RECORD PHOTO: Darren Hoyland    

Orangefield Bobcat Mason Gonzales is safe at home against the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears. The Bobcats won the district match-uo 3-1. 

By Dave Rogers

For The Record

Baseball play’s heating up and district championships for tennis and track are up for grabs this week.

But first, some well-deserved words for the area’s most successful team sports entry since West Orange-Stark’s run through last fall’s football playoffs …

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Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s girls soccer team battled Hardin-Jefferson Tuesday night in a third-round Class 4A playoff match in Winnie.

Results were not available at press time.

A win in the regional quarterfinal match would send the Bears to the Region III tournament Friday and Saturday at A&M Consolidated.

LCM’s girls are enjoying their deepest playoff run under coach Cammie Palmer, who is in her 12th season in charge of the program.

“We have just the right combination of girls that have played for us and girls that haven’t played,” Palmer said.

“The keys have been teamwork and just deciding they’re going to play for each other and not just for themselves.”

Palmer’s experienced players include captains Megan Brzezinski, a senior; Kourtney Baldwin and Mayra Hernandez, juniors; and Kayla Nichols, sophomore.

Brzezinski, Baldwin and Hernandez were first-team all-district picks a year ago while Nichols was newcomer of the year.

“Those are the ones we rely on,” Palmer said.

The Bears play in 20-4A. Because 4A is the smallest classification for UIL soccer, there’s an odd mix in the five-team district, with Hamshire-Fannett, Bridge City, East Chambers and Port Arthur’s Bob Hope School being LCM’s league competition.

The Bears outscored their district opponents 35-7, going 7-1 with a 5-3 loss and 1-0 win against Hamshire-Fannett, the team it shared the district title with.

LCM was 17-3-2 entering Tuesday’s match, having outscored its opponents 71-25 for the season.

Those scores included previous playoff wins over Center (7-0) and Lorena (3-2).

The Bears picked up a 2-1 win over Hardin-Jefferson at the PNG tournament at the start of the season, then tied the Hawks 2-2 in a later matchup.

“They’re pretty competitive,” Palmer said of the Hawks.

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Tired of traveling to away games and tournaments?

Orange’s Sunset Grove County Club and Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School are hosting the District 22-4A golf tournament Monday and Tuesday, April 10-11.

Boys and girls teams from Bridge City, Hamshire-Fannett, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Orangefield, Silsbee and West Orange-Stark will be teeing off at 9 a.m. each morning.

“It’s going to be nice,” West Orange-Stark golf coach Ed Dyer said. “Normally [for district tourneys], we have to travel an hour, 20 minutes up to Wildwood.”

Dyer can recall when the Mustangs’ district used to split its two-day tournament between Wildwood and Sunset Grove, but the Orange course has been out of the rotation for a number of years.

“It’ll be nice to not have to start your day so early,” Dyer said.

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Round One of the highly anticipated matchup of state-ranked 22-4A baseball frontrunners Silsbee and West Orange-Stark takes place Friday on the Mustangs’ diamond.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Silsbee was 17-2 and ranked No. 6 in the state at the start of the week with WOS 15-3 and No. 11. Both clubs got out to a 3-0 start in district play.

“It’s always competitive when we play Silsbee,” sixth-year Mustang baseball coach Shae Landry said. “Actually, we haven’t beaten them too many times since I’ve been here.”

The coach says in order for the Mustangs to top the Tigers, pitcher Jack Dallas, who’s off to a 5-1 start with a 0.79 earned run average and 59 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched, “is going to have to keep doing what he’s done all year.

“And we have to pick it up defensively,” Landry said. “It seems like we give up two or three errors per game when he pitches. We have to clean up our defense and get timely hits.”

Meanwhile, there’s a third top-15 team in 22-4A. Bridge City was 10-7 and ranked No. 15 in the state Monday.

The Cardinals went into Tuesday’s game at Hamshire-Fannett 1-2 in district, having lost to both Silsbee and WOS.

They face a third-place showdown Friday when they host Orangefield. The Bobcats were 2-1 heading into Tuesday’s game at WO-S.

LCM and Hamshire-Fannett were both 0-3 in district heading into April.

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The Little Cypress-Mauriceville boys and Bridge City girls took the early lead in the District 22-4A track meet at Silsbee.

After Monday’s field events and 3,200 runs, LCM had 57 in the boys standings, followed by Bridge City at 47, West Orange-Stark at 44 and Orangefield at 39.

Girls standings saw Bridge City first with 81 points and Orangefield next with 65. WOS and LCM girls were each more than 50 points behind Orangefield.

Nine track finals for both boys and girls will be held when the meet wraps up Thursday.

LCM boys picked up three Monday firsts: Trey Guillory in the triple jump (44-7), Brandon Jenkins in the shot put (48-1) and Eli Peveto in the 3,200 (10:58.81).

Orangefield had a pair of winners in discus thrower Michael Teeples (129-7) and pole vaulter Tyler Jenkins (12-0) while Jared Dupree of WOS cleared 6-8 in the high jump.

Bridge City’s girls did not win an event Monday, racking up their points with team strength.

Orangefield’s girls won four events: Skylar Matson in the shot put (34-9), Bailee Click in the high jump (5-4), Madison Helm in the 3,200 (12:52.79) and Brooklyn Goldsmith in the pole vault (10-6).

Teammate Mackenzie Davis challenged Goldsmith in the pole vault, clearing 10 feet for second, while Helm held off Hamshire-Fannett’s Lilly Sachitano by just four seconds in the eight-lap, 3,200 run.

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Bridge City, LCM and Silsbee were all tied atop the 22-4A softball standings at 3-1, with Orangefield 2-2 heading into Tuesday night’s play.