Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

April 18, 2013

Spring Fever: Seniors lead Bobcats from doldrums to Top 10

KERENS — Ask them. Go ahead. Ask the seniors on the state’s ninth-ranked baseball team what kind of town they live in.

“People think of us more as a basketball town,” DJ Kamp said.

“Used to be a football town,” Michael Kline chimed in.

Said Ian Salas, a transfer this year from Ennis, “When I moved here, it was basketball this, basketball that.”

Yeah, maybe. It’s warranted. Kamp, Kline and Salas are three of five seniors who have Kerens fans talking baseball, flocking to the field to watch a team that won a single game four years ago but has already clinched a third straight playoff season. At 14-3, the Bobcats are ranked No. 9 in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association’s latest poll released Thursday.

They were No. 7 until Tuesday, when they suffered a tough 3-2 loss to Martin’s Mill. Nevertheless, the Bobcats are still in the midst of one of the program’s finest seasons.

“I think (the loss) was good for the team,” senior left fielder Kevin Townsell said. “We know we’re not invincible.”

If anyone on the team knows about understanding what it takes to win big games, it’s Townsell, one of three basketball players that also plays baseball. Why is Kerens a basketball town? Last year’s run to the state tournament helped, and the Bobcats have dominated the area scene, winning seven straight Kiwanis Classic championships.

But to say it’s a basketball town is selling it short, head coach Jayson Engel said.

“Kerens is just a competitive town,” Engel said. “Throw something out there, and we’ll compete.”

This is the third year in a row all of the boys sports have qualified for the playoffs, Engel said. Three years ago, every sports team in the school did.

But you can’t go back four years, to the 2010 season.

“We won one game all year,” Engel said.

The Bobcats were 2A at the time, and in a district with Mildred, Sunnyvale and Edgewood, or in other words, baseball heavyweights.

Credit for the turnaround can be found in a number of areas. Engel said he considers third-year assistant coach Brady Tyson his equal, a 50/50 deal. Engel no longer has to handle every aspect of the program.

“He’s a major part of the turnaround,” Engel said.

Salas insisted Engel shouldn’t be sold short. When the team loses focus, he’s the one who sharpens it.

Engel and Tyson preach process over outcome, the players said. Do the right things, and let the results speak for themselves.

It has.

The pitching is better. The defense better. The team is looser. Chemistry is great. The work ethic is there, led by the seniors, Engel said.

“For me, this is the most complete team I have ever played on,” said Kamp, the team’s second-leading hitter and last year’s district defensive player of the year.

The pitching actually starts with a junior, Brett Anderson, who is 5-1 with a 1.28 ERA. He was on the mound March 26 when Kerens beat then-fourth-ranked Cayuga, 2-1. Sophomore Zach Duncan (2-0) and Kline (3-1) are considered No. 2s.

Defensively, the Bobcats are light-years ahead of 2010.

“Before, we’d be happy to be under five errors,” Engel said. “Now, we shoot for two or less.”

“We used to make one error,” Kline said, “and it turned into three or four.”

Last year, the team’s fifth senior, Dylan Woods, was the third baseman until his brother DJ, who graduated, was the Bobcats catcher. But DJ was hurt, and Dylan took his place.

“Once he became our catcher, our team became better,” Engel said. “He’s so good back there.”

The Bobcats have a non-district game Friday at home, a place suddenly fun to play. In 2010, you might have parents only at the games, Kamp said. Now, the students have to sit in the visitor’s stands to accommodate everyone, Kline said.

“It’s nice to always have full stands,” Woods said.

It’s also nice to have a road following, and to be playing in meaningful games this late in the year. Hopefully, there will be a good trail of green and white supporters on 287 next week, Engel said, when the Bobcats travel to Cayuga for the district title.

Both are 11-1 in district.

A district championship would be icing on the regular season cake.

“This has been an unbelievable year,” Kamp said. “Coach Tyson is always telling me, ‘Let’s make this and unbelievable year.’”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup

    Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second

    April 17, 2014

  • GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road

    Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 4-18-14Roman.jpg CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams

    That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
    Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16-14Amessigns.jpg GC Basketball; Kerens' Ames signs with Cloud (Kan.) Community College

    There's nothing quite like signing day, and Taylor Ames was all smiles and beaming about her future Wednesday when she signed a letter-of-intent, accepting a basketball scholarship to Cloud County Community College in Kansas in front of family, friends and coaches at Kerens, where Ames leaves a legacy like no other.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16-14NVSBMoerbe slides.jpg Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris

    Minutes after Navarro split a doubleheader with Paris on Wednesday, Navarro softball Coach Jessica Karenke was told her Bulldogs had just been nationally ranked and are now No. 16 in the NJCAA national softball poll.
    She had no idea.
    And she didn't care.
    Karenke is worried about what happens on the diamond, and she had some concerns after Navarro made four errors in the second game that opened the door for Paris to pull off a 7-2 win after the Bulldogs and Ciara Luna controlled the first game with a 4-1 win.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CallieDevinFCA.jpg GC: Mildred's O'Sullivan and Bland chosen to play in FCA All-Star games

    Mildred’s Devin O’Sullivan and Callie Bland have been selected to play in the FCA’s All-Star games on June 1.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-115-14CHSBBMinniear.jpg CHS Baseball: Lindale haunts Tigers again with critical 4-0 win

    Lindale has been poison to Corsicana all year.
    The Eagles won a bizarre game in Lindale to keep the Tigers out of the football playoffs and ruined the boys basketball season with two gut-wrenching wins in the final week of the season.
    They did it again Tuesday, beating the Tigers 4-0 at Price Field to take over second place in the District 16-4A race.
    Lindale (6-2) had one big inning to hand Corsicana (5-3) its second loss in a row.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • I4-15-14Kellysigns.jpg GC Volleyball: Kerens' Kelly signs with Paris Junior College

    She prayed about it. She lost sleep about it. And she prayed about it some more.
    That's just a glimpse of what Marqueshia Kelly went through before deciding to turn down a half dozen basketball scholarships and accept a scholarship to play volleyball at Paris Junior College.
    The journey might have been a little sleepless, but in the end it wasn't that tough for Kelly, who is a multi-sport star at Kerens.
    “I followed my heart,'' she said on Tuesday just moments after signing a letter-of-intent to play volleyball at Paris in front of family, coaches and friends.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • CHS Tennis: Tigers play well in powerhouse region

    Corsicana's tennis team finished its season with a  strong showing in the Class 4A Regional Tournament at UT-Arlington before falling to some powerhouse players from Dallas.

    April 15, 2014

  • GC Baseball/Softball: Roundup -- Blooming Grove edges Mildred 1-0 (Adds Dawson-Hubbard baseball)

    Blooming Grove kept its baseball playoff hopes alive, winning a pitcher’s duel, 1-0, in Mildred Tuesday night. Dalton Blake struck out 11 and scattered five hits in a well-pitched game that took an hour and a half to complete.

    April 15, 2014