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=n |I Hmii WI J.UNKDH.' ,IIII IJ n lil r Section B HaysFreePress.com i , : ~?, . ERS OF THE Outstanding educators honored at Hays Education Foundation luncheon. May 18, 2011 Page 1B BY JASON GORDON freepresssports@yahoo.com TLmes have never been better in the history of the Lehman baseball program. After several lean years shortly after the school opened, the trend has cer- of baseball," Robinson said. "We play Martinez (.340 average, 25 runs scored),, high-level tournaments, like at Dal- and outfielders Jacob Urea (.325 aver- las Jesuit, to get exposure outside of age) andAaronSheclder (.350average). the area, I really encourage our kids to "Next year should be our best year," play summer ball and more and more Robinson said. "We have 11 guys com- of them have been doing that. We're in~ back. Some experienced the play- definitely getting stronger as a pro- 0ffs both years. Those two playofflosses gram. Things are really starting to come lit a fire under them. Since the Monday tainly been shooting skyward of late. around. It's a fun time to be a Lehman we got back from the Champion series Three seasons ago, the Lobos missed baseball player." they got in there and started working." the playoffs on the final day of the sea- The fun may just be beginning. Robinson added that seeing how a son, but in each of the past two years Lehman loses only three seniors off state championship team like Bren- Lehman has clinched a postseason its 2011 team - ]oey Hemandez, Chris ham, which is currently ranked No. 1 berth in its final game. Tello and Braxton Rico. in Class 4A this season, performed, and Despite the fact the Lobes ran into Returning will be All-Everything two absolute juggernauts in the open- shortstop/pitcher Nick Cerda, who led ing round in 2010 and 2011 - eventual Central Texfis with 10 home runs and state champion Brenham and Boeme was second with 47 runs batted in while Champion, a team that boasted a start- batting .449, ]ustinVajgert, who was 8-2 ing lineup in which nearly every player on the mound- including 4-1 in district batted over .400 - Lehman head coach play- and batted .389, third baseman/ Toby Robinson said there's never been pitcher/catcher Hunter Lehman (.333 a better time to be a Lobe baseball play- wond I a man tandem er. of Xavier Solis and D] Trejo, pitcher/first "My goal has always been to get the baseman ]ustin Penney, who was a solid kids geared toward playing a high level contributor as a freshman, catcher Rudy seeing squads like Boeme Champion and Smithson Valley this season, both of which captured district dries and are still alive in the playoffs, helped his young team. "The playoffs were a great experi- ence," Robinson said. "We got to see what you can become when you put in the tim and work hard. We want the Lehman baseball program to get to that same level where we're competing for championship rings" PHOTO BY JUDY I Nick Cerda will be one of many reasons the Lehman baseball team should be in prime position [or ~s best season ever in 2012. Cerda led Central Texas with 10 homers this season, while batting .449 and collect- ing 47 runs batted in. rivalry heats up in 2010-11 BETWEEN THE UNES Many exciting things happened in the Hays CISD athletic world during the 2010-11 school year and in the next few weeks I pick the top individual and team moments that occurred at both Hays and Lehman be- tween last fall ~ ~,~i~l;JOlh But the one thing I will remember most that happened on the field during this unique 2010-11 campaign is the Hays- Lehman rivalry officially began. ll BY JASON GORDON freepresssports@yahoo.com t wasn t quite as bad as an impossible-to-kill man wearing a white hockey mask chasing the Hays pole- vaulters around Myers sta- dium, but it was certainly an unlucky Friday the 13'h for the Rebels at the Class 4A UIL State Track and Field Meet. First, 2010 Class 4A state silver medalist Chaney Tur- f:failed to,lear her opening " eight of t0:feet, 6-inches and was immediately eliminated from the competition. Theli f~llow Rebel and medal favorite ~eredith Driskell had a pole snap in two while at- tempting to clear 12 feet. .Siae would go on to clear 12 feet on a later jump, but the clearly shaken Driskell missed her next three attempts at 12:6 and finished fifth in the com- petition. )Hays senior Daryl Burrell, who cleared 16 feet in setting a Rebel boys record at the Texas Relays in April, topped out at 15 feet later that evening and also finished fifth. "I've never broken a pole be- fore in my life," Driskell said. "I actually didn't realize that's what happened. The sound was so loud I thought it was one of the starters firing blanks to start one of the other races. It wasn't See STATE MEET, pg. 2B PHOTO BY CYNDY r~.OVAK-B.~ffON Heading into the Class 4A UIL State Track and Field Meet at Myers Stadium Hays High had three pole-vaulters with gold medal aspirations. But Friday the 13th proved to be unlucky for Chancy Tumey, Meredith Driskell and Dalryl Burrell, as all three failed to reach the medal stand. Turney (Rioe University) and Bun'ell (LIT-Arlington) will continue their vaulting careers at the collegiate level next season, while Ddskell '(here clearing the 12-foot mark) will have one more shot at state gold as a senior in 2012. BY JASON GORDON freepresssports@yahoo.com Although the Hays baseball team fell short of its goal of winning a fifth straight district tide, Rebel head coach Doug Ragsdale couldn't have been more proud of his players. "It wasn't like in 2009 when we had all that offense, or last season when we had proven pitchers coming back," Ragsdale said. "We had a lot of unan- swered questions. We had guys who didn't have much varsity experience at all that had to prove themselves and that's what they did time and time again this season." In a much tougher district than the Rebels competed in the past two sea- sons, Hays managed to fight its way to second place in the final 27-4_4 stand- ings despite being swept by cross-town rival Lehman. "There were a couple of times when we really could have hung our heads and felt sorry for ourselves, but we never did that," Ragsdale said. "We did whatever we had to do to win. I could go up and down the lineup and pick out guys that at different times this season got the key hit or made the key defensive play to win a ballgame." Ragsdale pointed out several par- ticularly clutch performances like Matt Casas shutting down both No. 6 Smithson Valley and Alamo Heights in crucial district games, Stefen Na- varro coming up with a critical home run against Clemens in a key victory, Reuben Miller and Masen Gully's hot hitting at the beginning of the district season and Nick Cavazos' ability to step into the closer's role. Hays' season came to an end with a 19-11 record after a one-game playoff series loss to Uvalde in the bi-district round. "We really developed into a true team and I was real proud of these guys. They just kept coming back," he said. "I think our team was built for a best-of-three playoff series and when we lost the flip to make it a one garner it was tough. Uvalde's pitcher was re- ally on that night and that's what can happen in a one-game series. I think it would have been a different story in a best-of-three." Ragsdale is already looking forward to the 2012 campaign. Hays' junior varsity went 21-7 this season and finished second in district, and the freshman team was 22-2-2 and captured the district tide. Hays will also have several return- ing pitchers - Trevor Ragsdale, Char- lie Johnson, Anthony Valdez, Thomas Shannon, Seth Underwood and Mason Cervenka - who all saw action on the mound at the varsity level this season. That group combined for a 9-2 re- cord in 2011. "We can throw six or seven arms out there next season who all have dou- ble-digit innings under their belt at the varsity level," Coach Ragsdale said. "That's a luxury we haven't had in a PHOTO BY JASON GORDON (I-r) Mason Cervenka, Granger Studcdard and Trevor Ragsdale got plenty of varsity experi- ence in 2011. They will be counted (on heavily as veterans next season as the Rebels look to make another drive to the postse,,ason. The Rebs finished second in District 27-4A this year, but were ousted by Uvalde in ~a one-game playoff in the bi-district round. long time. Most of them got to ssee ac- outfielder and Aaron Martinets will be tion in district as well as non-dllstrict, a returning infielder for the Rehs. ~- and being in pressure situatioms like tonio Oliva handles most of the catch- that will really pay off." ing duties, while Colten OdeU and Mi- Trevor Ragsdale, Valdez and C~erven- chael Pieprzica Hill be utility players ka are also returners that will sere time that should be fully recovered from in the outfield next season. Granger injuries that hampered their progress Studdard will be a retuming infiielder/ in 2011. Recenriy-retired longtime Hays athletic director Bob Shel- ton once said, and Lehman ath- letic director Steve Davisagreed, that although the Lobos and Rebels were obviously natural rivals because they were in such close proximity, it wouldn't be- gin to be a true rivalry between the two schools until the Lobes started to be competitive with the Rebels on a regular basis on the playing field. Well, 2010-11 was certainly the year Lehman showed it wasn't going to play second fiddle to the Rebs anymore, wasn't it? After several years of being beaten by Hays in football by lopsided margins the Lobes held a halftime lead on the Rebels at Shelton Stadium be- fore the Rebs rallied for a 28-14 victory. The Lobo softball team recorded its first-ever victory over Hays and the baseball : teamdid even better, - ing the Rebels in dramatic fashion for its first two victo- ties in school history over the Rebs in the sport. Yes, despite the fact it took six years, the rivalry between Hays and Lehman high schools is otficially on Being a Hays graduate many years ago, I will probably always be accused of being a Rebel supporter when I cover games between the two schools. In actually, I think it's very exciting that Hays and Lehman are getting closer and closer from a competitive standpoint in almost every sport. Lehman is finally almost equal to Haysin attendance fig- ures, and that means the Lobes aren't fighting the uphill battle they were when they opened six years ago with far fewer Lehman tennis coach Or- lando De La Fuente has built a program that has athletes con- tending for the state tourna- ment year in and year out. Lobo soccer and cross- country coach Jay Sansom, a former Rebel assistant coach, has guided his programs to the postseason multiple times. Lehman baseball coach Toby Robinson has led his Lobes to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, and Lehman boys track and field coach Michael hiL,.Laney has perennially seen s athletes compete at the re- gional level and had one runner even make the state meet over the last few years. It seems to this scribe that Hays and Lehman are pretty close to being equals in most sports now. There will be few easy victo- ries on either side in any sport from here on out and those who remember the fierce Buda versus I(yle high school rivalry that began in the early part of the last century Hill once again be rewarded with competitive games nearly every time they attend a Hays- Lehman contest. The Lobe-Rebel rivalry is get- ring stronger from a competi- tive and fan base standpoint day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. I for one am excited and proud of the many Lehman programs ~m'nave steaalW grown into playoff contenders. The future should be bright for both the Lobes and Rebels, and I'm looking forward to many thrilling games between the two schools in the years to come.