Panthers, Lady Panthers remain on the hunt in state playoffs

by By Michlee Dillon

Bullard High School remains as the only Cherokee County school with both softball and baseball teams remaining in the hunt for a state playoff.

Lady Panthers squish Hornets

The Bullard Lady Panthers defeated the Athens Lady Hornets in two games of a three-game series to take the Area title, 13-1 and 12-1.

In game one, the Lady Panthers allowed Athens to plate a single run in the top of the first inning, but it would be the only run they allowed their opponents during the game. Bullard scored four runs the same inning.

The Lady Panthers added three more runs in the second inning, five in the third and a final run in the fourth.

Ariel Matula pitched the game, striking out four batters.

Sydney Foster led the team in hits, posting three and driving in three runs. Gabby Nichols and Jolee Dixon each finished the game with three RBIs off two hits.

In the second game, Bullard started on offense scoring five runs. They added four in the second inning and two more in the third. Both teams plated a run in the fourth inning, with neither scoring in the fifth. The Lady Panthers won, 12-1.

Matula pitched the five-inning game, earning two strikeouts.

Foster posted two hits and three RBIs. Emma Lambert also posted three RBIs.

The Lady Panthers advance to the regional quarterfinal against North Lamar-Paris. All games will be played at Rockwall High School. Game one will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 9. Game two begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10. If a third game is necessary, it will be played beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Panthers make Pirates

walk the plank

The Bullard Panthers beat the Pittsburg Pirates in two games of a possible three-game series, 3-0 and 4-1, granting Coach Lemier his 100th win at Bullard and earning the team a Class 4A-Region II bi-district championship.

In the first game, Colton Bowman pitched a seven-inning no-hitter, striking out 17 batters.

Bullard plated three runs in the fourth inning. The runs were batted in by Ryley Sharp, Dakotah Walsworth and Tanner Fowler.

Bullard scored first in game two, plating three runs in the third inning. They posted an additional run in the fifth. Pittsburg plated a single run in the sixth inning, but it was too little, too late. The Panthers took the win, 4-1, and the bi-district title.

Hagen Smith pitched six innings, striking out 14 batters. C.J. Gardner pitched an inning, striking out three.

The team will advance to Area round against the Van Vandals in a single-game playoff beginning at 7 p.m. at Mike Carter Field Saturday, 1718 W. Houston St., Tyler, Saturday, May 11.

Eagles advance to Area playoffs

The Rusk Eagles won their bid against the Center Roughriders, 11-0, to become Class 4A-Region III bi-district champions.

J.D. Thompson and Mason Cirkel teamed up on the mound to pitch the shutout. Thompson pitched five innings, striking out 10 batters. Cirkel pitched two innings.

Brennen Lucien knocked in three runs and posted three hits in the game. Thompson also earned three RBIs, connecting for two hits in the game.

The Rusk Eagles advance to area round playoffs against the Lorena Leopards. Games will be played at Madisonville. Game one begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 10. Game two begins at noon Saturday, May 11, with game three following 30 minutes after game two, if necessary.

“We have great senior leadership,” head Coach Robert Ellis stated. “We have a pretty young team. Our four seniors, Austin and Andrew Gates, Byron Johnson and Dredon Session have done an amazing job leading by example and encouraging the younger guys. They play the game the right way.”

Lady Eagles lose

Area champ bid

The Rusk Lady Eagles lost their bid for an area championship against the Lorena Leopards in a best of three series.

The Lady Eagles lost one game, 12-5, and in a closer match, 3-2.

In the 3-2 loss, Senior Tatum Goff pitched five innings, striking out 11 batters. Freshman Marissa Perry also pitched an inning.

Faith Long posted two of the four hits for the Lady Eagles.

The team ends the season with a 7-1 district record and a bi-district title.

Alto faces Dragons

in Area playoffs

The Alto Yellowjackets defeated the Grapeland Sandies in a single-game bi-district playoff, 6-5, becoming a 2A-Region III bi-district championship team.

Grapeland scored a run in the first inning and Alto plated one in the second to tie the game. The Sandies moved ahead after plating three runs in the fourth inning. The Yellowjackets took the lead by adding four runs in the fifth inning, but Grapeland tied the score in the sixth at five all. With the game tied, both teams failed to score in the seventh inning. Alto prevented Grapeland from scoring at the top of the eighth, then plated a run for the win, 6-5.

Cody Watson pitched four-and-a-a third innings, earning three strikeouts. Foster Hall pitched three-and-two-thirds innings, striking out five. Harmon West posted two hits with three RBIs.

The Yellowjackets advance to the area playoff. They will face the Shelbyville Dragons at Rusk High School beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, May 10. Game two will follow 30 minutes after game one. If needed, game three will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11.

Tigers win bi-district championship

The Troup Tigers won their bid for a Class 3A-Region II bi-district championship, defeating Elysian Fields in a best of three series, 2-1 and 15-2.

The Yellowjackets took a single run lead in the second inning, followed by three scoreless innings. The Tigers plated two runs in the sixth inning to take the lead. Troup allowed no one to cross home in the seventh inning, claiming the 2-1 victory.

Weslee Ross pitched the seven-inning win, striking out 13 batters. Austin Humi had two hits with one RBI.

In the second game, the Tigers plated nine runs in the first inning and added six more in the second. Elysian Fields was unable to score until the fourth inning when they plated their only two runs in the game.

Jaden Lewis and Grayson Driggs teamed up on the mound for the win. Lewis pitched four innings, striking out three.

Driggs led in RBIs, bringing home five runners. Branden Metzig earned four RBIs and Dylan Meyer posted two.

The Troup Tigers advance to the Area round where they will meet the Atlanta Rabbits. The best of three series will be played at Lindale High School. The first game begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, and the second begins at 7 p.m. Friday, May 10. If necessary, a third game will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 11.