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See pg. 6B

June 5, 2011

Autrey headed to Corsicana Red Oak coach accepts baseball job, looking forward to new challenges By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

Red Oak baseball coach Heath Autrey has accepted the head coaching position at Corsicana High School leaving the Hawks after a five-year tenure. Autrey met with Corsicana school officials on Friday and accepted the position tentatively with final approval from the school board expected to come as early as Monday. “I’m excited about this new opportunity in

Corsicana. I want to thank (Corsicana Superintendent) Dr. (Diane) Frost, (current baseball coach) Billy Harlan and the search committee for giving me this opportunity,” Autrey said in a phone call Friday night. “I’d also like to thank all the community at Red Oak for their support. (Red Oak Superintendent) Mr. (Scott) Niven, (Red Oak High principal) Mr. (Kevin) Freels, (athletic director) Mike Burns for everything they’ve done for our baseball program. It’s been good in Red Oak and all

the players and all the families that’s been involved, it’s been a lot of fun and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.” Autrey, a graduate of Waxahachie High School, took over at Red Oak five years ago and began turning the Hawks into consistent playoff contenders. After two seasons of building and installing his coaching philosophies in the program, the team reached the

Heath Autrey

See AUTREY, Page 6B

Panthers to play in North Texas Classic Regular season opener against Grapevine moved to Cotton Bowl Stadium for showcase By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

DALLAS – The road to a special season for Midlothian football will begin in a special place. At a press conference last week in Dallas, the Panthers were announced as one of six teams selected to play in three games as part of the North Texas Football Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Midlothian’s originally scheduled season-opener against Grapevine will now take place at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 27. “Stadiums that have history of the game of football, this has to be in the top five in the country in my opinion. What an awesome opportunity for these kids,” Midlothian coach Lee Wiginton. District rival Duncanville will open the Classic with a game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday against Colleyville Heritage. The Colony will play Sherman in Saturday’s late game, which is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the game are $10 and will be on sale at the MISD athletic department office from now until game day. The North Texas Football Classic marks the first time high school football games have been in the Cotton

Dream big

The pursuit of Mariano led to so much more By CHAD WILSON

Daily Light Sports Editor

What’s better than catching a foul ball at a Major League Baseball game? How about spending nine innings with one of your heroes after landing an autograph from someone you have chased for more than five years. Oh yeah, and your team wins the game. Waxahachie’s Jimmy Mismash thought the New York Yankees were untouchable, unreachable and unbelievable but a three-game series against the

Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington May 6-8 made his weekend unforgettable. Mismash, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Waxahachie’s Clift Middle School, entered the series in pursuit of an autographed baseball from Yankee closer Mariano Rivera to add to his collection of more than a dozen Yankee autographs but went home after Sunday’s 12-5 Yankee win with a weekend full of memories that will last a lifetime.

Bowl in more than a decade. Stadium general manager Roland Rainey was presented the idea of a three-game event, which fit perfectly into the stadium’s schedule. Last season’s Classic was played at Frisco’s Pizza Hut See PANTHERS, Page 4B

NCAA Baseball - Fort Worth Regional

A friendly rivalry

Collins bests Harrison in Regional opening game By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

FORT WORTH – Boomer Collins takes the humble and high road when talking about Friday’s game. For now at least. Though he’s being forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, Collins still suited up for the NCAA

Baseball Tournament Regional opener between Dallas Baptist and Oklahoma. More specifically between Collins and his former Waxahachie teammate Drew Harrison. “Growing up, playing summer ball against almost all the kids you play See REGIONAL, Page 4B

See MISMASH, Page 2B

Photos by Chad Wilson/The Daily Light

Jimmy Mismash received an autographed Joba Chamberlain ball and Chamberlain’s game-worn Oakley sunglasses when the New York Yankees played in Texas in May.

I N S I D E

Photo by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

Midlothian coach Lee Wiginton and Grapevine coach Dave Henigan were all smiles at the announcement of the North Texas Football Classic.

Photos by Gary Puckett/Special to the Daily Light

Drew Harrison, left, and Boomer Collins, right, played together at Waxahachie but faced each other in the Fort Worth Regional.

Midlothian hockey rolls on

Page 5B

Hebert showing leadership

Page 3B

Perez ready to run point

Page 3B

Midlothian softball banquet

Page 4B

Freeman stands tall in post

Burke, Johnson join SAGU

Page 3B

Page 6B

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2B   Waxahachie Daily Light   Sunday, June 5, 2011

SportsExtra

Chad Wilson, Sports Editor 469-517-1455 | chad.wilson@wninews.com

Mismash Continued from Page 1B

Game one

Carrie Mismash, Jimmy’s mother, bought the tickets to the series in advance and thought she had seats next to the Yankees bullpen for Friday night’s game. Row one, seats one and two. When the tickets were printed they were actually row one, seats 11 and 12, so she tried to get this corrected but in the end Jimmy and his dad Jim Mismash ended up with seats 11 and 12. It turned out to be the first of many positive turnabouts for the weekend. “Jimmy and I always get to the ballpark when the gates open so Jimmy can stand behind the Yankees dugout to watch batting practice, see the players up close and maybe get an autograph,” Jim said. “Jimmy is a quiet and reserved boy not wanting to shout to the players and ask for autographs and baseballs. He waits patiently, dressed in all of his Yankees gear, hoping one of the players will point to him to throw them his baseball so they can sign it.”  Over the years Jimmy has had pretty good success with the autographs, has been given a ball or two and in 2007 Alex Rodriguez tossed Jimmy his batting gloves as he went down into the dugout after batting practice. Knowing it could be Rivera’s last trip to Arlington and his last chance to get the autograph that he has sought for more than five years, Jimmy was set on being the first in line for Rivera Friday. Jimmy moved a little further down the third base line because that’s where he had seen Rivera stop in the past to talk with fans and sign autographs. He was fortunate his plan worked. After just missing on several other occasions May 6 proved to be the day when Jimmy finally got to have Rivera sign a MLB baseball, on the sweet spot, to add to his collection. “It means a lot for me to get the ball signed since I have been trying to get it for several years,” Jimmy said. What was thought to be the top moment of the series would soon be topped as the Mis-

Photo by Chad Wilson/The Daily Light

Jimmy Mismash proudly sets in his old Yankee Stadium seats when he watched the Yankees play; however, they are heavy and hard for the 12-year old to move.

mashes reached their seats. “We went out to left field to our seats and soon found that seats 11 and 12 were right against the Yankee’s bullpen, not seats one and two as we had thought,” Jim said. “We sat down and watched coach Tony Pena working with Russell Martin and then watched Ivan Nova getting ready for the game. Jimmy was so excited. His seat, seat 12, was right next to the bullpen.” The first player to sit on the bench was Lance Pendleton and Jim explained to Jimmy that Pendleton, a relief pitcher for New York, had attended and played baseball for Rice

Photos by Chad Wilson/The Daily Light

Jimmy Mismash’s collection of Yankee memorabilia features everything from signed baseballs to posters and action figures.

Photo by Chad Wilson/The Daily Light

Jimmy Mismash’s collection of autographed balls that includes the Rivera, Chamberlain and local heroes such as Colton Cain, Drew Harrison and Boomer Collins.

University, the same university Jimmy wants to attend once he graduates Waxahachie. Jimmy worked up the courage, said hello to Pendleton and asked him how he liked going to Rice. That simple question sparked a conversation with Pendleton for a short time before former Nebraska Cornhusker Joba Chamberlain entered the pen. “He put a chair between the end of the bench and the dugout wall, sitting mere inches from Jimmy,” Jim recalled. “He fist bumped Jimmy through the fence and asked him how he was doing. Chamberlain then offered Jimmy sunflower seeds from a package he was opening. Jimmy politely declined. Chamberlain poured a few in his hand, tossed them on Jimmy and told them if he wasn’t going to take some he would just throw them at him. Jimmy really laughed and then took some seeds and ate them.” The nice gestures continued through the game as Jimmy offered Chamberlain and Pendleton peanuts and Slim Jim beef sticks. They took him up on the beef sticks.  Jimmy continued talking with Chamberlain about a number of things, including Jimmy having won a World Series Championship ring in 2011 with his baseball team the Waxahachie Tribe. During the conversation Jimmy kept referring to Joba as Mr. Chamberlain. After a couple of references Chamberlain told him that they were friends now and that he should call him “Joba” because Mr. Chamberlain was Joba’s Dad. Jimmy really liked that. Before the game was over, Chamberlain gave Jimmy a baseball, which he later autographed. Under his name Chamberlain wrote “Dream Big.”  After he received the autograph and read it, Jimmy was in shock because the “Dream Big” phrase was something that was special to him too. Jimmy showed Chamberlain a Yankees necklace he got from his mom and dad in 2007 that was engraved “Work hard. Dream big.” after reading Chamberlain’s inscription, making Chamberlain chuckle and say how cool it was. Rivera was seated on the bullpen bench during the game and Jimmy thanked him for signing the ball for him. Rivera told him he was welcome and gave Jimmy a thumbs up. To make a great night even better, Rivera was called upon in the ninth inning and picked up a save, his 571st of his career, in a New York 4-1 win against Texas. As the game ended Chamberlain posed for

Jimmy Mismash and Yankee pitcher Joba Chamberlain at game one of the series in Texas. a picture with Jimmy, told him he enjoyed visiting with him, gave him a fist bump good bye and told him to come back to another game and see him. “Jimmy was so excited that he got to talk to these guys, that they were so nice and they were just like regular people,” Jim said.

Game two, three

The Mismashes had seats close to home plate along the first base side on Saturday and did not get to talk with the Yankees’ bullpen as Texas won the game 7-5. However, Chamberlin did pitch in the loss and Jimmy thought it was “cool” to watch his new friend take the mound after the game one experience. Back near the bullpen on Sunday the Mismash boys were joined by Carrie since it was Mother’s Day but it was Jimmy who received the biggest surprise. “We got to the ballpark about an hour and a half before the game and went straight to the Yankee dugout. I had to laugh the whole way seeing that my son is only 12 and I am not. To say the least, Jimmy made it to the dugout long before I did,” Carrie said. “To my surprise when I arrived Jimmy was leaning front and center of the Yankees dugout. We stayed there for a while to watch the Yanks come in and out and do their rituals they do before game time.” Instead of sitting row one, the Mismashes See MISMASH, Page 3B

Photos by Chad Wilson/The Daily Light

Jimmy Mismash also has a framed pair of Alex Rodriguez battling gloves in his Yankees collection. Almost everything in the young boy’s room is related to the Yankees, including the sheets he sleeps on.


Chad Wilson, Sports Editor 469-517-1455 | chad.wilson@wninews.com

SportsExtra

Sunday, June 5, 2011   Waxahachie Daily Light   3B

Taking control

Perez showing she can run the point for Lady Indians By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

There is no hesitation in Jamayia Perez’s voice when she talks about running the point for the Waxahachie girls basketball team during summer league action. Much like her game, she doesn’t pause. She just says and does what is natural to her. For the Lady Indians, that is a good thing. Perez has quickly shown she can run the show. She drives to the basket with ease, gets around double-team defense with little resistance and has been able to find the open shooter effortlessly. To some, those things would be tough. To Perez, they are just what she does. “I like (running the point). It’s easier because I can drive to the hole good and then when teammate’s defense (comes to) help (stop me) I can kick it out,” Perez said. Last season, Chanel Miller and Taylor Hill were responsible for the majority of the point guard duties for Waxahachie. Miller has graduated, leaving Hill as the primary ballhandler. What remains unclear is just how much Hill will be counted on to run the point in the regular season. All during the summer league, Perez has seen a healthy portion of time running the point, freeing Hill up to be a shooter. The plan has worked out well for both players as they’ve both become consistent scoring forces for the Lady Indians.

Against Midlothian last week in the team’s only game, Perez was a scoring force with 13 points to lead the team, including nine in the second half. She finished just short of a double-double with about nine assists in the game as well. Whatever happens this coming basketball season is a long way from being finalized but Perez is comfortable with running the show. The summer league has given her the chance to show that. “I think I’m going to play the one next year,” Perez said. “I like the one because you take control, look for the open man and passes. I can handle tight defense.” During the summer, Perez is just hoping to make things smooth between the younger and older players in the Waxahachie program. Her goal is to develop consistent passing tendencies and find a comfort level that everyone on the Lady Indian roster can agree on for the upcoming season. While all those things are a work in progress, Perez believes thing are starting to get to where they need to be in order for the team to get back to winning. Ultimately, she’ll do whatever it takes to help that cause. “It has (gotten better). And then we’re working on our peripheral vision passing,” Perez said. “It’s getting easier. I like it.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com

Photo by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

Waxahachie’s Jamayia Perez gives a signal to teammate Dawn King before trying to shake a Midlothian defender on an in-bound pass.

Trying to stand tall The young veteran Freeman shows improved approach to battle down low By ALEX RILEY

By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

This time last year, Alyssa Freeman was just a young post player trying to figure out what life was like at the varsity level. She showed promise during summer league work and carried that over into the regular season. Today, Freeman is showing all those lessons have been stored away in her memory bank and she is ready for whatever comes her way. And she isn’t alone. Freeman joins fellow post players Sam Drusch and Haley Lott in the battle for playing time while supporting each other. It might sound complex but in reality it isn’t simply because everyone is out for a common objective. “Like I told my sister and our team, this is our time to get better. This is our time to motivate each other,” Freeman said. “Our goal as posts is to step it up and that’s what we’re trying to do.” In Wednesday’s game against Waxahachie, Freeman was able to show just how far she has come over the last year. Facing up against a pair of Lady Indian post players who were about equal in height but were bigger in size, Freeman had one of her best outings in quite some time. She opened with six first half points and then scored another six in the second half including four points as part of a 10-2 run to close the game. Freeman finished with a team-high 12 points in the narrow loss. All night, Freeman battled for rebounds and position against those bigger players. Her double-figure game went along with a handful of rebounds. Why was she able to be so successful? Freeman attributes that to the new competition the Lady Panthers ran into last season. “I think we feel a lot more comfortable being in a 5A. I think Haley, me and Sam, we all got kind of used to it all season this past season and it got us to a whole new level of what we’re looking to do and expect for the next year,” Freeman said. “Coming out here after going through that whole 5A season really helped us step up.” Where Freeman and her post playing cohorts go from here is anybody’s guess. The Lady Panthers have another few weeks of summer league work and then an entire offseason program to go through in preparation for next season. Freeman is just out to prove she belongs in the mix when it comes time to create the depth chart next season. While she might be battling with those other post players, she

Mismash Continued from Page 2B

moved up to row seven but still had seats right by the bullpen and were quickly spotted by Chamberlain. Chamberlain recognized Jimmy, called him by name and said, “Hey, buddy, you moved seats on me.” Jimmy replied “Yes sir, my mom couldn’t get the same seats.” Chamberlain responded, “That’s OK, Jimmy, we can still hang out and visit.” Chamberlain made several trips to visit Jimmy during the game and due to Friday’s experience Jimmy brought Chamberlain and the bullpen a can of Slim Jims. “The guys in bullpen seemed

Hebert leading, learning during summer league work Daily Light sports writer

Photo by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

Playing against 5A competition last season has prepared Midlothina’s Alyssa Freeman for the battles that will come her way as a post player.

isn’t alone in her quest and despite the competition there’s also a massive showing of support for each other. “Just step up, work hard and use this as our practice for next year. That’s just our goal – to motivate each other to get ready and work harder for next year,” Freeman said. Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.

very thankful we knew who Joba was,” Carrie said. Later in the game Jimmy went to get a snow cone and when he returned to his seat Chamberlain put his hand in the air and asked Jimmy, “Where’s mine?” Not knowing he was only kidding, Jimmy jumped right up and went and got him one. When Jimmy returned with it Chamberlain had to refuse it because he was about to warm up to enter the game but he gave it to one of the pitching coaches. As Jimmy tried to hand Chamberlain the snow cone Chamberlain handed Jimmy his Oakley sunglasses. Jimmy was in shock, he could hardly speak. He put the glasses on and didn’t

It’s hard for Bailey Hebert to think of herself as a veteran. After all, she is just a rising junior in the Red Oak basketball program and she was a reserve player last season. But when it comes to her teammates on the Waxahachie summer league squad, Hebert is the equivalent of a seasoned vet. The Lady Hawk roster features just two players with varsity experience from last season and a slew of incoming freshman and rising sophomores who are looking to make headway when it comes to varsity playing time. That makes Hebert a person they’re turning to for advice and input. That makes her a veteran. “Even though I don’t have that much experience myself, I have to step up and go from the experience I have had and got this year and just try to lead from my knowledge of the game and stuff,” Hebert said. “I try my best to lead by example.” With the departure of several key players from last year’s team, Hebert and several other Lady Hawks are being asked to step up and fill those roles. Despite only being 5-foot-9, Hebert has proven to be a player unafraid to do what is necessary in the post. Going up against bigger and stronger players in the summer league has been a good test for Hebert who will end up facing similar competition in the regular season. So far, Hebert has shown she is willing to stand her ground and play against whatever size player the opposing team wants to throw at her. It’s a challenge and it can be a struggle but she wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s hard. It gets really hard sometimes,” Hebert said. “I have to get stronger and I just have to tell myself to keep pushing because they’re bigger than me and they’re going to keep pushing so I need to get strong and push back.” With so many young players on the team, Hebert is spending plenty of time on the bench as well. The Red Oak roster is deep with players meaning the more than dozen players have split time on the court equally. While she might not be getting as much court time as players on other smaller teams, she knows the younger kids are building their stamina for the upcoming season while developing a chemistry that will be key to future success. In what little bit of time the summer league has been going on, Hebert has seen several young players step up and show they can

take them off for the rest of the game and now they are one of his most prized possessions. “He was even more excited that they still had a few of Joba’s finger prints on them,” Carrie said. “Overall the experience is one we will never forget. As life-long fans we have always supported the team and we just wanted Joba, Mariano and the rest of the Yankees to know how thankful we are for taking time out to spend with my 12-year-old son.” New York won the final game of the series to take the three-game series two games to one but the final outcome was only icing on the cake as Jimmy had autographed baseballs from Chamberlain, Pendleton and Rivera, the sunglasses and memories of time spent with big leaguers.

compete for a varsity spot when tryouts happen. The chemistry is beginning to build and that’s going to be difference in another good season for the Lady Hawks or a tough road ahead. “(The chemistry is) actually getting better every week. It’s not gone down yet,” Hebert said. “We’re good. We’re going to be fine.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.

Photo by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

While she may still be just a rising junior, Bailey Hebert is one of the few summer league players with varsity experience, making her a player the Lady Hawks are counting on to lead.

“It was cool meeting Joba. I thought he would be a big famous guy and hard to talk to but he was a really nice person,” Jimmy said. “He was real kind, outgoing and funny.” Once the weekend series was complete Jimmy was asked what his favorite part of the weekend was, “Everything,” he replied. “I wish it was Friday again.” The glasses and three autographed balls are now part of a large collection of New York Yankee memorabilia in Jimmy’s museumlike room. He has been collecting anything Yankees for a long time now. He has every McFarlane figure that has been released and several autographed balls. He has two seats from the old

Yankee Stadium, including seat 14, which is the number he wears while playing sports. His room is insured with extra security protection and everyone that comes into his house to see his collection, whether a Yankee fan or not, is in awe. Jimmy said his favorite two collectables are his Rodriguez batting gloves and the Chamberlain glasses. It was just another weekend for the Yankees on their road trip into hostile territory but it turned out to be a weekend that Jimmy will never forget as he pursues his biggest dream of all, dawning the pinstripes and calling himself a New York Yankee. Contact Chad at chad.wilson@ wninews.com or at 469-517-1455.


4B   Waxahachie Daily Light   Sunday, June 5, 2011

SportsExtra

Chad Wilson, Sports Editor 469-517-1455 | chad.wilson@wninews.com

Lady Panther softball reflects on season By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

MIDLOTHIAN – The spotlight shown brightly one last time on the Midlothian softball team for the 2011 season as the program gathered to commemorate the year with an end-of-season banquet last week. After another strong season by both the varsity and junior varsity squads, coach Frank Griffin and staff were excited to pay tribute to the teams for their efforts on the diamond this spring. “These girls worked hard all year and it’s an honor to be a part of them,” Griffin said. “It’s a great honor for the booster club to put together a banquet like this where we can come and we can just show the kids how much we appreciate them because everything they do, they just bend over backwards for us and we love to come out here and give them a little extra pat on the back.” The evening started with a video rewind of the more exciting plays from the season for both programs and there were plenty to be view. Coach Cindy Williams called her season a “great year” as the junior varsity squad posted a 21-2 overall record with an unbeaten mark in district play. The junior varsity’s only two losses came to district rival Mansfield Legacy in a tournament but the team got a little revenge for those by sweeping the district series. Players and aids from the junior varsity program were called up to the stage and presented participation certificates for helping make the season special. Once the sub-varsity level was recognized, the evenings attention’s turned to the varsity program, which finished 23-8 overall and reached the area finals before falling to state-ranked Richland. The Lady Panthers finished tied for secondplace in the District 5-5A race, coming within a few runs of winning the school’s first 5A district title. Griffin pointed to the seasonopening win against Waxahachie

Photo by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

From left, Reagan Luedtke won the golden bat whiile sharing MVP honors with Megan Spence, Savannah Valderas earned the golden glove and Delaney Wayland received the Heart and Hustle Award at the Midlothian softball end-of-season banquet.

as the “first step in the right direction” as that victory made the girls believe they could win against good competition. That was followed by a 4-1 showing in the Mansfield ISD Tournament and a 4-2 effort in the Southlake Carroll Tournament, which only helped boost the team’s confidence. Griffin brought each of the varsity players on stage and presented them with certificates of participation for their work in the season, calling the experience of working with the girls “an honor and pleasure” as they were a “fun to be around and worked harder than I

could imagine.” The night concluded with the team superlatives being awarded. These honors were voted on by players after the season in regards to whom they felt deserved them. The winners’ names were inscribed on a plaque that will be displayed along the past winners. The Heart and Hustle Award went to freshman Delaney Wayland, who came on as the season progressed to play multiple positions, including shortstop and left field. The Golden Glove honor went to center fielder Savannah Valderas for her work as a defender in the outfield. Senior

Reagan Luedtke received the Golden Bat award after leading the team in batting average, RBI and home runs. Luedtke and fellow senior Megan Spence were named co-MVPs as the voting was split. Spence, the ace in the circle this year, pitched 135 innings this season, recording 122 strikeouts. While the gathering was a fitting end to the season, Griffin was optimistic the program would need to push the date back even further next year due to still being in the playoffs. His hope was that this season showed the Lady Panthers they can

win at the 5A level and that knowledge will help them do more next season. “We’re doing it late in the year now because of some scheduling problems but I’d rather it be because we’re still playing. The team that beat us just got knocked out this past week and that kind of stings a little bit that it really could have been us,” Griffin said. “Hopefully next year we’ll be able to go further.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@ wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.

Midlothian duo selected for softball all-star game

Luedtke, Spence to play in 5A showcase game on June 8 By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

The high school season for two Midlothian standouts will continue for one more game. Seniors Reagan Luedtke and Megan Spence have both been selected to take part in the 2011 DFW 5A All-Star game on June 8 at Flower Mound. Players selected to the all-star showcase were required to have earned a superlative honor or be first-team all-district with players coming from 5A district 3-11. “It is an honor to be selected to play in the DFW All-Star game. I just want to have fun at the game and enjoy playing with all of the elite athletes in the area,” Luedtke said of her selection. “Huge thanks to my family for everything they have done for me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without God.” This past spring, Luedtke and Spence were two of the driving forces behind Midlothian’s success as a first-year 5A proPhotos by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

Reagan Luedtke, left, and Megan Spence, right, were selected to play in the DFW 5A All-Star Game at Flower Mound on June 8. Both players were first-team all-district.

Panthers Continued from Page 1B

Park and the event was originally slated to be there again this year. But when all the pieces fell into place, the move to the Cotton Bowl was a no-brainer. “With zero week coming in now, it gives us another opportunity to do that because the

state fair begins their setup in the first week of September and with all the tents and metal laying down in the streets and all that it makes it really difficult for us,” Rainey said. “So with the zero week moving up, it’s given us some clearance in there to be able to do this. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.” The down time will give the field a chance to be repaired before the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma is renewed

when the state fair starts. For Midlothian, it marks the second time the program has taken part in a season-opening specialty game in the last three years. The Panthers made the trek to San Antonio in 2009 to play in the Dave Campbell Texas Football Classic at the Alamodome. Last season, the game between the Panthers and Mustangs was a thriller that had to be settled in overtime. An Alex Mueller 44-yard field goal in the overtime helped Grapevine

gram. After having to relinquish her catching duties due to a nagging shoulder injury, Luedtke became an offensive presence for the Lady Panthers with team bests in batting average (.434), RBI (37) and home runs (four). For her efforts, Luedtke received first-team all-district honors from 5-5A while being named Midlothian’s golden bat award winner for best offensive player. She also earned a share of the team MVP title, sharing that honor with Spence. Spence spent 135 innings in the circle for Midlothian and posted stellar numbers. He finished at 15-6 overall with 2.70 ERA. Along the way, Spence struck out 122 batters while allowing just 37 walks. She was also a first-team all-district selection. “I was very excited to hear that I was nominated to play in the all-star game, especially since my teammate and very good friend Reagan is also playing,” Spence said. “I feel very honored to have been selected to play in the all-star game. I’m really looking forward to playing in this game and competing against the best players in the area.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456. rally from a 20-9 halftime deficit to pull out a 30-27 win. “I know coach (Dave) Henigan does a great job. They’re a program with a lot of history and I would anticipate it will be another great ball game,” Wiginton said. Both coaches also agreed on one thing – the Cotton Bowl experience will be special for the players but both expect their teams to tune out the surroundings once the football is teed up for kickoff. Playing in such a historic stadium is something the coaches expect the players to soak in before the game and afterwards as they make memories to last a lifetime. But when it’s time for business, both sides predict their players will be ready for battle. “Everybody’s excited for the first game of the year, always are. I think it’s going to outstanding. I think it’ll be just like any other game,” Henigan said. “I think once you start to play, it really is irrelevant when it comes right down to it.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456. Photo by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

Members of the Midlothian and Grapevine football teams were on-hand along with the head coaches to accept an invitation to play at the Cotton Bowl as part of the North Texas Football Classic to open the 2011 season. The two teams will play on Aug. 27.


SportsExtra

Chad Wilson, Sports Editor 469-517-1455 | chad.wilson@wninews.com

Hockey extends streak

Sunday, June 5, 2011   Waxahachie Daily Light   5B

Panthers notch third win in-a-row during summer league action

Mavs corner

By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light intern

Daily Light sports writer

The Miami Heat improved to 9-0 at home this postseason after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in game 1 of the NBA Finals, 94-82. LeBron James scored 24 points and Dwayne Wade added 22. The Heat held the Dallas Mavericks to their lowest point total of the playoffs. Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points before tearing a tendon in his left middle finger. Nowitzki later said he would wear a splint for the remainder of the series. Shawn Marion added 16 points and 10 rebounds and Jason Terry contributed 12 points. Dallas held Miami to their second-worst shooting percentage and 39 percent but the problem was Dallas shot even lower at 37 percent. Wade hit a 3-pointer with 3:06 left to give the Heat an 82-73 lead. Dallas cut the lead down in the next possession when Nowitzki hit two free throws, but James answered to give the Heat a double-digit lead. Miami out-rebounded Dallas 4636 as it struggled to score in the second half. “We’re a veteran team. You can’t get down with a loss. You’ve got to come back strong on Thursday,” Nowitzki said after the loss. The Mavericks completed one of the NBA’s greatest comebacks of all time, rallying from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Miami Heat 95-93 in game two.

The strong play for the Midlothian hockey team in summer league action continued last week as the Panthers posted their third-straight win with a 4-2 victory over Plano. Against Plano, the Panthers (3-1) fell behind about three minutes into the game before Joseph Dancy used a Brent Jones assist to tie the game about halfway through the period. Plano responded by scoring a goal late in the first period to reclaim a 2-1 lead. From that point on, it was all Midlothian as the team rattled off three unanswered goals to seize momentum and the win. Trent Williams started the rally using assists by Jones and Dancy to tie the game late in the second period. Doss Allen put the team up for good on an unassisted shorthanded goal at the 9:13 mark of the third period. Dancy capped his night by taking a Williams assist into the net with two seconds left in the game to seal the win. Dancy continues his impressive run with a goal in each of the last three games with a total of seven points in the last three outings. Jones is also off to a solid start with two assists in each of the last three games. Williams has also recorded at least one point in each of the team’s first four summer league games. After a slew of penalties last week, the Panthers were relatively unpenalized this week with five calls that went for two minutes each. Cameron Wagner played all 45 minutes in goal, recording 28 saves. Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456. Photo by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

Midlothian’s Doss Allen scored what would be the game-winning goal late in the third period against Plano last week. The Panthers added another goal minutes later to win their third-straight.

Waxahachie athletic camps

Summer is almost here and that means there will be plenty of athletic camps hosted by Waxahachie High School coaches. Registration forms and complete information on every camp can be found online at www. waxahachieindians.com. The volleyball, football and softball camps will be held June 6-9 while the speed and strength camp will be held June 6-July 21. June 13-16 the baseball, girls basketball and soccer camps will be held while the tennis and boys basketball camps will be held June 20-23.

GC Sports Camps

GC Sports Camps are back this summer with focus on football, basketball, soccer and volleyball. The camps are free and guaranteed to the first 100 pre-registered campers with a $50 refundable deposit if campers show up to the full camp. Each pre-registered camper will receive a T-shirt, bag, ball and other prizes. All camps are third-eighth grade except the volleyball it is fourth-ninth. The soccer camp is June 2829, basketball is July 12-14, football is July 19-21 and volleyball is July 30.

Midlothian ISD sports summer camp dates

The Midlothian ISD athletic department has released its list of summer camps for this summer. Six different sports will host campers of all ages. June 6 -9 Baseball - Contact: Ray Hydes Ages 7-10 will be from 9 a.m.-noon and ages 11-14 will be from 2-5 p.m. Soccer - Contact: Austin Guest Grades kindergarten to fifth-grade (girls and boys) will be from 8:30-11 a.m and boys in grades sixth to ninth-grade will be from 1-3:30 p.m.

By SARAH MARSHALL

Sports Happenings

Football - Contact: Jimmy Spradley First to sixth-grades will be from 5:30-8:00 pm

June 13-16 Boys basketball - Contact: Glenn Hartson Grades third through fifth will be from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and grades sixth through ninth will be from 1-4 p.m. Soccer - Contact: Austin Guest Grades kindergarten to fifth-grade (girls and boys) will be from 8:30-11 a.m and girls in grades sixth to ninth-grade will be from 1-3:30 p.m. Golf - Contact: Brant Bennett The camp is open to golfers from ages 6-18 and will be from 9-11 a.m. at Tangle Ridge Golf Camp. June 20-23 Girls basketball - Contact: Brooke Walthall Grades third through sixth will be from 9 a.m.-noon and seventh- to ninth-grade will be from 12:30-3:30 p.m. July 25-28 Volleyball - Contact: Rhonda Currey Grades third to eighth will be from 8:30 -11:30 a.m. with ninth-graders going from 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. July 25, 27-29 (No camp on Tuesday) Football - Contact: Jimmy Spradley Grades seventh to ninth from 5:30-8 p.m. All registration flyers and information can be found online at www.midlothian-isd.net/ athletics.

Red Oak High School summer sports camps

The Red Oak High School coaches are sponsoring many athletic camps this summer beginning in June. The list of camps being

offered and their dates are as follows: Football June 6-9 from 8:30-11 a.m. for thirdthrough eighth-grade at the practice fields behind the new high school. July 18-21 from 8-11 a.m. for ninth-graders at the practice fields.

Nowitzki’s torn tendon was not a problem as he scored 24 points, including the game-winning shot that came from his left hand. With 7:13 left on the clock, the Heat thought they sealed a 2-0 lead in the series. Wade made a 3-pointer that brought the Heat to an 88-73 advantage as the home fans began to throw their white towels as a signal of victory. Following the basket, Wade posed in front of the Dallas bench providing a spark for the Mavs. Several Mavericks told the press the pose served as motivation for the comeback. Tyson Chandler said it was disrespectful and Jason Terry needed restraint from teammates. The pose served as great motivation, as the Mavericks closed the game with a 22-5 run. Wade was hot all game but quickly turned cold as the Mavericks started to rally. The Mavericks stole possessions from Miami and raced to the open dunk as part of the run. The game was sealed with Nowitzki’s layup and a failed 3-point attempt from Wade. The loss was Miami’s first home loss in 10 playoff appearances this season. The Mavericks are the first team to rally from a 15-point deficit in the Finals since the Chicago Bulls rallied against the Portland Trailblazers in 1992. Games 3-5 will be played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Game 3 is slated for 8 p.m. on Sunday on ABC.

Baseball June 13-14 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for third- through eighth-grades at Buddy Groom field at the new high school. Soccer June 13-17 from 9-noon for boys and girls of all ages at Billy Goodloe Stadium

Girls Basketball June 6-10 from 9-noon for all ages at the new high school gym.

Softball June 20-24 from 9-11 a.m. for all ages at the high school athletic complex softball fields

Boys Basketball July 11-15 from 9-noon for third- through sixth-grade at the high school gym. July 11-15 from 1-4 p.m. for sevenththrough ninth-grade at the high school gym.

For updated information and registration forms visit the Red Oak ISD Athletic web page at http://redoakisd.org/athletics and click on your camp’s registration link.

Tennis June 10 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. for sixththrough eighth-grades at the high school sports complex tennis courts (behind the softball field). June 13-17 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. for ninthgrade at the high school sports complex tennis courts. June 20-23 from 9:30-11 a.m. for kindergarden through fifth-grade at the high school sports complex tennis courts.

SAGU volleyball camp

Volleyball June 13-16 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Session I beginner camp for seventh-grade at the high school gym June 13-16 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Session II intermediate camp for eighth-grade at the high school gym July 18-21 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. for sixthgrade and younger at the high school gym July 18-21 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for ninthgrade at the high school gym July 25-29 summer team camp with underclassmen in the morning and varsity in the afternoon at the high school gym

Southwestern Assemblies of God University and head volleyball coach Hank Moore will be holding volleyball camps in June and July. The first camp is June 13-16 for girls entering grades ninth-12th. The second camp is July 18-21 for girls entering fourth-eighth grade. The fourth-sixth grade camp is from 9 a.m. to noon while the seventh and eighth grade camp is 1-4 p.m. All camps will be on the SAGU campus. The cost of the camp is $85 and includes a Tshirt, individual instruction and an opportunity to learn from and play with college players. Registration forms are available at the Waxahachie Daily Light office at 200 West Marvin. For more information contact Hank Moore at 214-384-7428. Got a sports happening in Ellis County? Send it to sports editor Chad Wilson at chad. wilson@wninews.com.

Regional Continued from Page 1B

against now in college baseball, it’s pretty cool week in and week out to see all your old buddies from high school, especially Drew,” Collins said. “It’s always good to see Drew because we always had a good relationship in high school so it’s really good to see him. You always can have joking around comments when you’re on top for sure.” The Patriots took a 1-0 lead in the first inning before the Sooners rallied with a run in the fifth to tie things up. Oklahoma held a 2-1 lead after a Tyler Ogle run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh and appeared headed for the win. But Dallas Baptist would not go quietly, using a leadoff single by Ryan Behmanesh and a single by Austin Elkins to plate a game-tying run in the top of the ninth. That sent the game into extra innings where the Patriots got one final chance to respond. A bunt single by Chris Haney got the 10th inning started off and a Landon Anderson single put Haney on third. That set the stage for Jason Krizan’s infield single to score the go-ahead run.

Dallas Baptist would hold on in the bottom of the 10th despite allowing a runner into scoring position. It’s the second time this season the two teams have played each other, both times ending with a 3-2 win for the Patriots.

That victory puts Dallas Baptist in the winner’s bracket of the Fort Worth regional where it faced host team TCU in game four of the regional on Saturday at 7 p.m. Oklahoma faced Oral Roberts at 2 p.m. in a win-or-go-home game on Sat-

urday. The victory puts Dallas Baptist is solid position for the tournament. The Patriots own two regular-season wins over the Horned Frogs. It’s the first time the program has made the NCAA Tournament since

2008 and the Patriots are showing no signs of exiting early. “I feel we can definitely make a run. We’ve handled TCU twice this year, granted it was during the midweek, but I mean we’ve gone down and beaten some big teams. We’re feeling pretty confident,” Collins said. “We’re not scared of anybody and we sure aren’t going to back down from anybody. I think we have a really good chance, we’ve just got to play our baseball and not have any fear.” While an opening-game win is a good feeling, the Patriots still have a ways to go before anything is final. The team still needs two more wins to reach the Super Regionals. And there is a good chance the Patriots might have to face Oklahoma once more to do that. Right now, Collins has the advantage with three wins over his former teammate (two at Dallas Baptist, one at Nebraska). A rematch would go a long way towards bragging rights and that’s why Collins wasn’t eager to brag just yet. “I might wait a little bit before I do that,” Collins said with a laugh. Contact Alex at alex.riley@ wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.


6B   Waxahachie Daily Light   Sunday, June 5, 2011

SportsExtra

Johnson proves she can

Chad Wilson, Sports Editor 469-517-1455 | chad.wilson@wninews.com

Waxahachie senior caps career by signing with SAGU’s inaugural class By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

Lauren Johnson has proven she can get to the next level. She has no plans on leaving anytime soon. Johnson, a senior softball player at Waxahachie, capped her high school career by signing a letter of intent to play for Southwestern Assemblies of God University next spring on Thursday. The emotions of continuing her career were easily visible on the veteran player’s face as she discussed overcoming people’s opinions about her game. Instead of backing down from the challenge, Johnson stood tall and made the

statement she belonged. The question – where will she belong? “I pitch, I play first base but outfield is my main spot. But anywhere he needs a player, I can be there,” Johnson said. Over the past few years, Johnson has spent time at first base and in the circle while playing outfield for her select team. This season for the Lady Indians, Johnson posted a .351 batting average with 34 hits including six doubles and a triple. She scored 18 runs while picking up 10 RBI and stealing two bases. Her work in the circle was limited as she worked just four innings but allowed just one earned run with four strikeouts.

Photo by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

With her parents and coach Tim Grant looking on, Waxahachie senior Lauren Johnson signs her letter of intent to play for SAGU next season.

She did have a 1-0 record. For SAGU coach Tim Grant, Johnson’s flexibility to play almost any position was an added bonus but the first-year coach has already outlined a play for the first-year player in the program’s firstyear of existence. “I’m looking at first base and really wanting to develop her bat. That’s what we’re really looking at her for,” Grant said. “It’s going to be exciting because we’ve got these local talents. We’ve got three more girls from the local area and it’s really going to be great to have them all on-board. Lauren’s going to really be a key one in that group.” Johnson’s signing was the second in about 24 hours for Grant as she joins Red Oak product Kyla Burke as the first two signees for the school. Several other county players are either looking to sign or transfer to the school to be a part of the first season. Now, Johnson’s journey begins all over again as the battle-tested player hopes to prove she belongs on the diamond at the collegiate level. While what happens next is anyone’s guess, Johnson is hoping to make her impact and leave the school in better shape than when she started. Whatever she and her classmates do will forever be associated with the firstever softball program at SAGU. And that was enough to make her grin from earto-ear. “It is knowing that I’m making history for a school and when I leave I actually will be leaving something behind. It’s special,” Johnson said. Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews. com or at 469-517-1456.

Photo by Chad Wilson/The Daily Light

As a senior, Lauren Johnson batted .351 with 18 runs scored for the Waxahachie softball team. She became the second signee to SAGU’s inaugural recruiting class, joining Red Oak’s Kyla Burke.

Burke becomes first SAGU softball signee By ALEX RILEY

Daily Light sports writer

RED OAK – It’s not every day you get to call yourself the first in anything, especially sports. But for Kyla Burke, she will forever hold that distinction. Burke, a softball standout at Red Oak, became the first player to sign with Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, which will launch its inaugural program next spring. “Well, I’m very honored to be the first one. I know it’s going to be the start of a great program and it feels good to be the first of softball legacy at SAGU,” Burke said. Both Burke’s parents graduated from the school along with quite a few other members of her family. The senior was quick to cite the high moral standards students are require to uphold during their time there as something she wanted to be a part of. The softball program was an added bonus. During her time as a Lady Hawk, Burke was a bit of a journeyman playing several different roles. She did not play her sophomore season but returned to the diamond last spring, spending the year as the team’s backup pitcher. With a new coaching staff this season and several key infielders graduating, Burke got her opportunity to show what she could do. First-year coach Tatum Thorne inserted her at third base, where she played all season. Burke was the

Photos by Alex Riley/The Daily Light

After spending time at a variety of positions, Kyla Burke settled into a starting role at third for Red Oak this spring and shined at the spot. Burke became the first signee for coach Tim Grant’s softball class at SAGU.

only Red Oak position player to spend the entire year at one spot on the field. She responded by batting .287 with three doubles, a triple and five stolen bases. Her 19 RBI were second most on the team. Burke also pitched four innings this year with a 1-0 record and four strikeouts. Both Thorne and SAGU coach Tim Grant pointed to Burke’s in-

Autrey

Continued from Page 6B

playoffs three-straight years. Last season, the Hawks pushed county-rival Midlothian to the brink in the three-game series a year after being bounced in two games by the Panthers. This spring, Red Oak rallied back from an opening game defeat by Bryan Rudder to win back-to-back games and advance to the area round. The Hawks took perennial power Texas High to three-games before being eliminated. During his time at Red Oak, Autrey posted two 20-win seasons and three playoff appearances. He also produced one Division I signee in pitcher Brent Fletcher (Louisiana Tech). Corsicana district spokesman Rob Ludwig said the district had no official comment on the hiring as of yet and was not sure if the issue would be brought before the school board at a workshop on Monday. The position became open because Harlan was named executive director for extracurricular programs. With Autrey’s departure, Red Oak ISD is now working to fill two open vacancies in the athletic department. Athletic director Mike Burns is retiring at the end of June, leaving two key openings to fill. If the hiring is approved, Autrey would inherit a Tiger program rich in tradition and talent. Rising senior Hunter Melton has already

tangibles as a major reason she has been so successful. “Leadership. A confidence that is great to have on the field, not only with herself but she can push confidence on others,” Thorne said. “I wish I had her more than a year but sometimes you don’t get to keep them as long as you want them but she’s going to be a great, great addition to SAGU. That’s for sure.”

committed to playing for Texas A&M upon his graduation. Standout pitcher Gage Curry (Navarro Junior College signee) and power hitting Heath Donica also return to the team. Autrey expressed appreciation to past booster club supporters Doug Tyra, Rodney Alsup and Gary Ashford for all their help throughout his years. He also wished to thank everyone from the administration to the fans who attended for helping build the program up to a higher level from where it started. Making the move to a new team was not an easy choice for Autrey, who has spent a large portion of his life the Ellis County area but ultimately it came down to what was best for his family. While he is walking into a good situation, Autrey believes the next Red Oak coach will not find bare cupboards when he arrives. The two teams will play each other in a district series next spring. “It’s a tough decision. I’m basing this decision solely for my family. It’s a better opportunity for my family. Professionally, Red Oak’s been outstanding for us and I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot there with building the new facilities and getting that program where it needs to be, where it’s competitive at a high level,” Autrey said. “And Red Oak’s going to have success in the future and I wish them the best of luck.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.

While her journey through high school might have been filled with twists and turns, Burke believes she has finally found a school to attend and a position to play, both of which she has no desire to change any time soon. Thanks to her speed and defensive prowess, Burke will most likely land at third base again when the college season starts. It’s a situation

she calls “very comfortable.” “(Grant) pretty much has me set at third base. I don’t think he’s really looked at me for any other spot. He says he’s 99 percent sure that I’ll be at third base so that’s where I’m set at,” Burke said. Contact Alex at alex.riley@ wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.

It’s not every day you get to call yourself the first to do something but for Red Oak senior softball player Kyla Burke she will always hold that honor. Burke became the first player to sign for Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s inaugural softball team after a stellar season for the Lady Hawks at third base.

Kyla Burke


Waxahachie Daily Light 6-5