The Richland baseball team starts nine seniors most games, and coach Chuck Wells said he’s been most impressed early on with the accountability of his team.
“They’ve really matured at the plate and learned how to take a patient approach,” he said. “Last season, Trent had so many walks and we just didn’t have the firepower to protect him last year.”
Gone from last year’s team is first-round draft pick Trent Clark, now a Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguer.
Last season, Trent [Clark] had so many walks and we just didn’t have the firepower to protect him.
Richland coach Chuck Wells, on the progress of a senior-laden team
The 12-6 Rebels opened District 7-6A play Tuesday with a 3-0 win at Haltom.
“This year, we’ve responded with our offense,” Wells added, “and while a couple of our players still get walked, either intentionally or just working the count, we’ve had some big hits to get us going early on.”
Filling the center field spot left vacant by Clark is Jordan Wiley, who’s batting .446 with 18 RBIs and 19 runs scored. The Rebels are batting .300, with a .409 slugging percentage.
“It’s always nice to get out and see what you have early on in the season, and we’ve had some success against some tough competition,” Wells said. “But we know we’ve got to do more because of how competitive our district is and then being able to go deeper in the playoffs.”
The first seven hitters in the Fort Worth Paschal lineup have varsity experience from last season, so it’s little surprise that the Panthers are 11-2 and batting .377 as a team with a .467 on-base percentage.
We’ve been playing good baseball, our base running has been excellent and our pitching gave up just two unearned runs in the first 11 games.
Fort Worth Paschal coach Darrell Preston
“We’ve been playing good baseball, our base running has been excellent and our pitching gave up just two unearned runs in the first 11 games,” coach Darrell Preston said. “We’ve just been talking a lot lately about failing in baseball because that’s just a given in this game, but it’s how you react to failing that makes you better.”
So far Preston said he’s been pleased with how Paschal has produced runs.
“We’ve scored a lot on two-out hits, and we’ve seen some quality arms already,” he said. “When you consider what we went through in district last year with [Lamar’s] Shane Buechele, [Weatherford’s] Beau Burrows and [Martin’s] Eric Walker, obviously we’ve had plenty of good pitching to overcome just to compete for a playoff spot.”
Buechele opted to forgo his final season of baseball eligibility to enroll early for football at Texas. Burrows was taken 22nd overall by the Detroit Tigers in last year’s MLB amateur draft, and Walker has signed a national letter of intent to pitch at LSU.
Paschal has had quality starts from junior pitchers Brooks Williams and Brayden Conner this season.
Williams gave up just a run and three hits in a pitching duel with Texas commit Blair Henley as Arlington Heights won 1-0 Monday.
At the plate, Ben Ayala is batting .452 with an .810 slugging percentage and 21 RBIs.
Home run queen
Hitting home runs is always a good feeling, but Grapevine softball senior Cynthia Haugh was left nearly speechless on Feb. 18.
Haugh’s home run in a 3-2 win over Saginaw Boswell was the 18th of her career, breaking the school record.
“When I found out about the record, I thought it would be a challenge and it definitely was,” she said. “Honestly, I’m thinking that I have had the privilege of working with some of the best hitting coaches in North Texas, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
Brittany Perkins, now a junior at the University of Texas at Dallas, previously held the record. Haugh was a freshman in Perkins’ last year at Grapevine.
“Brittany is hands down one of the best hitters I have ever seen,” Haugh said.
Signed with the University of North Texas, the Mustangs’ catcher has added six more home runs since then for a career high eight this season, 24 in her career.
I’m thinking that I have had the privilege of working with some of the best hitting coaches in North Texas.
Grapevine catcher Cynthia Haugh, after her school-record home run
“I’m really excited to get further into district and hopefully I’ll be able to hit a few more,” Haugh said.
Grapevine is 10-5 overall, 3-0 in District 6-5A.
Stepping up big
The Burleson Centennial softball team (15-3, 5-0 District 8-5A) won four 8-5A games this week, including 19-1 and 6-3 against Crowley and Aledo on Wednesday.
Freshman pitcher Hayley Murrell has dominated the circle, posting an 11-0 record after beating Aledo. She also went seven innings and struck out nine in a 7-1 win over Burleson on Monday.
“That’s huge,” coach Shannon Sullivan said. “Any time you have good pitching in softball, that makes a big difference.”
The Spartans went 4-2 in their tournament to start the season and had a perfect 6-0 record in Wylie in their last tournament.
Junior pitcher Crystal Peebles threw a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 11-0 win over Granbury on Tuesday.
“It’s a new team. Team six. We’re a different team,” Sullivan said. “We have great bats, have the same bats as last year minus those seniors, obviously, but we also have a few that have come up and made an immediate impact.”