The opening night of the 2009 football season has arrived for three area high school teams – Seguin, Marion, and Lifegate all take the field this evening –  while Navarro waits another week to get its season started. 

As we count down to air time (6 p.m.) for our broadcast of Seguin @ New Braunfels, a few thoughts are swirling through my head.

* I think we’ve nailed down exactly how many times Seguin and New Braunfels have played.  The first season I covered the Matadors (2006), I tabbed that meeting as the 95th, simply because I went through our Seguin Daily News archives and found the preview story from the year before that had the 2005 game as the 94th.  So I’ve gone with that count since, and was ready to call this year’s edition the 98th game between the teams.

As it turns out, a closer examination of our records that archive the season-by-season history of the program have THIS year’s meeting as the 95th, with New Braunfels leading the series 54-46-4.  The other publication in Seguin that covers Matador football also tabs this season’s game as the 95th, as does the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung.

So we’ll go with 95th.  Glad we cleared that up…the 100th meeting between the schools is right around the corner, and that needs to be labeled correctly as such.

**I’m looking for a closer game tonight than last year’s 51-6 debacle.  Brig Gerlich – bigger, stronger, faster, more savvy, and vastly improved since last season – won’t be the same quarterback we saw making his first varsity start as a sophomore against a LOADED Unicorn defense in ’08. 

***Speaking of that New Braunfels defense, it lost eight players to graduation, but it still looks pretty stout.  If Penn State is Linebacker U., then New Braunfels is Linebacker High.  Last year’s stud was Tom Wort, who is now at Oklahoma and had worked his way on to the two-deep before tearing his ACL.  This year’s unit is anchored by John Bordano and Aaron Hayduk, both hard hitting players who run to the football fast.  Whether or not Seguin’s offensive line, led by varsity veterans Joseph Cheek, Chase Ramos, and Anthony Razo, can keep Bordano & Hayduk blocked will go a long way in determining the Matadors’ offensive success tonight.

****A thought on Marion:  At the end of last season, in this blog space, I mentioned how impressed we were with the athletic ability of Sean Hessler – at that time a starting defensive back and backup QB for the Bulldogs.  He continued to impress us as a sophomore starting on both the varsity basketball and baseball teams as the school year progressed.  Well, this year the keys to the offense have been handed to Hesler now that Jordan Littlefield has graduated.  I can’t wait to see this kid touch the football on every play when we broadcast the Marion – Sam Houston game on Saturday, October 17.  Oh yeah…he’s got a fleet-footed target to throw to in Nathan DeHoyos that defenses had better be concerned with.  Rebuilding year or not, Hesler and DeHoyos should be an exciting tandem to watch out at Veterans Stadium this fall. 

*****Be sure to tune in to AM-1580-KWED, or log on to www.seguintoday.com at 6:00 tonight for the Prep Preview.  We’ll have the first of our weekly coaches’ interviews with Marion’s Glen Davis, Navarro’s Les Goad, and Lifegate’s John Rabon, as well as our picks for games involving teams in Districts 27-4A, 27-3A, and 28-2A, and the usual pre-game banter.  Sennett and Darren will begin their quests to unseat the two-time defending champion of our picks competition (a title I chalk up completely to blind luck).  Then at 7:00, we start live pre-game coverage of Seguin & New Braunfels at Unicorn Stadium.  Hope to have you listening if you can’t make it to the game!

A few thoughts from the links

July 14, 2009

With school out and the local sports schedule relatively slow over the past couple of months, I’ve had the chance to find my way onto the golf course a bit more frequently as of late. 

I have a question for those of you reading who play golf on a regular basis – has anybody else had an experience with an overzealous course marshall heaping blame on the wrong culprit for slow pace of play?  Or just a rude course marshall in general looking to wield his power and seek out an argument for the sake of argument? I recently had a negative experience in that department that I’ll share in a moment. 

Let me start by saying that I’m a terrible player, but I’m not a slow player.  I play “ready golf”, and I’m ALWAYS thinking about keeping up the pace of play.  I don’t take three different clubs from my bag before deciding on which to use, and I’m not one of those guys who takes eight practice swings before my shot.  I’m a short hitter, but I generally hit it straight and keep it in play.  On the rare occasion I do send a ball toward the trees or the water, I don’t waste much time looking for it.  Go over to the general area, look around for about 30 seconds, and if I don’t see my ball, drop another one and take the penalty stroke.  In short, I might take 100 strokes to wormburn, chip, and putt my way around the course, but I’m NEVER, EVER, EVER the reason for a slow pace of play, no matter how high the number is on my scorecard at the end of the day.

A couple of weeks ago I was playing in a foursome at…let’s just say “An Area Course”, to avoid giving anybody any bad publicity.  Our group had a family in front of us consisting of a dad, mom, and two kids.  The dad was basically using the course to give his kids a golf lesson.  This is unbelieveably rude, in my opinion – seriously, could a person be more self absorbed and less considerate than that?  The driving range is for teaching your kids to play, the course is for playing golf, period.  At any rate, our pace of play crept to a snail’s pace behind the family in front of us. 

Mercifully, the family left after nine holes (without ever offering to let us play through), so things opened up in front of us.  We got to #11, a par-3, and decided to let the threesome behind us play through (the right thing to do).  Mind you, these guys weren’t any better players than we were, but there were three of them and four of us, so common sense says let them play through.  At that point, a course marshall or pro (young, unjustifiably cocky fellow) drove up in a cart, approached us with an accusatory attitude, and said something to the effect of “what are you guys doing – you can’t play with seven in a group!” 

(Let me pause here to say this.  Anybody with any shred of common sense whatsoever who sees seven guys around a green would conclude that there’s a foursome letting a threesome play through.  Only a miserable, conflict seeking half-wit would jump to the conclusion that seven are playing in the same group.)

So…we explained to the Little General that we were a foursome allowing a group of three to play through, to which he responded “Well, there are three holes open in front of you guys – you need to speed it up.” 

We then explained that we had an extremely slow family of four playing in front of us for the first nine holes, to which he responded “Well, when these three guys play through, I expect you to keep up with them.”  

It was like having a conversation with a brick wall.  Don’t know who the kid was (and he may be 35 years old, but I’m calling him a kid because he behaved like one – brash, cocky, and inconsiderate).  What I do know is that in the current economic climate, the last thing any representative of any business should ever even think about doing is being rude to a paying customer.  I don’t  know anything about the current financial health of this particular course, but judging from its condition, I’d say the staff needs to focus its efforts on attracting more players to generate revenue as opposed to turning them away. 

I understand that marshalling a golf course, much like refereeing or umpiring a game in other sports, is often a thankless job.  I also understand that there are plenty of rude players these guys have to deal with on a daily basis, and that could lead one to adopt a defensive attitude over time.  But it’s still your job to paint a smile on your face and always give every player you approach the benefit of the doubt, remembering all the while that the player is a paying customer who essentially pays your salary before you jump to the conclusion that he’s the cause of slow play.  If you can’t embrace that mentality, then find another job – marshalling a golf course isn’t a vocation your personality is suited for.

Break in the action for Little League

July 14, 2009

With all but two Seguin teams eliminated from the Little League All-Star post-season, this week will be a quiet one on the diamonds. 

Seguin’s 10-11 year old softball team is waiting to play in its state tournament at Starcke Park at the end of next week (July 25), advancing straight through from the district level without having to play a sectional tournament due to a lack of other teams at the sectional level. 

Seguin’s Big League team gets a longer free pass than that – there are no other teams in that age group to compete against Seguin at the district, sectional, or state levels, so Seguin’s All-Stars in the Big League division will open their summer post-season in the regional tournament at Starcke Park, beginning the final week of July. 

In terms of the age groups we’ve traditionally done game broadcasts for over the years, the Little League All-Star playoffs have been a bit disappointing for Seguin teams this summer.  The Majors (11-12) baseball and softball teams were eliminated at the district level – a combination that hadn’t happened in any of the three previous summers I’ve covered Little League for KWED.  Juniors softball – the most successful group in 2008 with district, sectional, and state championships (all won on the field, not handed to them for lack of opponents), and a strong showing at the Southwest Regional – didn’t field a team this year, while juniors and seniors baseball were also eliminated in district tournaments. 

Last week, we put a Seguin team on the air from the 9-10 year old softball division for the first time since I’ve been calling games for the station.  I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I have to say that we witnessed three terrific ballgames, and saw a high level of play for such a young age group.  Heartbreaking loss for Seguin in dropping the best-of-three District 31 Championship Series to Hallettsville two games to one.  After a 5-4 walk-off win in Game One in Cuero, Seguin allowed an 8-4 lead slip away in the sixth inning of a 12-10 Game Two loss at Starcke Park, and a 3-0 lead slip away in the deciding game in Cuero on Saturday.  Tough break for the kids on Seguin’s team, but a valuable learning experience to carry into future summers of competition.

Resiliant Mats control playoff destiny with two to play

April 22, 2009

If there’s one thing that can be said about the 2009 Seguin High School baseball team, it’s that this group of guys is NOT ready to have its season come to an end. 

With two games remaining on the District 27-4A schedule, the Matadors are tied with Kerrville-Tivy for the fourth and final playoff seed in the district.  Both teams have 5-5 records against 27-4A opponents. 

Without a pair of scrappy, hard fought seventh inning rallies in district games, Seguin wouldn’t be in its current position.  On April 3, the Mats trailed New Braunfels-Canyon 5-2 going into the seventh and scored five runs in the final frame to come back for a 7-5 win.  On Monday of this week, Seguin trailed Boerne-Champion 4-2 after six-and-a-half innings and plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh to knock off the district leading (at the time) Chargers 5-4. 

In both games, the top portion of Seguin’s lineup found a way to reach base and get rallies started after struggling throughout the game prior to the final inning.  And in both games, the Mats got clutch performances from the same two players in the bottom part of the order.  Jared Curnel, batting in the 7-hole, drove in the tying run against Canyon and Champion, while Donald Fennell, hitting in the 8-hole, delivered the go ahead RBI in each contest. 

Another common theme in both of those comeback wins was the bulldog like persistence of Seguin starting pitcher Jacob Nieto.  He fought off shaky early innings in each contest to keep the Mats in the game, looked stronger as the innings went by, and recorded complete-game wins against each opponent. 

At some point in every post-game interview I’ve done with Seguin head coach Curtis Hosek, he’s said something akin to “These guys aren’t going to quit – they aren’t going to give up.  They might get knocked down, but they’ll get back up.”  Those qualities – scrappiness, resilience, toughness, relentlessness – have shaped the identity of this team. 

Now – let’s look at the race for those playoff berths in 27-4A – Seguin has two games left: at Cibolo-Steele this Friday at 7:00 and home vs. Canyon next Friday at the same time.  Tivy, tied with Seguin in fourth place, hosts Clemens this Friday and wraps up the schedule with a visit to Boerne-Champion next Friday.  Canyon, one game ahead of Seguin and Tivy at 6-4 in district, visits Champion this Friday and of course comes to Seguin in the season finale.  Exciting times over the next eight days in that district.  Looking at the top three teams in the standings right now, Alamo Heights is in first place at 8-3, and Champion trails by a half game at 7-3.  Finishing in first or second place is an extreme long shot for Seguin, but third or fourth are very attainable.

A flury of “no-no’s”

March 18, 2009

I don’t know if there’s ever been a two-day span in the past where four different baseball/softball teams in the KWED and Seguin Daily News coverage area have seen their pitching staffs throw no-hitters, but it certainly hasn’t happened in my time here until this week. 

Let’s take inventory:

1) TLU softball’s  Brigitte Neumann tossed a no-hitter in the Bulldogs’ 11-0 win over Sul Ross State on Monday afternoon.

2 and 3) BOTH Marion High School teams had their pitching staffs combine to no-hit their Sam Houston counterparts on Monday night.  Kim Rennspies and Shelby Thomas delivered a four-inning “no-no” in the softball team’s 18-0 win, while Jordan Littlefield and Sean Hesler left the Hurricanes hitless over five innings in the baseball team’s 11-0 victory to open District 27-3A  play.

4) Navarro softball’s Ashley Moya delivered a five-inning no hitter in the Panthers’ 13-3 run-rule victory at Nixon-Smiley to open the District 28-2A schedule.  The Mustangs managed three runs, but by means other than recording a base hit. 

We cover the baseball and softball teams of three high schools and one college, which adds up to eight teams.  Seeing four no-hitters in a season might be par for the course, maybe even out of the ordinary.  Seeing four in a two day span is off the charts.

Early observations from the diamond

March 10, 2009

With basketball season officially over and baseball & softball in full swing (pun intended), a few trends have stood out to me in getting a look at some of the local teams.  Keep in mind – I haven’t seen everybody play extensively yet, other than Seguin softball, so here are some things that have caught my eye in watching the Matadors. 

1) Seguin looks much improved from last season.  They fielded an extremely young team in 2008, with a number of freshmen & sophomores in starting roles.  Those players are a year older & wiser, and seem to carry themselves with an air of confidence and self assuredness on the field this season.  They only went 2-4 at their own tournament (great event, by the way…hats off to the staff at Huber Ranch for successfully hosting a 32-team extravaganza last weekend), but their losses to Georgetown, Wagner, and O’Connor (one of the top teams in San Antonio) all went down to the wire and gave the Mats invaluable experience going into district play.   

2)  Kelly Koenig defensively – she looked like a Gold-Glover at 3rd base as a sophomore in ’08, and has successfully made the transition to shortstop in ’09.  Former shortstop Ashlyn Tovar switched with Koenig and moved to third, where she looks to be a natural fit.  Add Brooke Abrameit at second and senior Shalee Medellin at first, and the Matadors infield is rock solid.

4) Speaking of Medellin – Good to see her back on the field & playing well in her senior season after having to sit out all of 2008 with an injury.

3) Kate Bateman in the pitcher’s circle - Geez, wasn’t it just yesterday we were watching Bateman mow down the opposition as the staff ace for the Seguin Juniors Little League All-Stars at the Southwest Regional Tournament in Odessa?  She has hit the ground running as a freshman starting pitcher on varsity, and plays with the poise and calm of an upperclassmen.  Great movement & location, great at changing velocity & keeping hitters off balance, and great at trusting the above mentioned defensive standouts to make plays behind her.  With sophomore Amber Zearfoss on a strict and limited pitch count while she recovers from a back injury, Bateman’s quick ajustment to varsity softball has been crucial in keeping the early part of the Matadors’ season afloat.  

4) Alex Bothe’s all around play – Just a terrific all-around athlete.  Runs down everything in center field, has a rocket arm, and hits with power – she belted two home-runs in the tournament over the weekend.

5) Solid hitting all the way throught he lineup – Seguin is versatile in that it has players who can swing away and execute the “small ball” game with equal effectiveness.  McKayla Mayfield and Taylor Woodall are fleet footed slap hitters that set the table at the top of the order, but the bottom third of the lineup has been very productive as well.  Taylor Nelson, batting in the #9 spot, had the game-winning RBI single to drive in Megan Reiley in Seguin’s tournament win over Austin-Anderson last Friday and has been productive all season. 

Of course, I don’t want to leave anybody out whose name wasn’t mentioned above, but those are just a few things that have stood out in watching Seguin softball early in the season.  More on the other area softball  & baseball teams to come.

Basketball playoff update

February 18, 2009

Now that the bi-district round of the UIL basketball playoffs is in the books for girls’ teams, let’s get you caught up on where teams of interest to our coverage are going, or have been.

Marion beat Yoakum 58-50 Tuesday in Lockhart to advance into the area round of the 3A Region 4 bracket.  The Bulldogs got some big performances from underclassmen seeing their first significant playoff action as varsity players.  A couple of noteworthy items in that department…

1) Freshman posts Kyana Fennell and Rachel Farris both made huge contributions in the paint.  Fennell led Marion in scoring with 14 points and also collected nine rebounds.  Farris pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds.

2) Sophomore guard Deidra Reasorfinished with eight points, and connected on 6-of-8 free throws in the second half after Marion’s lead was large enough that Yoakum had to resort to fouling.  Quite a display of calm nerves for such a young player.

It should also be noted that while senior guard Reyna Noriega only shot 3-16 in scoring her 11 points, she did lead the Bulldogs with five assists and three steals, and showed poise and calm in directing traffic and handling the ball when Yoakum went into its full-court press late in the game.  Fellow senior guard Ashley Jacobsen finished with nine points.  Can’t have too many senior guards during a playoff run. 

Looking at the other playoff teams in District 27-3A:  Luling has already been eliminated.  After claiming the #3 playoff seed out of a three-way logjam involving the Eagles, LaVernia, and Poteet, Luling fell 48-47 in a Monday bi-district game to 28-3A runner-up Edna.  District champion Sam Houston received a first-round bye and will face Stafford (who beat Smithville 51-39 Tuesday) in the area round. 

Let’s also check in on District 27-4A - Seguin’s district – and see how the Matadors best opponents from this past season are doing.  If anybody thought the Mats played in a tough league this winter, they were correct.  All four playoff qualifiers from 27-4A advanced through the bi-district round.  Steele routed Kennedy 72-44,  Kerrville-Tivy edged Brackenridge 46-43, New Braunfels-Canyon blew out Lanier 73-47, and Boerne-Champion made easy work of Burbank 53-31 to advance.

It seems weird to be talking girls’ playoff basketball and not include Navarro in the discussion, but a number of personnel changes on coach Darrell Harborth’s roster just before the season turned it into a rebuilding year for the young Panthers.  Looking at the teams that did make the playoffs in District 28-2A…champion Poth (sound familiar?) received a first-round bye.  Nixon-Smiley was eliminated in the bi-district round 47-45 by Harper, and as of this posting, no final had been reported for Tuesday’s bi-district game between Karnes City and Randolph.


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