Cubs scratch Bulldogs in
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
MIDLOTHIAN–For the second straight week, the Eustace Bulldogs’
playoff game went into extra innings, but Friday’s eighth inning
wasn’t kind to the Bulldogs, as Clifton’s Cubs scored three runs
to win the area baseball championship, 4-1.
For the second straight week, Bulldog senior Braden Strickland
put up a sterling effort, only to get a “no decision,” as he was
pulled after throwing 113 pitches over seven innings, notching
15 strikeouts and allowing just one hit through five innings,
finishing with three hits.
In the seventh, Strickland’s last full inning as a high school
pitcher, the LSU signee struck out the side with 14 pitches,
getting the first and third Cubs swinging and the second one
looking for his 400th career K.
Eustace’s Bulldogs finished their season at 20-11 with a
bidistrict championship trophy, while Clifton’s Cubs improved to
24-6 after an unbeaten district run and moved on to the regional
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Clifton Cub leadoff baserunner Derrick Neeley (at right) slides
safely into second base just ahead of the cutoff throw to
Eustace Bulldog senior second baseman Addison Scott during the
third inning of Clifton's 4-1 area championship win over Eustace
Friday. Neeley wound up stranded, as Eustace pitcher Braden
Strickland struck out the next three Cubs.
Clifton drew blood early in Friday’s contest at Midlothian
High School, as the second batter, Rick Webb, was hit by a
pitch, and promptly took second and third on passed balls.
The third batter, Mary Hardin-Baylor signee Brad Maddux, lined a
shot down the right-field line that wound up as a triple, easily
After a strikeout, Maddux tried to dash home on a passed ball,
only to be tagged by Strickland at the plate for the third out.
Clifton’s first-inning score was the only run until the fifth
inning, as Cub pitcher Dylan Brownsworth also had his mojo
working, striking out the side in the second, sixth and seventh
In the fifth, however, the Bulldogs managed to push a run across
to tie the contest at 1-1 after stranding five earlier runners.
Sophomore Trevor Lane (batting ninth) got the Eustace fans on
their feet with a leadoff double to left center that rolled to
The Cubs intentionally walked Strickland, and senior Alex
Pharmakis loaded the bases with a perfectly executed bunt down
the third-base line.
Bulldog senior Jacob Petillo popped up to first for the initial
out, but the next batter, senior Addison Scott, got an RBI when
his tap to the pitcher scored Lane.
Eustace left another two runners stranded (seven in all) when
the next batter struck out looking.
In the sixth inning, Strickland got out of a two-on, no-out jam
by getting Cub first baseman Shaun Harvey to tap into a routine
grounder back to Strickland, followed by a strikeout of Austin
The next batter, Kyler Kleibrink, tapped a grounder to second
for a force out, leaving two runners stranded.
Junior Nathan Taft took the mound for the Bulldogs in the eighth
inning and struck out the first batter, Brownsworth.
However, the next batter, Webb, followed with a stand-up double
to left field.
Maddux followed with a hit to center, but the Bulldogs were
unable to catch Webb at home, or Maddux at second.
Harvey then followed with what appeared to be a routine grounder
to short, but the throw to Bulldog first baseman Owen Babcock
was wide left and went into the Clifton dugout.
That was Eustace’s second error of the game, and Maddux scored
Clifton’s second run of the inning as Harvey lumbered into
Brewer moved Harvey to third with a tap back to Taft, and Harvey
took advantage of the opportunity, diving face-first onto home
plate for the third Cub run on a passed ball.
The next batter hit a routine fly out to second, but the damage
was done, and the question was whether the Bulldogs would be
able to manufacture enough runs to tie the contest again.
The answer was no, even though senior Jacob Petillo led off with
a deep shot to left center.
Petillo, who suffered a hamstring injury back during football
season, tweaked his hamstring again in the bidistrict win over
Teague, and the play showed just how much it affected him – when
healthy, Petillo has the speed to make a shot that deep a
stand-up double at least, and possibly a triple.
As it turned out, Petillo was unable to advance beyond first
base, and the next batter, Scott, tapped to second, enabling the
Cubs to turn a double play, the only one of the contest.
Down to their last at-bat, the Bulldogs saw their season end
when Brownsworth got his 11th strikeout of the contest.
“I was extremely proud of how the kids battled all night long
against a very good baseball team,” Eustace coach Chris Powers
said afterward. “I thought we did enough good things to win, but
so did Clifton.”
Powers said the nine seniors on the team helped make this season
a memorable one for him.
“Eight (of the seniors) have been in the program for the last
four years,” he said. “Since this group of seniors came into
high school, they have been very competitive in baseball.
“They’ve been a joy to coach and see their progression through
the years,” Powers added. “These are not only good baseball
players, but great young men.”
Norman named All-ET
Monitor Staff Reports
TYLER–Mabank High School junior Ashton Norman was named first
team All-East Texas by the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Tyler newspaper announced the All-East Texas girls’ soccer teams
in their Saturday issue, and the boys’ soccer teams in the
Named as a midfielder, Norman led the Lady Panthers to the
sectional playoff – three rounds deep – this past season,
scoring almost half of the team’s goals in the process.
She was one of three midfielders selected to the first team,
joining Pine Tree sophomore Amanda Cabrera and Grace Community
sophomore Caroline Rock.
Monitor file photo
Mabank High School junior Lady Panther Ashton Norman directs her
teammates as she comes upfield during the sectional championship
match against Whitehouse April 1. Norman was named first-team
All-East Texas by the Tyler Morning Telegraph in its Saturday
The Tyler newspaper selected one goalkeeper,
three forwards and four defensemen, along with a Player of the
Year (Whitehouse junior Chestley Strother, who the Lady Panthers
faced in the sectional playoff match) and a Newcomer of the Year
(Grace Community freshman Lexi Trimble).
Three more Lady Panthers were given honorable mention on the
All-East Texas squads – seniors Lindsey Pait and Natalie Torres,
and junior Brittany Findley.
Mabank Panther seniors Clint Cowan and Martin Ledezma were both
selected for honorable mention All-East Texas in the Tyler
paper’s Sunday issue.
Boater education course set
Monitor Staff Reports
TOOL–The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 5-14 will host the
first of eight public boater education courses at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, May 28, at the USCG office, 1907 Island Circle, near
Don’s Port Marina.
Fee for the class, which satisfies Texas boater education
requirements, is $35 (family and group discounts available).
Additional classes may be scheduled for large groups at a
For registration and more information, contact John Steele at
(903) 432-3937, or cell (817) 229-3030, or e-mail
Bring your boat to class for a free vessel safety check.
Additional courses are scheduled June 25, July 23, Aug. 27,
Sept. 24 and Oct. 22.