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May 3, 2017     Hays Free Press
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Page 2B Sports Hays Free Press May 3, 2017 Hays High School Rebel Baseball standout Cole Irby, a three-year varsity starter for the Rebs as catcher, signed his collegiate Letter of Intent to play ball for Texas Lutheran Univer- sity. Flanked by his mom, Allison Irby, and his dad, Bill Irby, Cole inked his letter to the applause of his friends, teammates, and family. Coach James Howard explained Cole's contribution to the team: 2016 2nd-Team All- District with a .320 batting average. On the cusp of the Rebs' entry into the 2017 playoffs, he's sporting a .391 average, with 27 hits and 15 RBIs. Howard said, "As good as Cole's stats are, he has an even big- ger impact as a defensive catcher ... with a strong arm and he calls a great game behind the plate. He is like hav- ing another coach on the field and his baseball IQ is through the roof." PHOTO BYJIMCULLEN Rebel Football: Spring is in the air Continued from pg. 1B played well so far, LaHue on defense, Jason Eddie- seen the varsity field," film study, is how LaHue said. Having Brawith and man, Sam Guzman and LaHue said. "We've gothopes to curb that issue. Conley gain varsity expe- Dom Johnson are a hand- a good nucleus of guys"The first three days, rience will help early on. ful of players on the front coming back." they're excited, it's spring. "We still have to work seven who have made anBut also ensuring the But then they say, 'what on fundmentais, but I impact. In the secondary, players don't burn outare we working for?,'" feel those those two se- LaHue said he's been im- before the end of spring LaHue said. "You have niors have much to gain," pressed with the corner practices is also a priority to remind them we're LaHue said. play of Blaze Thomas and for LaHue. trying to get better as a Pat Guerrero and Nate Hector Fuentes. A shift to three practic- team and better at our Tate showed progress so "We feel good now. es per week, with one day techniques and funda- far during spring, while We've got guys who have of weight training andmentals." Rebel Softball: Takes down Madison, advances Continued from pg. 1B and don't get panicked Hays carried momen- Cone attributed Val- Hays now prepares for and don't get stressed,'" tum into Game 2 with dez's success to overcom- Brennan, which finished Cone said. "I knew they the Rebels getting off to a ing first-round nerves, second in 28-6A, amid a were going to rise to the quick 3-0 start in the third Valdez's ability to adjust week where STAAR test- occasion, so it calmed us inning, to Madison batters also ing will take precedence. down." After Madison coun- played a factor in herFor Cone, having many of Valdez, who reentered tered with a run in the success, her younger players get the game, forced a double bottom half of the third "If it's a certain pitch, their first taste of playoff play to end the Maverick inning, the Rebels gained we'll leave it and we'll softball was beneficial. threat, separation via a three-run work on it later. Some- 'Tkll of this is going Hays returned the favor fourth inning, times it's not thinking to help us in the next in the sixth inning by From there, Vaidez putabout it for a while and series," Cone said. "I feel scoring three runs to ce- a stopper on the Madison letting the muscle memo- confident we'll play as ment the win, highlighted offense, limiting Madison ry take over," Cone said. "I ourselves from the get-go by a two-run RBI double to only two runs and two think having this behind and not have as many from Illyana Cisneros. hits the rest of the way. us will help us along." issues." All-State: Setting a New Year's resolution led the way ,Continued from pg. 1B Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in downtown Buda across from Garcia's restaurant Tuesdays, 3-7 p.m. at Gray Gardens, 767 Main Street Growers, Farmers and Vendors reserve your spot today! Check the website for details. w UD ERSRUUU ' J Special Female SAT., M.A,Y 6 Replacement Sale @NOON Coil Josh 830-623-2855 1918 Hwy 80, Karnes Cily, IX Thyme d~il~ .& ~2~ ~ '!~ ~:;? ~ .~-~...-,,. ~--~ .,~: ~-, ,.-~.r -.~ ~.-.--~...~ --~..,;~., Texas Association of Soccer Coaches (TASCA) 6A soccer All-State team, becoming the first Lobo gifts soccer player to receive the honor. For Erwin, her success was forged early on when she was introduced to the beautiful game. Growing up, basket- ball was Erwin's sport of choice. In fact, it wasn't until her dad, Warren Erwin, who is a huge soc- cer fan, encouraged her to try the new sport. From there, Erwin fell in love with soccer. In her first few years, Erwin said she basically played every position, except goalkeeper. Then, in her eighth- grade season, Erwin was volunteered by her coach to play goalkeeper after the starter was injured. Erwin never changed positions after that. A person that also fell in love with Erwin at her new position was Nauri Garcia, Lehman head girls soccer coach. Garcia saw Erwin play- ing as an eighth grader and said he immediately noticed her natural cat- like reflexes. "I knew I found my starter for the next four years," Garcia said. It was Erwin's work ethic that made an impression with Garcia. He said she was a "dream come true" kind of athlete who strived to improve. "I meet outstanding athletes all the time," Gar- cia said. "What separates Maya is that no matter how good she's play- ing, or how much she's being recognized for her accomplishments, she still wants more and will continue to work for not just her own goals, but to better the team every day." Erwin's relentless hard work did not go unno- ticed. In her freshman , season, Erwin won newcomer of the year for the 4A district Lehman competed in. During her sophomore PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III "Even when we had a down season, as a goal keeper you can't stop saving goals ... You can't stop putting in the work because you have 10 other people that are depending on you, as well as you on them." -Maya Erwin, Lobo goalkeeper year, when Lehman jumped to 6A, Erwin also made the leap from newcomer of the year to goalkeeper of the year. What made the goal- keeper award so unique was that coaches in 14-6A created the award for Erwin, based on her play on the field. Even after back-to- back years of improve- ment, Erwin had self- doubt on whether or not she would ever be able to achieve her NewYears' goal. 'After my sophomore year I thought to myself, 7kh it's not gonna happen, there are so many good goalkeepers in Texas'," said Erwin. Nevertheless, Erwin continued working hard, and in her junior cam- paign, helped the Lobos to a third place finish and a playoff berth, which garnered 14-6A most valuable player honors. Even still, Erwin was not satisfied with simply being the best player in her district. She wanted to achieve her goal as being the best goalkeeper in Texas. A change in district and working with a younger team didn't stop Erwin from generating 25-6A MVP honors this season. "I didn't even think I would win MVP this year," said Erwin. "Throughout the season my drive was for my teammates. Just having fun with them for those last couple games." As a result of her play this season, Erwin ac- complished her goal by being named second team All-State. "That's quite an honor," Erwin said. "It was an amazing feeling. I set a goal for myself, worked hard and I was actually able to achieve it. That's one of the best feelings of my high school career." Garcia said that what makes Erwin so special is her "attitude of gratitude." "She's very grateful for what she has," said Garcia. "Very respectful person. Very positive fam- ily that she comes from. She just has a great moral fiber. She works hard, she humbles herself and most importantly she never stops working hard. IfI had 11 Mayas, Lehman would be state champs." While generating ac- colades looks "good on a resume," Erwin said her priority has always been her teammates. "Even when we had a down season, as a goal keeper you can't stop saving goals," Erwin said. "You can't stop putting in the work because you have 10 other people that are depending on you, as well as you on them." Erwin's hard work doesn't stop when the scoreboard hits zero. Erwin garnered academic all-district honors all four years in high school. She was also recognized to the academic all-state team this season. Garcia names three senior captains every year. Erwin was a rare exception because she was a captain for both her junior and senior seasons. "You want a goal- keeper like Maya to be a captain for you," said Garcia. "She's in the back, she sees everything. She's gonna tell you what you need to know on the field, but she's also the type of person to tell you what you need to do to be better off the field as well." But self-doubts about competing at the next level led Erwin to get off to a late start in the recruiting process. Her parents inspired her to take on a new chal- lenge, and once again Erwin responded. Erwin will attend Aus- tin College in Sherman to continue her soccer career and join the pres- tigious pre-medical program at Austin. i i! ;I I !1 i iii