Jeff Fults

Sports Commentary

For The Record

As the weather has heated-up, so has our area’s Dist. 24-4A baseball and softball action lighting up diamonds all over Orange County.

Coach Dena Adkins’ Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears played three games in three days leaving the Bears with a district record of 3-1 at weeks end. The lone-loss came last Thursday at the hands of the Bridge City Lady Cardinals (3-0), with a solid pitching performance by Kellyn Cormier, making it a complete game shutout.  

The Hardin-Jefferson Lady Hawks are also undefeated in district play (3-0) going into this week with a familiar foe in their sights. Thursday night the Lady Hawks come to Bridge City and hope to claim possession at the top of the board in Dist. 24-4A.

The Orangefield Lady Bobcats (1-3) and the West Orange-Stark Lady Mustangs (0-3) continue to claw their way into playoff positions. It’s still early in the season and anything can happen between now and then.

The Lady Bobcat hitting has been led by senior Ashton Gautreaux batting a .447 with 17 hits and 17 RBI’s and two homers. Freshman pitcher Kaylee Ancelot averages .488 with 20 hits, 12 RBI’s, four doubles and 2 HR’s at this point in as the stats continue to climb. On the hill Ancelot has tallied 27 strikeouts in 36 innings of softball.

Lady Bobcat senior pitcher Gabby Kespelher has been outstanding sending  87 batters back to the dug out in just over 50 innings on the mound.

Bridge City Cardinal Blaine Slaughter hits one deep for Big Red against LCM.   RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Bridge City Cardinal Blaine Slaughter hits one deep for Big Red against LCM.   RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

  In Orange County baseball action, the Bridge City Cardinals (1-0) hosted the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Battlin’ Bears (0-1) for each team’s district opener before a standing room only crowd on Friday. University of Texas commit, Chase Shugart, stood tall with a complete game, seven strike outs and giving up only three hits. Bridge City toppled their cross-county rival 7-1.

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Little Cyprress Mauriceville Bear left hander Drake Trawhon delivers a pitch during the district opener against the Bridge City Cardinals this week. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Drake Trawhon was on the hill for the LCM Bears until late innings he when he was relieved by ace, Coby Roddy, who pitched shutout ball earlier in the week going 5 innings and giving up only one hit against the Hampshire-Fannett Longhorns who fell 9-1 to LCM. Nevertheless, Cardinal bats were too hot on Friday night. LCM will get another shot at Bridge City on their home field on April 14 during round two of district baseball.  

The West Orange-Stark Mustangs (0-1) are a likely candidate to play the spoiler in Dist. 24-4A. The Mustangs took a 8-1 district loss against Hardin-Jefferson but things are just getting rolling for Coach Shea Landry and crew. Front runners right now can expect some upsets.

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Orangefield Bobcat Caleb Hussey is safe after stealing third base in collision with a Hardin Jefferson defender.  RECORD PHOTO: Lawrence Trimm

  Teams may be left scrambling for places to play after Saturday’s monsoon, but one thing is for certain, this year will be interesting and competitive. Both BC teams are off to a fast start but there is a reason why you play the game, just ask me about my NCAA bracket after the first day. See ya at the game!

Sports Junkie Extra:

Herman Edwards, an ex NFL head coach, once said at an interview after a loss, “you play to win the game.” Julie Batista had asked in the interview, “now that you are 2-5, how do you get your team to respond for the remainder of the season?” These words are now etched in sports trivia and had me thinking. If you were a coach in a district with five to seven teams, playing each team twice, and knowing that three teams had a legitimate ace, one being on your team, (remember four advance in playoffs) your ace against their ace? Mono y mono? 

Taking the chance on losing games that you should win and then lose the game with all the hype head to head, playoffs would then be questionable.

Tod McDowell slides in safe at home to score for the Bridge City Cardinals against the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears.   RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Tod McDowell slides in safe at home to score for the Bridge City Cardinals against the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears.   RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

  Softball pitchers, unlike baseball pitchers, can throw countless numbers of innings before arm fatigue and stress. I once witnessed former LCM’s Cody Trahan pitch 416 innings in one weekend! Alright, maybe fabricated, but the song “Lean On Me” has been dedicated to her several times during tournament play. With that being said, if it’s already determined, your team has won the district, do you rest starters? Not like back in the day where only district champion advances, which in turn gives you Beau Hale vs. Jesse Floyd. Teams actually get to smell the aura of success with a losing record. Ask the mighty WOS Mustangs last football season where they found themselves playing Scarborough in Bi District.  

I personally am not against four teams advancing. If you were to ask anyone if they remember what place they were as a junior or senior (other than champions) in high school, they probably would not remember 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place finishes. They would have, however, an Al Bundy experience to pass to their children and how great their team was and that’s what really counts, the kids.  

Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Mitchell Lee is at bat for the Bears against the Bridge City Cardinals.  RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Mitchell Lee is at bat for the Bears against the Bridge City Cardinals.  RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

You  may have to give up a bishop or rook to check mate your opponent. 

So I pose the question, do you play to win, or do you play to advance? Oh, by the way number one seeds rarely win the championship.

Photo at top – Chase Shugart is on the hill for the Bridge City Cardinals against the Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears.  Shugart struck out seven and allowed just two hits to win 7-1.   RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn