Panthers pounce opponents Varsity baseball starts playoff push Desmond Smith Sports Editor The varsity baseball team faced Harker Heights High School in the first round of the playoffs sweeping the series 2-0. With those two wins the team now has the school record for most wins in one season with 27. The Panthers won game one 12-1 and game two 8-1. Head Coach Ray Hydes had already started scouting his opposition and had every intention to keep increaseing Midlothian’s five game winning streak. “Harker Heights was a good team and they are very scrappy,” Hydes said. “We had to
prepare well against them. We just stuck to doing the same thing we did all year and that involves good pitching and solid defense.” Senior center-fielder Ethan Hallmark was impressed with his team and is excited about going to the next round of the playoffs. “Our pitching was really good and our bats really came alive at the right times,” Hallmark said. “I was really proud of all of my teammates.” The Varsity Baseball team has been led by seniors rightfielder Dylan Sweeney, pitcher Jimmy Fouse, and Hallmark, who showed his leading ability in one of most exciting and exhausting games of the year. “I try to show leadership
by setting an example for my teammates on and off the field,” Hallmark said. The Panthers hosted a showdown a couple of weeks ago against district rival South Grand Prairie that lasted for more than three hours. “The South Grand Prairie win was a huge lift for us to fight and win,” Hydes said. “Our team never quit and we kept battling. Fortunately we were able to pull out the win.” Midlothian jumped out
an early lead thanks to a solo shot home run by senior right fielder Matt Heck in the bottom of the first inning. The Warriors struck back and scored quickly with a barrage of runs in the second inning. The Panthers finally responded with a pair of singles in the fifth and sixth inning to tie up the game. Defense became a huge part of the stalemate for next several innings. “Pitching for both us and South Grand Prairie was pretty good and it kept both teams
Photographed by Desmond Smith
off the scoreboard,” Hallmark said. “There were a lot of good defensive plays too.” Finally in the top of the 12th inning Hallmark stepped to the plate and delivered a single to potentially end the game. “They had just walked the guy in front of me so they could pitch to me,” Hallmark said. “I just waited to get a good pitch so I could hit it to the outfield and that’s what I did.” Midlothian swept all of the district teams except for the Mansfield Tigers. The Panthers have an average margin of victory this season of five. Impressive victories such as the 14-0 win over Grand Prairie and the ten to nothing “skunk” against Cedar Hill have only proved to Coach Hydes that this team is ready for playoffs. “I feel like we really hit our stride when district games began,” Hydes said. “This team is the same group of guys as last year but they have had a year to mature. The players’ skills have really seasoned since last year.” The Panthers next opponent in the playoffs will be either Heritage High School or Hebron. No matter the opponent though, Hallmark thinks Midlothian can go far. “We can go as far as we want this year,” Hallmark said. “We have to keep working hard, stay within ourselves and play our game.”
Senior pitcher Jimmy Fouse throws a fastball down the pike to a Mansfield batter.
Softball accomplishes season goal Amanda Penwarden Co-Editer-in-Chief “Love the Panthers” are the words Head Softball Coach Alex Lozoya uses to describe the Lady Panthers’ Softball team. At the beginning of the season, the teams goals were to compete against the best in state, win a district championship and finish the season with 20 wins. “The non-district part of our season was a success as we not only competed against the best the state had to offer but had some impressive victories including wins over 2013 5A State Finalist Kingwood and 2013 State Champion Lewisville,” Lozoya said. “Our postseason goal is still alive as far as going beyond round one and having a strong finish to this season.” Injuries formed the main obstacle for the team this year, setting them back from achieving their goal of a district title. “Considering all the injuries this year, I feel the team did well,” softball mom Emily Markham said. “The starting pitcher was out with an injury most of this season. A car accident involving three of our starters set the team back a couple games, but thankfully there were no serious injuries.” In spite of unforeseen setbacks, the rest of the varsity team stepped up to keep the season alive. “Juniors Carley Haizlip and Rachel Jones have been steady in the top of the line up along with senior Katie Daniel,” Lozoya said. “Sophomore Destiny
Rogers has stepped in and has done a marvelous job filling in a hole left by a senior at second base. She’s quietly becoming a defensive standout in the district. “Freshman Georgia Cappell has also stepped in and done a great job behind the plate for us as a catcher. While catching isn’t her primary position, Cappell is a tremendous team player and is expected to grow and provide leadership for years to come.” In addition, several sophomores and freshmen on junior varsity showed what they could do. “The standouts this year were freshmen Emari Hudson and Taylor Horton,” Lozoya said. “Their ability to pitch strikes gave their team a chance, kept them in many games and helped them win many as well. “Freshman Sierra Sullivan did a good job behind the plate and sophomores Infinity Rogers and Aaliyah Johnson grew from last year.” Lozoya says he is looking forward to seeing his juniors and sophomores grow into leaders. Similarly, he would like to see his Varsity underclassmen continue to excel. “Our underclassmen are learning that they don’t have to wait for their turn,” Lozoya said. “If it’s there, take it.” Not only are the players learning how to grow in their skills and experience in the game, but also in their day to day lives. “Athletics is a reflection of life,” Lozoya said. “It’s not always how you start, it’s how you finish. This team has learned that you can’t assume things are
Courtesy of Emily Markham The softball team huddles up to discuss their game. The team has overcome many setbacks this season and achieved personal goals.
the way they are. They’ve learned to always stay sharp because you never know when you’ll be required to stand out.” “Our upperclassmen are learning that things can change quickly and to appreciate the moments.” Softball has taught players how to handle themselves when the game or life gets tough. Markham believes these life lessons are learned in any team environment. “My girls are encouraged to work hard, and as a team. In life they’ll have to do the same,” Markham said. “They’ve also learned that things aren’t always easy and don’t always go how they want them to, but they pick their heads up, rely on God and move
on. It is the same in life. There are good days and there are bad days, but it is up to them to make the most of both good and bad, so that they can grow to be all they were meant to be.” Behind the comradery apparent on the field lies relationships that have been forming for years. This is especially true with senior Katie Daniel. “This year’s season is really special because most of the girls on the field we’ve played with since we were eight-years-old and we have an experience and a trust that comes from just playing with each other,” Daniel said. While some players will be moving on to college next year, competing against the
best in state, obtaining a district championship and 20 wins are the goals Lozoya expects his team to recognize in the years to come. “A coach would like to always leave with the feeling that both teams gave it their all,” Lozoya said. “I believe both teams have this season. We had moments this year in which we were heavy underdogs and the girls pushed through to come out with a victory. “There were others in which the team gave it everything they had but didn’t get the result we worked for. No matter the result, they went out and competed hard.”
Published on May 20, 2014