The Chester Lady Jackets will be depending a great deal upon the senior leadership of Destiny Kuehn and Laken Read, who will both serve as captains on the Lady Jacket volleyball and basketball teams. Kuehn and Read have been quietly earning their stripes behind the three seniors who have just graduated from Chester's girls program, but both have been vital to the success of the program.
In volleyball, Read was a Second Team All District Middle Blocker. She led the team in blocks and provided a strong middle defensively. Read is so strong that it is extremely difficult for the other team to hit through her; they have to work around her. Kuehn was an Honorable Mention All District Setter. Her ball placement allowed the other offensive players on the team to strike the ball aggressively, which allowed our team to push other teams instead of simply waiting on other teams to make mistakes. Read will remain at the same position this year, but Kuehn will move to an outside hitter position.
In basketball, Read was a Second Team All District Post Player while Kuehn was an Honorable Mention All District guard.
Both ladies started for the Lady Jackets as juniors, but will be playing a much more expanded role as senior captains.
Our basketball team will be forced to play a different style of basketball this year and Read and Kuehn will have to be offensive threats that they have not been asked to be in the past.
"Laken and Destiny are both excited about their larger role in our girls program. They are looking forward to being the two that carries a lot of the pressure of winning and leading the teams. As their coach, I am excited that they are ready for it.
Both girls have been in a supportive role their entire high school career, and both girls are ready for break out years. Their teammates respect them and want them to have a successful season, and I have every reason to believe that under their leadership the Chester Lady Jackets will have a great year," said Coach Ryan Hall.
Coach Edd Trotter and the Colmesneil Bulldogs are gearing up for the upcoming 2014 Bulldog football season. Coach Trotter recently issued some important dates concerning Bulldog football players and the community.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, there is a meeting scheduled at the R.B. Moffett Gym for football players' parents to attend.
Coach Trotter also wants to remind athletes about athletic physicals, which are open to any athlete who needs a physical. They will take place for incoming 7th, 9th and 11th graders at 9 a.m. on Monday, August 4th, in the R.B. Moffett gym.
Football practice is also set to begin on August 4th at 4 p.m. Players are set to report to the field house on the 4th, prior to practice, to receive their equipment. The seniors are to report at 10 a.m.; juniors at 11 a.m.; sophomores at noon and freshmen at 1 p.m. Players are to report back to the field house at 3 p.m., before practice.
At 9 a.m., on Saturday, August 9th, the Bulldogs will host a Media Day, followed by an intersquad scrimmage at 10 a.m. Coach Trotter would like to welcome parents to come and take pictures and meet the coaches during the Media Day portion of the morning.
For more information on Bulldog football, please contact Coach Edd Trotter at 409-837-5757, ext. 3009.
Mary Lassiter and Jayden Hensarling are two unassuming, taciturn 10-year-old girls, but in the world of fast-pitch softball, they are part of a "nemesis" to be reckoned with.
Lassiter and Hensarling are cousins who have "been together since day one...were born nine hours apart," according to Lassiter's father Brandon. As part of the East Texas Nemesis, a class-C fast-pitch softball team for ages 10 and under, they traveled to a World Series of United States Fastpitch Association softball in Panama City Beach, Florida, and came out with a win and a title that proves they are the best in the nation.
The girls and their teammates were up against teams from across the country during the weeklong tournament. They also played some fellow Texas teams, like the Sun Devils, whom they played twice and former state champs CC Pride, who they shut-out, 16-0.
Lassiter, a centerfielder and Hensarling, who holds down first base duties, traveled southbound last week with their teammates, parents and coaches to show their competitors how a group of Texan girls can "kick butt and take names," in the words of Hensarling's mom, Tiffany. The girls' cool and collected nature belies their achievement. "We whipped 'em," they said in two-part harmony, when asked how they would sum-up the winning game of the tournament.
"I wasn't ready for it to be over," Jayden said. "I wish we were still playing."
"I'm not sure they know how big a deal this is," Brandon Lassiter said. "They came alive at the right time."
The girls and their teammates did indeed work hard to earn the national championship title they hold today. After a sporadic start, and games in tournaments around the state, the Nemesis girls won a pair of games before the World Series tournament. Jayden and Mary were heroes of both games, with Jayden coming up to bat and knocking-out a winning hit in one game and Mary knocking Jayden in for a winning score at the climax of the other. Mary also only recently began batting left-handed, something that her father noted has worked to her advantage.
The East Texas Nemesis, coached by Chris Currier and Dwain Anderson, accumulated enough points from their tournament appearances this year to take part in the USFA World Series. They were one of 28 teams in their age division chosen. Once they got to Florida and began playing in the tournament, the team really rose to the occasion, according to Brandon Lassiter. "They played the best ball that we knew they could play," he said. "The whole team played to their capabilities."
Mary and Jayden, both incoming fifth graders at Colmesneil and Woodville, respectively, have strong ambitions in their softball endeavors and beyond. Jayden already hopes to play in next year's World Series and both girls anticipate playing ball in high school. Mary, according to her father, closely watches the collegiate women's softball World Series and has a strong desire to one day earn that trophy, as well.
With these two national championship trophy winners, who knows what the sands of time will bring? If anything, Brandon Lassiter is overjoyed that it finally sunk in to the girls' heads that "they're as good as we've been telling them."
"I kind of hope this is a life lesson to them. They could've stayed here in Tyler County [playing softball] but made it a goal to get to the World Series and they won it. If you work hard, you can do whatever you like," he said.
Chris Babin is the new athletic director and head football coach at Warren High School. Coach Babin started his coaching career in 2004 as the head offensive coordinator at Lumberton High School. He spent the next five years there winning the district in 2007 and 2008. Babin then coached at Scarborbough High School in Houston for one year before heading back to Lumberton in 2010 and 2011 again as the offensive coordinator. Deweyville High School was next for coach Babin as he took the athletic director and head football coaching job in 2012. In the next two years under coach Babin, Deweyville athletics excelled. The football team did well with 17-5 overall winning the district in 2012 and making the playoffs in 2013 coming in second in district.
Softball and girls basketball were not competitive when Babin arrived, but made the playoffs by his second year in Deweyville. Coach Babin's goal for all of Warren athletic programs is to change the mindset of just competing to making the playoffs. "We need to take all boys and girls sport sprograms to the next level", Babin said. "It all starts with workouts and buying into the concept of having to work all year long to be successful in your sport." In regard to being head coach of the football team, Babin will introduce a run based offense. Babin stated "It will take some time to get the new offense and defense down, but I have the utmost confidence in the Warren football team that they will be able to not only get the schemes down, but be able to run them effectively."
Coach Babin also reached out to kids in the Warren community by setting up basketball and football camps this summer. The Warren community is proud to welcome Coach Babin to the Warren school district and is excited to see him help Warren athletics excel in the near future.
Karlea Greaff and Mika Maxwell get ready for the 2014-2015 school year. (Jason Drake photo)
by Jason Drake
Coach Laura Willis and the Lady Eagles are excited about the approaching 2014 volleyball season. Woodville played this week in and Silsbee and will travel to Lumberton July 28-30 to play in the Hardin County Summer League. The weight room and will remain open for the Lady Eagles Monday-Thursday 6:30-8:45 until the start of practice.
Volleyball practice starts Monday August 4th at 8:00. All practices will begin at 8:00 for the Lady Eagles with afternoon practices slated to begin at 1:00. The Lady Eagles will travel to West Hardin on Friday, August 8 for its first scrimmage. Woodville will host both Shepherd and Coldspring-Oakhurst on Saturday, August 9. The Lady Eagles will officially open their season August 16th when they host their annual volleyball tournament.
This season, Woodville will play in District22-AAA. These teams include Corrigan-Camden, Hemphill, Nacogdoches Central Heights, and Newton. Both Woodville and Hemphill were playoff teams in 2013. Woodville will have trouble replacing last year's seniors Mallory and Katie Watts.
The Lady Eagles are expected to be led by Shawnacy Williams, Kati Crenshaw and Morgan Poncho.
The Woodville Eagle Booster Club will have a Meet the Coaches on Thursday, July 31st. This is a great opportunity to meet the coaching staff for the 2014 football season. The Eagle Booster Club will cook hotdogs. Like volleyball, the first UIL practice is slated for August 4. Their practices will be held from 7:00-12:00 during the first week.
Parents wanting a complete practice schedule can call Mike Waldie at the field house at (409)283-5608.
Bailey Bowers as part of the Louisiana Rippers. (Kelsey Sheffield photo)by Kelsey Sheffield
Spurger Pirate athletes have proven to be hard workers throughout the regular athletic seasons, but some have continued to drive that effort through the summer as well.
Bailey Bowers is a part of the junior high athletic department of Spurger and is an incoming eighth grade student. Bowers became a quick hit throughout her first year of being a Lady Pirate. She took part in the cross- country, volleyball and basketball teams. At the district cross-county meet, Bowers placed tenth place. The volleyball girls won first place at the Warren tournament in the Xcel Spring League and the basketball team won first place in the West Sabine tournament. Bowers was a key player and a leader to the girls. She took her work ethic further in playing softball for junior teams in both Texas and Louisiana.
Bowers exercised her skills as part of the Jasper All Stars softball team.
The team played throughput the end of the school year and finished in first few weeks of summer.
They came away winning first place of District 12. Bowers chose not to stop her activities there, but went on to continue playing softball for the Louisiana Rippers from Monroe, Louisiana.
The girls traveled to different cities to play in tournaments that advanced them further in the season. The Rippers just came back from Panama City Beach to compete in the 2014 USFA (United States Fast pitch Association) world series. The tournament was a week long of playing teams from several other states. Bowers played a special role, along side the remaining members, and came home with a first place win. Congratulations to Bowers and the Rippers.
Bailey Bowers has gone beyond the expectations of a junior high athlete and has continued to work hard throughout her summer break from school.
The Spurger Pirates are proud to call her one of their own and are excited to see her grow and excel in the coming years.