Cardinal player makes comeback from cancer
Last updated 5/3/2022 at 1:59pm
Many fans look at the fortunes of their favorite teams winning and losing as matters of life and death. The Bridge City Cardinals really did have a life or death issue during the last twelve months or so.
Junior Shaun Hallman was a starting offensive lineman for the Bridge City football team two seasons ago and a power hitter for the Cardinals' baseball team in 2021. Teammate Draven Marlow this past week identified during Seniors Night that Shaun's two-run homer in last year's playoff game against Hamshire-Fannett to force extra innings was the biggest thrill of his being a member of the Cardinals' baseball team.
Towards the end of last year's baseball season Hallman began feeling pain in his left knee which made it difficult for him to play. Shaun had his knee checked by doctors and a cancerous tumor was found to be causing the pain.
Hallman spent last summer and much of the year since then at the Texas Medical Center in Houston having an operation to remove the tumor, knee replacement surgery, and post cancer radiation treatments. "I finally got to come back and be out here with all my friends and play and watch the game I love," Shaun responded.
This last week Hallman was excited and a little surprised to actually be able to play in Bridge City's game with West Orange-Stark on Tuesday, April 26. "Shaun's story is a very, very special story. I'm so proud of him, his comeback, what he went through, what he battled through, and just to see how he has rehabbed and got back on the field and played in a varsity game is remarkable," Coach Chad Landry exclaimed.
The baseball season is not done yet for Bridge City, and Hallman is looking forward to being with his Cardinal teammates as they attempt to make a playoff run. Sadly the knee replacement surgery has eliminated Shaun being able to play football again next season, but as only a junior he will have another year of Bridge City baseball when he is a senior. "Next year I'm just looking forward to get back into shape and come out here for baseball and give it all I can," Shaun concluded.
The Bridge City Cardinals enter the post season as the District 22-4A runners-up after winning their last three district games. The winning streak started with the Cardinals shutting out Lumberton 9-0, followed by a 16-1 win at West Orange-Stark, and the third win was 9-2 in Bridge City against the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears.
Ethan Oceguera continued his string of outstanding pitching for the Cardinals with a complete game that included seven strikeouts, with no walks allowed, and one hit batter. Oceguera had a no-hitter through five innings before the Bears scored two unearned runs in the sixth.
Bridge City jumped ahead in the first inning with three runs that included only two balls hit out of the infield. John Van Huis walked to begin the inning and Oceguera followed with a bunt single.
A pop fly to center was dropped, but the Bears were able to get a force out at second base. A wild pitch scored Van Huis with the first run, a bases loaded walk to JS Bearden drove in the second, before another wild pitch brought in the third run. The inning ended on a routine fly to right.
The Cardinals got two runs in the second on a two-run homer by Justin Abate that also scored Van Huis who had been hit by a pitch. Van Huis had a clutch two-out hit to right in the third that scored Bearden and Brice Swanton to make the score 7-0 after three.
Oceguera hit a homerun in the fourth, and the Cardinals added their final run in the sixth. Little Cypress-Mauriceville took advantage of an error, a bunt single by Parker Seago, a ground ball through the hole to left by Ashton Landry, a balk by Oceguera, and a fielder's choice to score two runs in the top of the sixth.
The 9-2 victory did not clinch second place for the Cardinals. They needed some help from the Vidor Pirates later on Friday night. After blowing an early 6-0 lead at Silsbee, the Pirates scored in the top of the ninth to edge the Tigers 7-6 which was Vidor's fourth straight win moving the Pirates into a tie for fourth place with Little Cypress-Mauriceville and allowing Bridge City to step ahead of Silsbee by one game to grab second place.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville secured at least a tie for fourth place in the district on Tuesday with a 4-2 win over the Silsbee Tigers. The Bears got a strong pitching performance from Dean Reynolds who pitched a shutout for the first six innings of the game.
Reynolds escaped the first inning when the Tigers loaded the bases with one out, but a short flyout and a fielder's choice to Bear second base man Gage Griffith ended the threat with no runs scoring. Silsbee got two runners on with two out in the sixth before Reynolds got his third and final strikeout of the game to end the inning.
In the seventh the Tigers scored their two runs and had a runner at first with two outs. A ground ball through the middle looked to be headed towards centerfield, but shortstop Parker Seago went far to his left to field the ball and rifled a throw to first in time to retire the batter for the final out preserving the two-run victory.
The Bears scored all four of their runs in the first against Tiger ace starting pitcher Logan Simmons. Seago got the rally started when he was hit by a Simmons pitch. Ashton Landry drove him home for the first LCM run with a double off the left field fence.
Reid Peco followed with a single that moved Landry to third. Reynolds singled and Landry scored to make it 2-0 in favor of the Bears. Griffith sacrificed both runners into scoring position for the first out of the inning.
Marco Bandiero hit an opposite field fly ball to left that appeared to confuse the Silsbee outfielder as the ball landed behind him. Peco scored easily from third and Reynolds raced home when the throw in from the outfield eluded all of the Tigers and went to the backstop. The rally could have been more except Bandiero was stranded at third when Blaze Compton hit a line drive right at the Silsbee shortstop that a couple of feet either way would have been a single.
The Bears' thrill of victory was dampened somewhat by the agony of a 3-1 defeat by the Orangefield Bobcats across the county at Vidor by the Pirates. Had the district champion Bobcats beaten Vidor on Tuesday night Little Cypress-Mauriceville would have clinched out right the final seed in the district.
Vidor scored solo runs in each of the first three innings and got three solid innings from pitcher Logan Morris. Pirate ace Reagan Hallmark relieved Morris to begin the fourth and saved the game for Vidor.
Orangefield had some opportunities to score more runs in the game, but the Bobcats hit into multiple double plays to spoil potential rallies. The loss snapped the Bobcats' ten game winning streak in district.
The Pirates are the hottest team in District 22-4A with the playoffs starting this week. Vidor won five of six games in the second half of the district schedule to tie Little Cypress-Mauriceville for fourth place with joint 6-6 records.
A play-in game was held Saturday, April 30, in Vidor. The pitching matchup was a repeat of the March 25 game won by LCM 4-1 at Vidor with Reagan Hallmark starting for the Pirates against the Bears' Reid Peco.
Things did not go well for Peco who gave up five runs in the first inning, one in the second, and was pulled after Reagan Weiblinger hit a grand slam in the third to make the score 11-2 in favor of Vidor.
Blaze Compton and Ashton Landry had key hits for the Bears in the fourth to narrow the deficit to five runs. The Pirate bats did not let up scoring five more runs in the fifth and sixth innings combined to close out the game 16-6 with the ten-run rule.
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs concluded their season losing to Bridge City on Tuesday and Lumberton on Friday. Tyrone Wilson and Grayson Gregory both pitched five good innings in the games they started for the Mustangs.
Coach Sergio Espinal reflected on the past season for West Orange-Stark baseball. "We made improvements throughout the year. We gained experience and learned what it takes to be competitive in this district. We are still playing catch up with our defensive skills and pitching. Our hitting struggled most of the season because of a lack of experience and the great pitching in our district. I am very proud of our players, no one quit on the varsity team, and we finished the season with both jv and varsity teams," Espinal stated.
The district champion Orangefield Bobcats (10-2) play the Liberty Panthers in the bi-district round of the state playoffs. Games 1 and 2 will be Friday starting at 5:00 PM at Goose Creek Memorial High School. At third game if necessary will be Saturday 1:00 PM at Port Neches-Groves High School.
The Bridge City Cardinals (8-4) will play the Huffman Hargrave Falcons in the first round of the post season. The first game will be Friday in Bridge City at 7:30 PM. The second game will be played Saturday also in Bridge City at 2:00 PM with a third game to follow there if necessary.
The Bridge City Lady Cardinals opened the state softball post season against the Hardin-Jefferson Lady Hawks who needed to win a play-in game against Livingston to make the playoffs. Two games were played at Anahuac on Thursday, April 28.
The Lady Cardinals grabbed a three-run lead in the fourth inning of the first game. Marlie Strong hit a homer in the sixth, one of her three hits in the game, to put Bridge City up 4-0, and Bridge City added a fifth run in the seventh. Hannah Murchison smashed two hits including a double and Brooklyn Droddy had two hits.
Carson Fall struck out 15 and held the Lady Hawks scoreless until the bottom of seventh when they scored three runs to make things interesting. The Lady Cardinals hung onto the 5-3 win in the first game.
In the second game Bridge City was the designated home team and took the first lead scoring three runs in the second. Nicole Sasser had a key hit in the three-run rally and Amaris Larkin drove in two runs.
The Lady Cardinals scored another run in the third to take a 4-0 lead before Hardin-Jefferson tallied once in the fourth and once in the sixth to cut the Bridge City advantage to two runs. An insurance run was added by the Lady Cardinals in the sixth to make the final score 5-2, and give Bridge City a sweep of the series.
As she has been all season, Fall was outstanding in Game 2 striking out 11 in the victory. The Lady Hawks managed just four hits and one walk in this game.
Next up for the Bridge City Lady Cardinals are the Wharton Lady Tigers. The series will be played at Goose Creek Memorial High School. Game 1 will be Friday at 6:00 PM with Game 2 at 12 Noon on Saturday and Game 3 to follow if necessary.
The Lady Bears of Little Cypress-Mauriceville entered the post season as the second seed from their district and faced the third seeded team from District 21-4A. There was a three way tie for first place in 21-4A between Liberty, Hamshire-Fannett, and Huffman forcing a playoff between the three teams resulting in Huffman being the third seed.
Game 1 of the series was played Thursday on the Little Cypress-Mauriceville campus. Cami Shugart of the Lady Bears hooked up with Kylen Padgett of the Lady Falcons for a pitchers' duel with LCM's Lexi Moss getting the only hit for either team through the first four innings.
Huffman's Kaci Gobert led off the top of the fifth with a fly ball to center that cleared the fence for a homerun giving the Lady Falcons a 1-0 lead. Two more runs were tacked on in the seventh to give Huffman a 3-0 win and put them one win away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
LCM Coach Dena Adkins felt several balls struck by the Lady Bears could have fallen for base hits and was still optimistic going to Huffman hoping for two Lady Bear wins. "If a couple of those balls go a different way or they take a wrong step or a late step on the ball it's a different ball game. We left a few people stranded and had a few scoring opportunities that we just left them out there. Huffman's a solid team and their defense won that game," Adkins analyzed.
The Lady Bears opened the scoring in the second game with a homer by Keylie Washburn in the top of the first. Huffman answered by scoring eight runs in the bottom half of the inning taking full advantage of four errors by LCM to go ahead 8-1 after one.
Shugart was struck in the ribs by an errant throw and was moved to shortstop for the remainder of the game. The Lady Falcons scored seven more runs and won the game 15-1 eliminating Little Cypress-Mauriceville from the playoffs.