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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
March 3, 2010     Hays Free Press
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March 3, 2010

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Page 2B SIRlr$ Hays Free Press • March 3, 2010 Robinson primes Lobos for playoff push BY MARK CAUL Things are definitely looking up for Leh- man head baseball coach Toby Robinson and his varsity baseball squad in 2010. The second-year head coach has the Lobos pointed in the right direction and is out to make believers out of everybody else around the district. With a good blend of returning veterans and talented newcomers, the Lobos appear ready to make a serious playoffpush in Dis- trict 17-4A. The Lobos bid adieu to three key seniors who had been cornerstones of the Lehman baseball program for several seasons in Jacob Sendejo, KennyWeber and Jerry Escamilla. Weber led the team offensively in his last season while Sendejo shouldered the bulk of the pitching load for the Lobos. Escamil- la was the team's vocal leader and captain in 2009. Weber and Sendejo were both first-team all district picks last season. "It was hard to lose players of that caliber from our program because they were great leaders who made a big impact on our pro- gram while they were here," Robinson said. "This year's seniors know that they have big shoes to fill." Despite the significant personnel chang- es, Robinson believes his returning players have had time to adjust to his style of coach- ing and now he is ready to see the results on the field. "It was a big blow for us to go into the last game of the season with a chance to get into the playoffs and not be able to finish the deal," Robinson said. "The four or five core players that are coming back have set some goals for this season. We want to win a district championship and we want to make the playoffs and the kids have really worked hard to get themselves ready for this season. I'm relying on these seniors a lot this year." The talented senior trio of JP Flores, Tre PHOTO BY JUDY COOPER Justin Vajgert (pictured) will be one of the varsity newcomers hoping to help Lehman to its first- ever baseball playoff appearance this season. Abeita and Cesar Ornelas have all stepped into the leadership role vacated by Escamil- la and will strive for a chance to do what no other Lehman baseball team has ever done before - make the playoffs. Flores will begin the season as Lehman's top pitcher after logging valuable minutes behind Sendejo in 2009. The rest of the pitching stafflooks prom- ising with the return of two-year starter, senior Orlando Banda along with sopho- more hurlers Justin Vajgert and Nick Cerda. Abeita and Omelas will also see time on the mound. "JP will have to be our workhorse this season because he has so much experi- ence and he's a great student of the game," Robinson said. "He knows how to pitch ef- fectively under pressure and he is probably one of our fiercest competitors," Abeita and Ornelas will patrol an expe- rienced outfield when they aren't on the mound. While the pitching staff and outfield are loaded with veterans, the infield will be rel- atively young with junior Chris Tello at first, junior Max Solis at second, Cerda at short- stop andVajgert at third base. "Both Solis and Cerda both started last season but they are only entering their second year of varsity ball," said Robinson. "They both have a lot of talent and should be ready to build on what they did last sea- son. Tello and Vajgert are first-year varsity players. It will be interesting to see what those two guys can do." The Lobos 11 enter the season relatively inexperienced at catcher, with senior Gar- rett Miles and sophomore Rudy Martinez both locked in a highly contested battle for the starting nod. Robinson is also expecting a positive contribution from Joey Hemandez, anoth- er first-year varsity player who should see time in both the infield and outfield during the course of the season. "Garrett and Rudy will both get playing time at catcher, but right now the position is up for grabs," said Robinson. "Joey will basically be our tenth guy because he can play a variety of positions. That will be huge for us." Robinson has compiled a very competi- tive schedule that includes a trip to the Cop- peras Cove-kampasas Invitational to start the season along with a trip to the Austin ISD Invitational just before the start of the dis- trict season. Robinson hopes the demand- ing non-district slate will prepare them for what will be a grueling district schedule that includes Hays and San Marcos. Last season, the Lobos finished one game out of a possi- ble playoff berth, before losing to Manor on the final day of the regular season. "Our kryptonite in the past has been our lack of focus when we have had leads late in games;" Robinson said. "If we concentrate and cut down on our mistakes under pres- sure, I fully expect us to be in the mix for the district championship." Lehman will play at the Ingram Tourna- ment this weekend after a non-district road matchup with Austin Lanier. Hays Baseball: Tournament bound Continued from pg. 1B three strong innings on the mound from Shane Kelley and a Philip Abreo home run. In a 10-0 win over East Cen- tral, Sam Breyfogle had a no- hitter going with two outs in the seventh inning until a see- ing-eye single spoiled the bid. Still, Breyfogle struck out seven batters and needed only 62 pitches to record the shutout. "Sam was pounding the strike zone and moving the ball around real well," Rags- dale said. "We also played some very good defense be- hind him." Hays fell behind both its next two opponents by three nms in the first inning, ultimately losing to Ft. Worth Keller Cen- tral 5-2 despite a Trace Gandy home ran. The Rebels came back to tie Wagner thanks in part to Anthony Pesina's two hits and two stolen bases, leav- ing them 2-1-1 in their first tournament of the season. Breyfogle and Kelley will likely be Hays' two starting pitchers once district play be- gins at home March 16 against San Marcos High. Also in the pitching mix for the Rebs will be Nick Cavasos, Matt Casas, Rueben Miller and Dylan Salinas. Breyfogle and Salinas-will split time at first base, Miller and Casas will rotate at second base, Pesina will play short- stop, Kelley and Steffen Navar- ro are the Rebel third baseman and Justin Heath is Hays' start- ing catcher. In the outfield, Abreo, Gandy Cavasos and Shelby Sherman all see significant playing time. "I was very proud of what I saw out of this group at our first tournament," Ragsdale said. "We've always been a confident team that expects to win every time we play, and I don't think this year's team will be any different." Hays will be tested over the next two weeks, as the Rebels begin play in the Iudson Tour- nament on Thursday, and then play in the Austin ISD Touma- ment, beginning March 11. "We'll play eight Class 5A teams over the next two weeks," Ragsdale said. "It will be kind of like a baptism un- der fire for our players who don't have much experience on varsity, but it should be a great way to get them ready for district." Hays Softball: Aimingfor playoff Continued from pg. 1B think pitching will be one of our strengths, especially when Ruiz comes back." Already this season, Hays has lopsided wins over Blanco (12-0) andWhnberley (17-1). Against Wimberley, Opheim had three triples and Alvarez had two hits and three runs. This past weekend, after struggling early, Hays found its stride on Saturday to secure wins over Bay City and Galves- ton Ball in the Brazosport Tournament. "It's a good sign that" we're hitting well early," Farr said. "We had to make some adjust- ments to different style pitch- ing in Brazosport, but once we did we started swinging the bats well again. Those are the kind of things we're going to have to learn to do quicker once district starts." Hays will open district play on Friday night at 17-4A favor- ite Lockhart. "I have full confidence that we'll be in the playoffs again," Farr said. "We just have to stay consistent and positive, and I don't think that's going to be a problem for this team." PHOTO BYCYNDYSLOVAK-BARTON Lobo Relays Hays' Elizabeth Bracamontes and Lehman's Ayana Marslow battle it out during a race at the Lobo Relays over the weekend. Both the Lobos and Rebels fared well during the event• The Hays boys won both the boys varsity and JV team titles, with Lehman coming in second. On the girls' varsity side, Manor won the team title, Hays finished second and Lehman was third. Garz00 signs Lady Lobo standout guard Bri Garza is sur- rounded by her family, coaches and Lehman administrators as she signs to play at William Jewell College on Monday. PHOTO BY JOSH ALEMAN Hays-l00hman Soccer: Melee msul00 in elections Continued from pg. 1B from both squads. "I was just trying to make a play on the ball and Oscar just came out of nowhere and started swinging," Thornton said. "I wasn't trying to hurt anybody; we just wanted to send them a message that they weren't going to push us around anymore." Once order was restored, Martinez and Hays' lake Morri- son were both issuedred cards and ejected from the game as a result of the melee. Multiple yellow cards were issued to players from both teams, which didn't result in ejections. "I thought Parker was just try- ing to make an aggressive soc- cer play and Oscar (Martinez) took offense to it," Hays head coach Jason Bttrnett said. "I was really disappointed that Jake got red carded. The official said he came into the pile with his hands up. I thought he was just being a leader and trying to stop the fight before it got started." Lehman head coach Jay Sansom credited the Rebels on their two-game sweep of his Lobos in district play and felt Thornton'splay and the fight afterward set the tempo for the rest of the game. "That play definitely gave them some momentum because they had such a great fan base tonight," said Sansom. "They are avery good team and they came out and played an aggressive game. We just couldn't match their intensity." Thomton added a second goal for the Rebels with less than a minute remaining in the first half as he raced through a slew of Lobo defenders and launched a shot that found the left side of the net for a 2-0 halfrime advantage for Hays. Without Martinez, arguably their best player, the Lobos (who fell to 3-7 in 51-4A play) struggled to mount much of an offensive threat and with the loss were officially eliminated from playoff contention. "It will definitely be different not being out there coaching soccer during spring break," Sansom said. "But we dug our- selves a big hole with the losses to San Marcos and Seguin early on. Our district is so tough that you have to win as many games as you possibly can. The key for us now is to try and win our remaining games on the schedule and finish as high as we possibly can." The Rebels (7-3 in 511- 4A), will move on and ttry to strengthen their grasp ,on a playoff spot with games against district unbeaten Dripping Springs, as well as San ]Marcos, Seguin and Canyon High-all of which are fighting for one of the district's four postseason berths. "We still have a lot lft to play for over these last four ,district games," Bumett said. "We played the best game out of ev- erybody in our district against Dripping Springs (a 1-0 loss) so I believe we have a really good shot at beating them. This team is focused and we are playing our best soccer right now." ROBERT AVERA ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AVERA Law Firm, PLLC 5500 FM 2770 Kyle, Texas 78640 office (512) 615-3578 fax (512) 615-3583 == .................................................... 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