VAN WADE: Gut-punch softball loss, jaw-dropping baseball win highlight spectacular stretch

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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It was a dramatic week on the diamond for a pair of Orange County teams.

Unfortunately, one of them fell in a tight three-game series, while the other avoided a three-game ordeal with an amazing turn of events.

The Bridge City Lady Cardinals softball team gave defending Class 4A state champion Liberty all it could handle before coming up just short Saturday at Goose Creek Memorial in the 4A Region III Quarterfinals.

The Lady Cardinals, who went perfect through District 22-4A play with a 12-0 mark, were never intimidated by the Lady Panthers, who had several players back from the state title team.

Bridge City sophomore ace Carson Fall mowed down the Lady Panthers, and Bridge City got timely hitting to take Game One 4-0. The Lady Panthers responded with a 4-0 shutout of its own in Game Two behind pitcher Kamdyn Chandler.

That set the stage for a superb Game Three.

The Lady Cardinals looked as if they had it in their grasp after scratching in a run in the third inning. Through six innings, Fall had another shutout going and the Lady Cardinals played superb defense behind her.

However, the Lady Panthers would answer with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, picking up three hits and scoring on a wild pitch and a dropped fly ball.

It marked the end of a great season for the Lady Cardinals and Coach Raven Harris. Bridge City lost a few key seniors but the cupboard is far from bare.

They have Fall back on the mound for two more years and most of their starting lineup. Don’t be surprised to see Bridge City and Liberty battling again in the same round next year.

Orangefield’s Kolbie Sowell is greeted by coach Tim Erickson after he hit a home run against Bridge City earlier this season. (Van Wade/Orange Leader)

In baseball, the Orangefield Bobcats captured their 4A Area Round playoff series against Navasota, but not without some heroics in Game Two.

The Bobcats crushed the Rattlers in Game One, winning 12-1 in six innings in a run-rule game after getting 13 hits while Navasota committed five errors.

In Game Two, though, the Rattlers just didn’t go away.

The Bobcats looked comfortable, leading 3-1 heading into the sixth. However, the Rattlers exploded for five runs in the top of the sixth to snare a 6-3 lead as it looked like they would force a Game Three.

But as the great Lee Corso on ESPN College Football Gameday would say, “Not so fast, my friends.”

Orangefield rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh. With timely hits, the Bobcats trimmed it to 6-5, and Kolbie Sowell ended it with a two-out, three-run home run bomb as the 22-4A champion Bobcats moved on and Navasota was left shocked.

This week the Bobcats look to continue their stout journey when they take on Livingston in the Regional Quarterfinals in a three-game series.

Track season wrapped up for two outstanding athletes at the State Meet.

Bridge City’s Caryss Carpenter wrapped up a great run as a trackster for the Lady Cardinals, placing fourth in the high jump and sixth in the 100-meter hurdles at the State Meet. (photo courtesy of BC Track)

Bridge City Lady Cardinals senior Caryss Carpenter notched a fourth-place finish in the high jump and a sixth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles.

Carpenter has proved to be one of the best female athletes in Orange County ever since her freshman year.

Now she will move on to compete for Sam Houston State University in the fall. The Lady Bearkats track program is definitely getting a gem.

Orangefield senior Hunter Ashworth represented the Bobcats at the 4A Region III Track & Field Championships. (Van Wade/Orange Leader)

Orangefield senior Hunter Ashworth placed sixth in the boys shot put.

Ashworth had a tremendous journey, improving every week during the track season. He heaved the shot 50 feet, 10 ¼ inches at State, making it his personal-best.

Ashworth, such a tremendous leader for the entire Orangefield sports program, will now look forward to honing his football talents at Mary Hardin Baylor in the fall.

Mary Hardin Baylor is the defending NCAA Division III National Champions.

Van Wade is the sports editor for the Orange Leader. He can be reached at