Lady Cardinals Clinch Softball Title, Bobcats Win 8th Straight Game
Last updated 4/19/2022 at 11:12am
The leaders in District 22-4A baseball and softball remain unchanged during the past week of action. The Orangefield Bobcats are in first place for baseball, and the Bridge City Lady Cardinals extended their lead in girls' softball.
Orangefield has won eight straight games since losing its district opener to the Silsbee Tigers. The Bobcats have moved ahead of the Tigers by a game and a half in the baseball standings with three games remaining for Orangefield and four games left to play in the district for Silsbee.
The Lady Cardinals have won all eleven of their district games and have clinched another district championship their eighteenth in school history. Bridge City will play its final district game on Friday, April 22, at home against the third place Lumberton Lady Raiders before starting its postseason the week after that.
The Bobcats swept their two games last week. On Tuesday Orangefield played at Bridge City with the inclement weather causing the starting time to be moved up three hours in hopes of avoiding the worst of the rain and wind forecasted for that evening.
The earlier start may have helped avoid precipitation at the start of the game, but rain did fall through the middle innings and caused a brief delay during the game. The artificial turf at Chuck Young Field drained well and there was no noticeable slipping or sliding caused by the wet field.
The wet conditions did affect the fielding though with both teams committing multiple errors, and pitchers from both Orangefield and Bridge City experienced some difficulty throwing the wet balls with several pitches eluding their respective catchers.
The Bobcats scored in the second inning taking advantage of a Cardinal error that scored courtesy runner Brayden Babineaux. The bases were left loaded as Cardinal pitcher RJ Esquivel struck out Kyle Michael to end the inning.
Kolbie Sowell led off the third inning with a homerun just below the Chuck Young scoreboard in left field to make it 2-0 in favor of Orangefield. Deegan King started the bottom of the third for the Cardinals with a hit and scored on a two-out single by Ethan Oceguera to cut the Bobcat lead to one run.
Michael doubled to spark a four-run rally for Orangefield in the fifth. Sowell was hit by a pitch, and Landon Reeves relieved Esquivel on the mound. Reeves had great trouble controlling the wet baseball walking the next two Bobcats including two pitches that got past catcher Justin Abate. The second walk to Brennon Lecoq forced in the third Orangefield run of the game.
Dane Woolwine came in to pitch and was greeted with a single by Trent Eaves to drive in another run. Caleb Fregia and Kameryn Henderson drove in the other two runs of the inning giving Orangefield a 6-1 lead.
Eaves pitched the first four innings for the Bobcats to earn the win and was replaced on the mound by Coop Longron at the beginning of the bottom of the fifth. Longron surrendered his first two runs of the district season in the Bridge City sixth that started with a Bobcat fielding error. JS Bearden hit a sacrifice fly for one run and King singled the other Cardinal home to reduce the Bobcat lead to three runs.
Two Bobcats scored in the seventh aided by a Cardinal error. Sowell pitched the final inning for Orangefield to close out the victory that gave the Bobcats a two game lead over the Cardinals in the district standings.
Bridge City's fielding in two losses to start the second half of district play had Cardinal Coach Chad Landry concerned. "Pretty disappointed in our defense the last few days. We've made 14 errors in the last two games. It's hard to win making that many errors with the way we swing the bat," Landry expressed.
Games were played on Thursday, April 14, to accommodate for Good Friday observance. The game between Orangefield and Lumberton turned into a pitchers' duel and the closest contest for the Bobcats since the opening game of district. Coop Longron started for Orangefield pitching in his third game in less than a week having started the game the previous Friday and relieving for two innings on Tuesday.
Opposing the Bobcats was the ace for the Lumberton Raiders Kaden Copes who had pitched five no-hit innings against Orangefield when the two teams met at Lumberton in March. Tyler Shearin broke up the no-hitter this game in the first inning for the Bobcats and scored the first run to give Orangefield a 1-0 advantage.
Longron escaped trouble in each of the first three innings as Raider runners were either picked off first base or were thrown out attempting to steal second. The Raiders finally got a controversial stolen base in the fourth when the runner slid past the bag and was tagged by the Bobcats after he reached back to touch the base according to the umpire. A single followed bringing home the tying run for Lumberton.
The wobbly fielding from Tuesday's game carried over for the Bobcats to Thursday. Orangefield committed three errors in the game, but also had Kolbie Sowell snag a wicked liner at third base in the second inning, and Caleb Fregia started an inning ending double play after snaring a line drive in the fifth.
The deciding run scored in the bottom of the sixth. Sowell drew a walk off of Copes and moved to second when Brennon Lecoq was hit by a pitch one out later.
Pinch hitter Trent Eaves checked his swing and got an excuse me hit that just stayed fair down the third base line to load the bases with Bobcats. Rusten Traxler was hit by a Copes' pitch that brought pinch runner Cameron Dearing home with what was the winning run.
Traxler had taken over as the Bobcat catcher when Jason Bodin relieved Longron to start the fifth inning. Bodin retired all six Raider batters he faced in his two innings striking out three of them to earn the all-important victory for Orangefield.
One-run wins could be more common with the postseason starting for the Bobcats in two weeks. Orangefield Coach Tim Erickson analyzed, "Once we get in the playoffs, they're all going to be tight. So, it's good to compete for seven innings which we did. It was good to see."
The other big district baseball game played on Thursday night was at Silsbee between the Tigers and the visiting Bridge City Cardinals. This game featured the aces of both staffs Ethan Oceguera for the Cardinals and Logan Simmons for Silsbee.
The pitching matchup did not disappoint. Oceguera pitched a complete game for Bridge City striking out eight and yielded a lone run to the Tigers in the second. Simmons was even better, however, shutting out the Cardinals into the seventh inning when reliever Ethan Youngblood retired the final Cardinal batter with the tying run at third and the winning run at second to preserve the thrilling 1-0 win for Silsbee.
The third straight loss dropped Bridge City a game and a half behind Silsbee for second place. The Cardinals trail first place Orangefield by three games with just three games left on the district schedule for both teams.
Coming off their dramatic eight-inning come-from-behind win on Saturday a week ago, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears played West Orange-Stark on Tuesday in their only game of last week. The Bears defeated the Mustangs 19-6 in six innings.
Dean Reynolds played the hero again for Little Cypress-Mauriceville pitching three shutout innings with four strikeouts. Reynolds had four runs batted in and hit two doubles in the game.
Reid Peco, Gage Griffith, and Gunner Johnson had key hits for LCM. Brayden Price, Dylan Istre, and Parker Seago pitched in relief of Reynolds with Seago recording the last five outs while he was on the mound.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville led 11-1 after four innings when West Orange-Stark erupted for five runs in the fifth. The Mustangs used walks by Carlos Calana, William Lee, and a double by Christian Anderson during the rally.
LCM scored eight runs in the sixth. Key hits for the Bears came from Griffith and Gunner Johnson and doubles by Reynolds and Peco.
On Thursday, April 14, the Mustangs played their closest game of the district before losing to the Vidor Pirates 6-2 at Vidor. Mustang Coach Sergio Espinal said, "It was one of the best games we've played this year."
West Orange-Stark had a lead in the first inning when Derrick Williams walked and scored on a hit by Tyrone Wilson. Andrew Wilson scored in the second inning for the Mustangs after being hit by a pitch and came home on a wild pitch.
Tyrone Wilson pitched five strong innings for West Orange-Stark. "Errors killed us, but our team competed," Espinal informed.
The Lady Cardinals clinched the district softball championship with their two wins last week. Bridge City got outstanding pitching from Carson Falls who did not give up a hit in either game.
Falls pitched a perfect game on Tuesday to defeat the Orangefield Lady Bobcats 10-0 in Bridge City. Fall struck out 12 of the 15 Lady Bobcats she faced in the five inning game.
Lady Cardinal Coach Raven Harris is happy for Carson her star pitcher throwing a perfect game. "I'm not surprised, but I'm proud of her. The weather is horrible, it's raining the balls were wet, and she really did a good job handling business and just shut everybody down, so that was awesome, and then we had a couple of defensive plays behind her which were great to keep that perfect game for her," Harris responded.
Providing much of the offense was her catcher Kaylyn Dosch who was four for four with the bat. Marlie Strong struck a big double in the second inning when the Lady Cardinals scored six of their runs.
In Thursday's game Fall pitched a no-hitter against the Silsbee Lady Tigers winning the game 7-0 for the Lady Cardinals. Fall was overpowering striking out 20 Lady Tigers and walking just one to barely miss throwing a second consecutive perfect game.
Bridge City broke open a close game in the sixth inning scoring four runs highlighted by a two-run double by Dosch. Seven Lady Cardinals collected hits in the game including two by freshman Brooklyn Droddy.
The second place Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears played just one game last week on Tuesday. The Lady Bears blasted the West Orange-Stark Lady Mustangs 22-5 in five innings.
Pitcher Cami Shugart started for the Lady Bears and was relieved in the circle during the game to allow her to rest muscles in her side that have been sore the last two weeks. Jacelyn Cook finished pitching the game for LCM.
Keylie Washburn swung a big bat for the Lady Bears smashing a homerun among her three hits driving in four runs and scoring four times. Rhylan Wilson had three hits including a double and drove in five Lady Bear runs.
Lexis Moss smacked two hits and scored four runs. Shugart hit a double and accounted for three runs for LCM.
Katie Hogg of the Mustangs drew 2 walks and scored a run. Nataleigh Sims had a hit with an RBI as did Ariel Farris. Laila Rhodes went two for two with an RBI and a stolen base.
The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears can clinch second place in the district softball race by winning their last two district games against the Vidor Lady Pirates and the Orangefield Lady Bobcats. The Lady Bears hold a one game lead over the third place Lumberton Lady Raiders who close out their district schedule this week against Silsbee and the first place Lady Cardinals.
The Lady Raiders won a key contest 10-3 at Orangefield on Thursday night. The Lady Bobcats threatened in the first inning as Joli Ponfick doubled, Madison Hughes singled, and Abby Broussard was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Lumberton pitcher Sydnie Cline retired the next two batters to wriggle out of the jam unscathed.
Cline leadoff the top of the second with a single for Lumberton. Sydnie concluded the Lady Raiders scoring eight runs in the inning with a grand slam over the left field fence.
Orangefield scored its three runs in the third on a three-run homerun by Harleigh Rawls. It was Rawls' third homer in the last three games for the Lady Bobcats who have lost five straight games.
There was some good news on Thursday night for the Lady Bobcats as they welcomed the newest member of the team. Coach Sarah Nash, sister of Lady Bobcat Head Softball Coach Rebekah Ragsdale, successfully gave birth to a baby girl whose name is Janie.
The West Orange-Stark Lady Mustangs lost 11-2 to the Vidor Lady Pirates on Thursday. Laila Rhodes was one for three in the game with a stolen base and a run batted in for the Lady Mustangs. T'Era Garrett rapped two hits, stole a base, and drove home the other run for West Orange-Stark. Ariel Farris and Peyton Zimmerman both collected a base hit in the game.