New softball district assignment benefits Fayette, thins out districts

I’ve had a week to think about this, but I think it’s safe to say Fayette was very pleased to see its new softball district assignment for the next two years.

I know what you’re thinking. Why on earth would the Lady Falcons be happy they are joining a district with a team (New Franklin) that just went to the state semifinals a year ago? Don’t worry, I have some answers to your question.

  • Fayette gets to play closer to home in the postseason, for a change. This will be my sixth fall in Fayette, and of the previous five years, Fayette has played districts at Higginsville four times. The one time Fayette didn’t go to Higginsville, they actually got to host districts, back in 2010. The Lady Falcons will play districts at New Franklin this fall and then play host at districts in 2015. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that I don’t have to travel to Higginsville for districts anymore. I’m perfectly fine with a 25-minute round trip to New Franklin.
  • Last year, Fayette won its first district softball game since 1995. Now granted, Fayette was a Class 1 school during the first half of that drought, but they were always stuck in a loaded district against a Westran team that seemed to win a state title every other year. When Fayette bumped up to Class 2, snapping that streak became even more difficult. Taking a look at the District 9 teams, I can see Fayette receiving a seed among the top-four teams, putting the Lady Falcons in line for winning at least one district game again this year.
  • The timing is perfect for Fayette to drop a class, because this could be one of the most talented Fayette teams I’ve seen in my six years at Fayette. Losing Kenzie Smentkowski and Minari Hirokawa are going to be huge, but Fayette still returns a lot of talent for 2014. Add to that the fact that most teams in the area lost an impressive senior class, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fayette win 10-plus games this fall.

Those a just a few reasons. If you didn’t already know, Fayette will be joined in Class 1 District 9 by Glasgow, Jamestown, New Franklin, Pilot Grove and Prairie Home. All but Pilot Grove are already on Fayette’s schedule, and the Lady Falcons could face the Lady Tigers in the Fayette Tournament.

For those who are curious, I did look up to see where the cut-off was between Class 1 and Class 2 for fall softball. To preface this, the only reason Fayette dropped to Class 1 is because a large number of smaller schools have switched over to spring softball for the next two seasons, causing a major shift in the cut-off lines between classes in fall softball. In the spring, MSHSAA released Fayette’s high school enrollment at 185 students. According to my research, Fayette is the third-largest school in Class 1 for fall softball. The only schools bigger than Fayette in Class 1 are Schuyler County (186) and Chaffee (188).

Let’s take a recap of what schools gained from district reassignment, and which ones did not.

Winners: Fayette, Glasgow

We’ve already mentioned why Fayette is a winner. I consider Glasgow to be a winner too, although the Lady Jackets would have LOVED this district setup a year ago as well. Glasgow was stuck in a district with Westran, Salisbury and Cairo for the past two years. All three teams were capable of at least reaching the state quarterfinals, if not further. And Westran did make it to the state championship game last year. I think it’s safe to say Glasgow’s new district isn’t quite as tough as that one. Still, powerhouses like New Franklin and Pilot Grove make this a tough district, but Glasgow’s odds look better in terms of competition than they have the past two years.

Not winners: Harrisburg

I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to use the antonym of “winners” to classify this category, so that’s why I went with “not winners”. Anyhow, the only reason I say that Harrisburg falls into this category is because it’s going to be difficult for the Lady Bulldogs to reach the district championship game this fall, something they have done in each of the past four seasons. The reason for that is now Harrisburg falls into the same district as Cairo and Sturgeon (as well as Higbee, Madison and Paris), two teams that appear to be destined for the top-two seeds. That being said, this is pretty much what Harrisburg had to overcome three and four years ago to win district titles, so why not make it more of a challenge?

Draw: New Franklin, Higbee

Both these teams are probably indifferent with their district assignments, because it’s not much different from what they’ve encountered the past two seasons. New Franklin, however, is probably a little ecstatic to see Harrisburg leave its district. Higbee goes from one district full of powerhouses (Cairo, Salisbury, Westran) to another (Cairo, Harrisburg, Sturgeon).

Posted in Fayette High School softball, Glasgow sports, Harrisburg sports, Higbee sports, New Franklin sports | Leave a comment

Tournaments galore to start the 2014 softball season

Maybe MSHSAA sent out an alert to high school softball coaches, saying they must play in a tournament to start the 2014 fall season. Or at least it comes off that way in my neck of the woods.

All five high schools — Fayette, New Franklin, Glasgow, Harrisburg and Higbee — begin their softball seasons this weekend via tournament play. After three weeks of practice, I think coaches are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping rain doesn’t pass through Mid-Missouri on Saturday, allowing their teams to get in 2-3 games.

Well, this blog post is your one-stop central post for all of the tournament action for schools in the Howard County coverage area. Let’s take it one bracket at a time, starting with Fayette.

2014MarshallTournamentBracketFayette participated in the Prairie Home Tournament last season, but the Lady Falcons got out of that for Marshall. Had Fayette remained in Class 2, this was a great tournament, because Slater is the only school in this tournament smaller than Fayette. The downside now is Fayette opens the tournament against a team already on its schedule. That being said, Fayette stands a really good chance of bringing home a trophy in this tournament and gets to play in an 8-team tournament (The Prairie Home Tournament only had four teams and the Fayette Tournament only fields six teams).

 

HomeTourneyBracket_7thPlaceGame_PDFNot the most favorable of first-round draws for New Franklin, but if you’re gonna beat one of the top-two teams in a tournament, you might as well do it early. This will be an interesting test for the Lady Bulldogs, who lost three All-State players from a year ago, but return plenty of talented starters and replacements. Last year, New Franklin came in third and Pilot Grove took second behind Boonville, so don’t rule out the small schools in this tournament.

 

2014BrunswickSoftballTournamentFayette graduate Ashanti Williams will make her high school softball head coaching debut at Tina-Avalon against Glasgow  on Saturday. The Lady Jackets graduated their All-Conference, All-District and All-Region battery pairing from last season, but this first-round game should be a pretty good matchup. This used to be an eight-team tournament, but Keytesville dropped out and started its own tournament. More on that in a minute.

 

2014HallsvilleTournamentIf I remember correctly, it actually did rain last year during the Hallsville Tournament, and Harrisburg was only able to play one game before the storms came. Harrisburg, the No. 7 seed in this year’s tournament, picked up a pretty tough draw with Sturgeon, and both teams will be in the same district this season. I’ll be curious to see which team comes out on top of this bracket.

 

2014KeytesvilleSoftballTournamentThe Keytesville Tournament — as I had prefaced earlier — is unlike the other four tournaments this weekend because there are only four teams and it’s of a round-robin format. But at least this way, every team gets in four games. For Higbee, this tournament replaces the CCAA Tournament, since the Lady Tigers are no longer members of the CCAA.

Posted in Fayette High School softball, Glasgow sports, Harrisburg sports, Higbee sports, New Franklin sports, Tournaments | Leave a comment

2014 Fayette composite football schedules

I just looked at the calendar and noticed that we are less than a month from the start of the high school football season (four weeks from tomorrow, to be exact). I figured I would take some time today to go ahead and get started on my planning for the upcoming 2014 season.

The Lewis & Clark Conference will enter its third season under MSHSAA’s newest format. All six schools will start the season with four nonconference games, followed by its five conference contests. Here is a composite schedule, detailing week-by-week matchups for all six teams.

2014L&C_FootballCompositeScheduleBut that’s not all.

There were a few changes to Class 1 District 6 this past spring, bringing in four new schools to join Fayette, Salisbury, Slater and Marceline. You remember the current playoff format, the one that requires all the math to seed teams No. 1 through 8? Don’t worry, we won’t get into the math until after the school year starts.

However, you’ll need to know the schedules for all the teams in the district to compute those final numbers. This composite schedule posted below should give you a start.

2014Class1District6_FootballCompositeScheduleThese schedules may show up in small type on your screen, but if you click on them, I promise you will get a bigger version that is easier to read.

Posted in Fayette High School football, Harrisburg sports | Leave a comment

2014 Fayette, Harrisburg football schedules announced

Believe it or not, we’re not that far from the start of a new school year. With New Franklin’s state baseball run, this is going to feel like a short summer for me.

With that in mind, I guess it’s not too soon to start thinking about football, especially since fall practice starts in less than one month. Just to get you a head start on the fall season, here is a quick look at Fayette’s football schedule. Other than flip-flopping home and away games, there’s one minor change in Week 2 compared to last year’s schedule.

2014 Fayette football schedule

  • Aug. 22: vs. Hallsville 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 29: vs. Harrisburg 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 5: @ Knox County 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 12: vs. Cole Camp 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 19: vs. Slater 7 p.m. (Homecoming)
  • Sept. 26: @ Paris 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 3: vs. Marceline 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 10: @ Salisbury 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 17: @ Westran 7 p.m.

Fayette will have a preseason jamboree at Central Methodist University on Aug. 15. If you’ll note, the season starts a week earlier than usual. This is to allow teams to have a full week between playoff games in November, rather than only five days.

The new team to Fayette’s schedule this year is Harrisburg, replacing North Shelby. Harrisburg begins its first full varsity season this fall and will play the next two seasons as an independent before joining the Lewis & Clark Conference for the 2016-17 school year.

Here is a look at Harrisburg’s first varsity schedule.

2014 Harrisburg football schedule

  • Aug. 22: vs. Tolton 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 29: @ Fayette 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 5: @ Putnam County 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 12: vs. Tipton 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 19: vs. Barat Academy 7 p.m. (Homecoming)
  • Sept. 27: @ Mexico Military Academy 2:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 3: vs. Knox County 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 10: @ Lincoln 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 17: vs. South Shelby 7 p.m.

Harrisburg will also play in the Central Methodist University jamboree on Aug. 15 and has been assigned — along with Fayette — to Class 1 District 6. Also in that district are Marceline, Salisbury, Santa Fe, Slater, Sweet Springs and Westran.

And while I have your attention, I’ll go ahead and post the Fayette softball schedule as well. There are a few major changes to it this fall.

2014 Fayette softball schedule

  • Aug. 23: @ Marshall Tournament, TBA
  • Aug. 25: @ La Plata, 5 p.m.
  • Aug. 28: @ Sturgeon, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 1: vs. Carrollton, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 2: vs. Jamestown, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 4: vs. Higbee, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 8: @ Brunswick, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 9: vs. Salisbury, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 11: vs. New Franklin, 4 p.m.
  • Sept. 15: @ Westran, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 16: vs. South Callaway, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 18: @ Paris, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 20: Fayette Tournament, TBA
  • Sept. 22: @ Prairie Home, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 23: vs. Marceline, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 29: @ Harrisburg, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 30: vs. Slater, 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 2: @ Keytesville, 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 6: @ Madison, 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 7: vs. Glasgow, 5 p.m.

The more notable changes this season are 1) Fayette dropped the Prairie Home Tournament and picked up the Marshall Tournament, which will mark the official start of the 2014 season on Aug. 23. Also, because a few teams that Fayette has scheduled in the past have switched to spring softball (i.e. Bunceton and Tipton), Fayette picked up games against La Plata and Jamestown. Should more teams switch to spring softball in the future, expect more shakeups in Fayette’s schedule down the line.

Posted in Fayette High School football, Fayette High School softball, Harrisburg sports | Leave a comment

2014 Class 2 District 7 baseball All-District team

I’ve had this for a while now, but I finally have time to pass it along to you. Lots of Harrisburg players made the cut this year, and Fayette’s three All-District players are the most since I’ve been in Fayette.

First team

  • Daniel Linneman, jr., Salisbury
  • Blake Williams, jr., Harrisburg
  • Morgan Wallace, jr., Westran
  • Blake Cochran, sr, Harrisburg
  • Davis Valencia, jr., Fayette
  • Shane Umstattd, sr., Paris
  • Matt Edwards, soph., Westran
  • Jared Bentley, sr., South Shelby
  • Cole Young, soph., Salisbury
  • Charles Roller, sr., Harrisburg

Second team

  • Justin Staiger, sr., Westran
  • Slater Stone, jr., Paris
  • Adam Ellyson, sr., South Shelby
  • Parker Howard, jr., Westran
  • Ely Botkins, jr., Westran
  • Cody Colyer, sr., Harrisburg
  • August Hayhurst, jr., Paris
  • Trevor Henke, fr., Salisbury
  • Bryan Bolton, jr., Harrisburg
  • Collin O’Connell, sr., Fayette

Honorable mention

  • Justin Linebaugh, sr., Salisbury
  • Josh Ridgley, jr., South Shelby
  • Chance Goff, sr,. Fayette
  • Austin Horn, jr., Harrisburg
  • Tucker Gruber, soph., Paris
Posted in Fayette High School baseball, Harrisburg sports | Leave a comment

2014 State Track and Field medal ceremonies

There are 15 videos linked to this post, but try not to be overwhelmed.

I figure since I have the luxury of being permitted to stand in the infield at state track, and I have video capabilities on my iPhone, I might as well snap at 50-second video of the local track athletes in my coverage area when they receive their state medals.

Feel free to watch one video, a couple videos, or heck, watch all of them if you have 15 minutes to spare. I’m posting them in chronological order, starting from Friday afternoon and ending with Saturday night.

My apologies to New Franklin’s Saundra Perkins and Glasgow’s Alex Mathews. My phone was acting up during the 200-meter medal ceremonies and I didn’t get the chance to record them receiving their medals in those events.

Posted in Fayette High School track, Glasgow sports, New Franklin sports | Leave a comment

2014 Class 1 District 10 baseball All-District team

It shouldn’t be a surprise anymore that almost all of New Franklin’s starting nine (well, 10 in this case because of the DH) makes the All-District baseball team. The only starters who didn’t make it this year were Jerrod Riley, Adam Harris and Matt Anderton. But hey, seven out of 10 starters is still pretty darn good.

Anyhow, here’s the full list…

Class 1 District 10 baseball All-District team

First team

  • Tyler Hull, sr., New Franklin
  • Trenton Young, sr., Pilot Grove
  • Beau Monson, jr., Calvary Lutheran
  • Caleb Propst, sr., Calvary Lutheran
  • Grant Felten, sr., Pilot Grove
  • Tanner White, jr., New Franklin
  • Jon Gerke, soph., Pilot Grove
  • Blake Carleton, soph., New Franklin
  • Alex Gerlach, jr., Jamestown
  • Kyler Tucker, sr., Bunceton
  • Alex Holem, sr., New Franklin
  • Klay Holliday, jr., Prairie Home
  • Wyatt Archer, sr., Calvary Lutheran
  • Colton Devore, soph., Jamestown
  • Regan Meisenheimer, soph., Pilot Grove

Honorable mention

  • Colton Glenn, sr., Pilot Grove
  • Bradley MacGlaughlin, jr., Calvary Lutheran
  • Rayce Kendrick, jr., Prairie Home
  • Andy Thompson, sr., Jamestown
  • Hance Sommerer, jr., Jamestown
  • TJ Schapira, jr., New Franklin
  • Zach Evans, soph., New Franklin
  • Levi Bishop, jr., New Franklin
  • Kody Simmons, jr., Prairie Home
  • Jake Leverton, jr., Pilot Grove
Posted in New Franklin sports | Leave a comment