Rangers take down Paris, still one-half game behind TJC

Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE
Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE

The Rangers swept a windy double-header Wednesday against Paris Junior College to climb into sole possession of second place with a 14-4 record in Region XIV, East Division.

In the first match, Ranger pitcher Katy Worrell shut out the Dragons 3-0 in seven innings, for her 15th win. Worrell allowed three hits and struck out five through seven innings.

Brianana Davis drove in teammate Manda Wilmoth with a ground out RBI in the sixth for the final run of the game. In the fourth inning the Ranger’s defense made back-to-back catches in the outfield to shut down the Dragons.
The Rangers put themselves on the board early in this match-up, as Taylor Christopher scored in the third inning and teammate Hannah Carpenter scored in the first.

Shelby Edwards was 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI on a single in the first inning and a double in the third inning.

In the second victory over Paris, the Rangers won on the nine-run mercy rule in the fifth inning, earning pitcher Renee Jones her eighth victory of this season with the 9-0 shutout.

Jones allowed four hits and struck out six of the Dragon batters.

As the winds reached 15 mph, the Rangers batters grew stronger. Edwards smashed in five runs for KC, hitting two home runs, a single driven to left field area in the first inning and a grand slam to center field in the second inning.

Carpenter, Wilmoth, Amber Williams and Jo Rivera are the reason for the Rangers four other RBIs.

Kaitlyn Stebelton was 3 for 3 at the plate scoring a total of three runs, with Carpenter scoring two runs, and Williams scoring one run.

The Rangers will play another double header at 1 & 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in Corsicana, against Navarro Junior College.


Rangers defeated in doubleheader against MCC

McLennan used walk-off doubles in both games to capture a pair of 3-2 wins over Kilgore College on Saturday in a non-conference doubleheader.

in the top of the eighth Kilgore took a 2-1 lead in the opening game, but McLennan pushed across two in the bottom half and won the game on an RBI double by Ruby Trejo.

Hannah Carpenter doubled and drove in a run for KC in the loss, and Rivera with two singles and an RBI. Kaitlyn Stebelton tripled, Manda Wilmoth doubled and Laci Hambalek came through with a single.

Katy Worrell would take the pitching loss. She struck out three, walked five and allowed three earned runs on six hits in 7.1 innings.

In the nightcap of the top of the sixth, KC scored twice in the top of the sixth to go in front 2-0, but McLennan tied the game in the bottom of the sixth and won on a two-out RBI double off the bat of Elizabeth Svienty.

Rivera doubled and drove in a run for Kilgore. Hambalek and Shelby Edwards added doubles, and Brianna Davis singled.

Cheyanne Phillips took the loss for KC in relief of Renee Jones, who pitched five innings and gave up two earned runs on six hits with one strikeout and a walk.

Kilgore (6-8) will host the Ranger Shootout next Saturday and Sunday at The Ballpark at KC Commons.

The Rangers will face Murray State at 9 a.m. and Independence (Kansas) at 3 p.m. on Saturday and then will take on Murray State at 1 p.m. and Cisco at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

KC unveils new field with opening ceremony; games

Photo by Tina Reed/ THE FLARE
Photo by Tina Reed/ THE FLARE

After seven months the KC softball team got to put their long awaited new field to use as the team hosted an opening day ceremony invitational Feb.3-4. The opening ceremony was kicked off by “first pitches” thrown by KC president Dr. Brenda Kays, KC Board of Trustees member Brian Nutt and state representative Jay Dean.

The opening ceremony was followed by the first game to be played on the Ballpark at KC Commons, where the Rangers defeated Crowder 11-2. This match up featured the first home run hit in the new park by Kilgore native Amber Williams.

KC put up a seven-run inning with the help of a triple by Jo Rivera, a double by Kaylie Bush, a double by Brianna Davis and a home run by Amber Williams.

Pitcher Katy Worrell acquired the win for the Rangers. Worrell She tossed five innings, allowing two runs, five hits, striking out three and walking one. The pitcher for Crowder, Lauren Nahnsen took the loss. She threw four and a third innings, allowed 11 runs and 16 hits.

The rangers had a total of 16 hits at the end of the first game they played on Ballpark at KC Commons, which included multiple hits from Hannah Carpenter, Manda Wilmoth, Brianna Davis, Kaitlyn Stebelton, Laci Hambalek and Rivera. These multiple hits allowed KC to claim the victory against crowder.

The rangers fell short the second game, as McLennan Community College defeated the Rangers 13-1.

Wednesday the Rangers played a double header against an unbeaten Weatherford.

Worrell, a freshman from Maud, struck out three, walked two and allowed two earned runs on four hits in a complete – game outing. Worrell’s record is now 4-2.

In the opener, Kilgore took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after Amber William’s delivered an RBI groundout, and Taylor Christopher singled to right on 2-2 pitch to plate Manda Wilmoth, who had singled earlier in the game. After a sacrifice fly by Kalina Sato in the top the third inning Weatherford made it a 2-1 contest. Kilgore responded with a three-run third coming off the bat of Briana Davis. Wilmoth finished with three singles in the game.

Weatherford (8-1) won the second game, 12-4, to salvage the split. Kilgore (6-6) with 12 hits, but 10 stranded runners.

Weatherford scored once in the first inning of the second game, and KC left the bases full. In the bottom of the frame the Coyotes sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six times, building a 7-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Samone Jennings hit a grand slam, and cleanup hitter Francine Garcia added a two-run hit for Weatherford.

KC put themselves on the board in the second inning on an RBI single by Carpenter. Maci Perrin’s two-run double highlighted a three-run frame for the visitors, putting KC in a 10-1 hole.

Weatherford scored two runs in the fifth to lead 12-1. KC scored three times in the bottom half to make the final 12-4. Kaitlyn Stebelton had a two-run single in the inning.

Rangers 6-3 after doubleheader

A Ranger batter swings for the fences during a KC softball game. PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL BROWN / THE FLARE
A Ranger batter swings for the fences during a KC softball game. PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL BROWN / THE FLARE

A late run came in the late game on Wednesday to give the Kilgore Rangers Softball team a hard fought victory over Murray State in the second half of the day’s doubleheader.
Murray State was able to take the first game with a walk-off home run, ousting the visiting Rangers 4-3. After falling to an early three run deficit, the Rangers were able to battle back to tie the game up behind Marisa Ledkins’ two RBIs and a solo homer from Renee Jones. Despite the valiant rally from the visitors, Murray State was able to deliver a killing blow with a late seventh inning homer to end the game.
Taylor Sieber led the Rangers with two hits in the late game, and Hayley McCullers, Kelsey Ancelot and Lexi Lopez were each able to drive in runs for a 4-3 victory of their own. Jordyn Rodgers earned the win for the rangers, allowing no runs and just three hits in the first three innings. Hayley Vavra relieved in the sixth, finishing with five strikeouts, one hit and three walks. Renee Jones closed out the seventh for the save.
The evening’s conclusion leaves the Rangers with a 6-3 record heading into their Saturday matchup against the LeTourneau University Yellowjackets. Game time is noon in Longview.

Rangers hit tough patch in April games

Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / The Flare Bianca Bianca Van Vlerah swings during a game earlier this season.
Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / The Flare
Bianca Bianca Van Vlerah swings during a game earlier this season.

The KC softball team has hit a dry spell during the month of April. With the season nearing a close, KC will not be participating in the Region XIV postseason tournament. They have lost seven of their last eight games this month. With only two more doubleheader games left in the season, KC’s playoffs hopes have vanished.

The team has a conference record of 2-14 and an overall record of 8-31 on the season.

KC opened up the month with a doubleheader game against conference foe Trinity Valley Community College. They lost the first contest 8-6. Both teams’ bats were hot, but TVCC was able to outlast KC for the victory. In the second game KC was shut out, 8-0.

KC faced off against Bossier Parrish Community College on April 5, which was the first American Cancer Society Strikeout game hosted by KC. They lost both games to Bossier Parrish, 10-5 and 10-6. The real story in that game was that KC was able to donate a total of $979 to the American Cancer Society. Paige Wood, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, won the pink genuine Louisville Slugger bat that was raffled off as a gift by the KC softball team.

The inning sponsors donated $600 to the American Cancer Society, which totaled up to $979. The inning sponsors were: Trinity Mother Frances; Mark & Reinter Dickey; Classic Chevrolet at Sugarland; Jan & Craig Jaynes; Klassic Touch Salon; Jackie Ford A/C Heat; Steel & Pipe Supply. The KC softball team would like to thank all the sponsors for the donations and their participation in the cancer strikeout game.

On April 9, KC battled Navarro College, and they lost both games 3-0 and 11-2. It was once again a tough day offensively. It’s hard to win games when the team can’t put runs on the board.

On April 15, KC faced off against TVCC again, and they lost both games. In the first contest KC led TVCC 6-1 going into the sixth inning. TVCC scored seven runs in the last two innings to narrowly escape KC for the 8-6 victory.

Catcher Mariah Goguen recorded a home run in the first inning that sparked KC’s early run, and she brought in two runners in the process. Marsia Ledkins had two singles, while Bianca Van Vlerah, Lakin Kerby, and Lexi Lopez all had one single each. Center fielder Jalla Johnson had one double. Pitcher Lara Lewis pitched five innings with eight hits allowed with seven walks two strikeouts and six runs allowed. She was battling soreness in her pitching arm all game and was pulled early.

Head Coach Leslie Messina felt like her team did all they could do.

“We did great the first part of the game, but we became too content and lost control of the game,” said Messina.

KC was shut out the second game, 8-0, despite Lopez going 2-for-3 from the plate with a double. They got runners on base, but were unable to put runs on the board.

Messina knows her team missed the postseason, but her comments were positive and she is very excited for what is ahead in the future.

“I am disappointed because I know that we didn’t meet our goals that we set for the season, but overall my team fought hard all year. We had a lot of bad luck with injuries, and we were very inconsistent at times, but my team never gave up and we will continue to finish out the season on a strong note,” said Messina.

KC had a number of injuries to the pitching staff. Kari Courtney, the starting pitcher, is out for the remainder of the season due to a concussion.

Messina is excited about her team for next year, and she knows that they will be ready.

KC played Navarro College on April 23, and they will finish the season against Paris Junior College at home, which is Sophomore Day. That doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. on Friday at Stream Flo-Field.

Softball team gets conference win

Photo by KRISTOPHER DOBBINS / THE FLARE Second baseman Sara Aguilar takes the throw as a runner slides in during an earlier-season game.
Photo by KRISTOPHER DOBBINS / THE FLARE Second baseman Sara Aguilar takes the throw as a runner slides in during an earlier-season game.

The KC Ranger softball team split its games against conference foe Northeast Texas Community College this past weekend. They lost the first game 11-2, but won the second game 3-2 — earning their first conference win of the season and breaking a 10-game losing streak.

The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but it was postponed until Sunday due to weather conditions.

KC’s overall record is now 7-24, and their conference record is 1-5.

KC could not get anything going the first game against NTCC. KC was down 3-0 going into the bottom of the third inning. Lexi Lopez and third baseman Lakin Kerby both hit   home runs in the inning to keep KC in striking distance, but that was all the runs KC would get. NTCC scored a combined eight runs in the last two innings, sealing the deal for the game.

KC had six hits as a team and the defense only had one error. Pitcher Kari Courtney pitched five innings, allowing 11 hits, three walks, nine earned runs. She retired three batters.

In the second game, KC made sure that NTCC was not going to score many runs. The defense held them to just three runs and had no errors for the game. Lopez tied the game at one-apiece going into the second inning, thanks to her RBI single. The game was tied at two going into the last inning and KC’s defense stopped NTCC from putting any runs on the board. So it was all up to the offense to bring home the victory. Bianca Van Vlerah hit a triple late in the seventh inning to put herself in scoring position. Later, Kerby hit a RBI single that scored Van Vlerah and gave KC the victory.

Van Vlerah was on fire all day. She went 4-4 from the plate with three singles and a huge triple that set up Kerby’s game-winning hit.

Pitcher Lara Lewis got a win in her first start of the year since coming back from her shoulder injury. She pitched all seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits. She had one walk and one strikeout.

KC traveled to Athens to take on the Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals on April 3.

(Because of early press deadlines for the A-section, those game results will be in the April 25 edition.)


Softball team drops four, returns home

Photo by Michael Brown / The Flare Mariah Gougen makes contact during a recent game.
Photo by Michael Brown / The Flare
Mariah Gougen makes contact during a recent game.

The KC Ranger softball team lost four games last week, two against Paris Junior College and two against Bossier Parish Community College.

KC is 0-6 in conference play and has an overall record of 6-23.

KC faced Paris Junior College on Wednesday. They lost the first game, 13-3.

Pitchers Kari Courtney and Kayla Calvert combined for 11 hits, five strikeouts, 13 runs scored, and nine earned runs.

KC had eight hits as a team, but only managed to score three runs. Third baseman Keke Hunter had two hits and one RBI while Lexi Lopez and Mallory Ford each recorded one RBI.

KC was completely shut out in the second game against PJC, losing 4-0. Courtney pitched all six innings. She allowed four runs on nine hits with four earned runs, three walks and two strikeouts.

KC took on Bossier Parish Community College on Saturday. They lost the first game 7-6. KC had 12 hits in the game as a team, but only mustered six runs. They had three errors during the entire game. KC was up early on BPCC, 3-1, before they fell behind in the fourth inning with four runs scored.

Catcher Asia Marshall went 2-4 from the plate with one single and one home run that kept KC in the game during the seventh inning. Calvert pitched six innings, walked four batters, and struck out three.

KC lost the second matchup between BCPP, 10-6. KC had 11 hits as a team, but only scored six runs off those 11 hits.

Lopez went 2-4 from the plate with one single, one home run and a RBI in the same play during a three score, fourth inning for KC. She also scored a run herself.

Third baseman Lakin Kerby also hit a huge two-run homer in the first inning to give KC an early lead, scoring Sara Aguilar in the process.

Courtney pitched six innings and allowed six runs with one walk, two strikeouts, 11 hits and six earned runs.

Head Coach Leslie Messina is content that her team will get better.

“We’re not a consistent team right now. We have games where we’re good at offense, but bad at defense and pitching,” Messina said. “We have problems with doing all three phases of the game right. We have to be more consistent in all three phases of the game every time we play. Pitching, hitting and defense.”

Messina says the upcoming game Saturday against Northeast Texas Community College is a very important game to win, because it will keep their playoffs hopes alive. KC will be without starting pitcher Calvert due to illness. Her return to the field is doubtful at this time. However pitcher Laura Lewis has been released from her shoulder injury and she will slowly make her return back into the rotation. Courtney will be the starting pitcher for KC’s next game.

On April 5, KC will face Bossier Parish Community College at home, and that will be their first Strikeout Cancer Game. The Strikeout Cancer initiative unites the American Cancer Society and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association to help raise funds and awareness to fight cancer.

The team will be selling raffle tickets around campus for a chance to win a genuine pink Louisville Slugger softball bat.

The match against NTCC begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Stream Flo-Field.

Softball: Rangers have a tough time during pre-Spring Break stint

Photo by Michael Brown / THE FLARE Kayla Calvert pitches at the tournament on Feb. 28.
Photo by Michael Brown / THE FLARE
Kayla Calvert pitches at the tournament on Feb. 28.

The KC Rangers went 0-6 in their contests just before Spring Break. They played in the Region XIV Crossover from Feb. 28-March 1 that was held in Longview. They next played conference foe Northeast Texas Community College on March 7 and were defeated twice,  4-1 and 6-5. KC is 6-19 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.

KC played Angelina College to kick off the Crossover and lost 12-4. They started off the game strong but finished weak. They scored two runs in the first inning and two runs in the fifth inning. Second baseman Sara Aguilar was responsible for the runs in the first inning. She scored on a sacrifice fly that was hit by Lexi Lopez and she sent catcher Mariah Gougen home on a RBI triple. Third baseman Lakin Kerby had an RBI single, and Bianca Van Vlerah stole third base to score at home plate. Pitcher Kayla Calvert pitched four innings and allowed 11 runs with five walks with six strikeouts.

KC played Galveston College on March 1 the first game of  three that they would play and was defeated 4-2. It was a defensive battle the entire game. Aguilar recorded one single, while Mariah Gougen had an RBI single that brought two runners home for the only score of game for KC. Calvert pitched all eight innings and allowed only one earned run with eight hits, four walks, and she retired two batters.

KC then faced Alvin Community College in a high-powered offensive battle, but they lost 15-13. Both teams’ bats were hot, but KC’s bats ran out of gas at the wrong time. Everybody contributed in this game. KC mustered 13 hits, but as a team they needed some defense. Pitcher Kari Courtney pitched six innings and allowed 16 hits with four walks and four strikeouts. She allowed 15 runs and nine of them were earned.

KC played their final game of the crossover against Butler College and were shut out 8-0. Aguilar recorded the lone hit of the game for KC. Calvert pitched four innings and allowed seven runs with four walks and four strikeouts.

KC faced off against Northeast Texas Community College on March 7 and dropped both games.

KC faced off against conference foe Paris Junior College on Wednesday. They next travel to Bossier City to take on Bossier Parrish Community College. The game will be at 1 p.m. Saturday March 21 in Bossier City.

Softball: KC splits 4;hosts tourney Friday

Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / The Flare
Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / The Flare

The KC Rangers split their games in the KC Softball Tournament last weekend, splitting two of four. KC is 6-13 on the year with two games left before starting conference play.
KC played Highland Community College on Friday and lost 7-6. KC ahead for most of the game. They were leading 4-1 going into the sixth inning, until HCC’s bats caught fire, and they were able to sneak by KC in the end.
Third baseman Lakin Kerby went 2-4 from the plate, she had 2 RBI’s, one hit, and a home run in the fifth inning to keep extend KC’s lead. First baseman Lexi Lopez had one single off two RBI’s and catcher Mariah Goguen had two singles off two RBI’s. Pitcher Kayla Calvert pitched 6 2/3 innings with had four strikeouts allowed four hits and six walks.
On Saturday, KC battled with Grayson Community College and outlasted them 6-5. Kerby had a full stat line. She had two hits with another big home run, one triple three RBI’s and three runs scored. Center Fielder Jalla Johnson recorded two hits with one single, one double, one RBI and one run scored. Outfielder Mallory Ford had two singles, one double, and one RBI. Calvert pitched seven innings and allowed five runs off eight hits. She struck out three batters and she had three walks.
Later that day KC took on HCC again and were completely shut out. They lost 9-0 and nobody couldn’t get anything going at all. Kari Courtney pitched all six innings, and she allowed nine runs on two walks and three strikeouts.
KC played on Sunday against Eastern Oklahoma State College and they escaped with a 6-5 victory. KC scored three runs in the ninth to seal the deal for the victory.
Kerby had one RBI single and scored two runs for the game while Asia Marshall had one RBI double and Ford scored a run off of her. Calvert pitched all nine innings, allowed three runs off of nine hits with six walks and she retired eight batters in the process.
Head Coach Leslie Messina sees her team’s improving, and she wants them to keep it up.
“We took many steps forwards and a couple of steps back during this tournament, but in the end we came out ahead,’ said Messina.
“We had very few defensive errors so our defense has gotten better, but we need to be more consistent on offense and make adjustments at the plate sooner rather than later. If we do that we will be more effective. We got wins this weekend and it felt good to get wins. That’s what we play for.”
KC will host the Region XIV Crossover Tournament on Friday through Sunday in Longview at Lear Park.

Softball team shut out in McLennan tourney

The KC softball team traveled to Waco last weekend to play in the McLennan Community College Softball Tournament, and were defeated in all four games. That puts their season record at 4-9, but it is still early in the spring season.

KC played two games on Friday, facing Temple College first and lost 10-0. Temple’s bats were hot while KC’s were not, and it showed throughout the game.

KC’s batters struck out seven times during the game and only managed to get one hit in five innings.

Catcher Asia Marshall got the only hit of the game for KC, which was a single. Pitchers Kari Courtney and Kayla Calvert pitched 3.3 innings combined and allowed 10 runs off seven hits and walked nine batters.

KC faced MCC later that day, and the outcome was not any better, losing 12-0. Once again, they only managed to get one hit. The team had six total strikeouts and one fielding error.

Ali Harvey mustered the only hit of the game for KC, another single. Courtney and Calvert pitched three innings combined and allowed 12 runs off of 10 hits, with three walks and five strikeouts.

Head Coach Leslie Messina was not happy with how her team performed on Friday.

“We weren’t in control of ourselves. Our inability to throw and catch killed us all day long,” said Messina.

“We weren’t mentally ready to attack on offense and our inability to focus on the small things hurt us today.”

KC returned to the field on Saturday more on their game, but they still could not get the victory. They lost to MCC, 9-8. Both teams’ bats were hot all game long, but MCC had enough juice to beat KC in the end.

Third baseman Lakin Kerby went 3-4 from the plate with three hits, including a single, a double, and a home run. She recorded two RBIs in the process and scored three runs.

Sara Aguilar and Mallory Ford had two singles and two hits each. Courtney pitched six innings, allowing nine runs off eight hits with four walks. She retired two batters.

KC played Temple for the last game on Saturday, and they lost that game 9-8 as well.

First baseman Lexi Lopez did her part to keep KC in striking distance. She went 2-4 from the plate and recorded a single, three RBI’s and one homer. Marshall also had a home run and batted in two players in the process. Calvert pitched eight innings, allowing nine runs off of nine hits with six walks and five strikeouts.

Messina was pleased that her team improved from their poor performance on Friday. She believes that it was the Baylor softball game that she took her team to that inspired them to do better on Saturday.

“It was a great learning experience for them. They really looked on at the game and took in how they were playing,” Messina said. Baylor talked a lot in-between plays and my team really took heed to that, and they learned a lot about how communication and being a visual learner can help.

“Even though we didn’t get any wins this weekend the team learned a more valuable lesson in how they can improve and how the game is played on another level. We improved by watching them, and we will be a better team from it.”

KC will host the Ranger Softball Classic this weekend starting Friday and ending on Sunday. Their first game will be against Highland College at 2 p.m at Stream Flo-Field.

Softball squad 4-5 after split

The KC Rangers played in their annual Kilgore Softball Tournament this past weekend, and split four games. They lost two on Saturday and won two on Sunday. That puts them at a record of 4-5 so far for the spring season.

KC played Independence Community College on Saturday and lost a nail biter, 3-2. KC scored one time in the first inning and one time in the seventh inning, courtesy of third baseman Lakin Kerby. She had an RBI in the first inning that scored center fielder Jalla Johnson and a timely solo home run in the seventh inning to keep KC in striking distance. Kerby went 1-3 for the game. Pitcher Kayla Calvert pitched seven innings with eight strikeouts, no earned runs, allowing six hits, and only two walks.

KC dropped its next game, against the McLennan Community College High Lassies, 4-2. Both teams had a hard time scoring runs, as neither team scored until the fourth inning. Mallory Ford and Ali Harvey had an RBI each that scored Hannah Tome and Lexi Lopez. Pitcher Kari Courtney pitched seven innings. She gave up four walks and four hits and retired one batter.

KC continued play on Sunday with a double header against Cisco College. They picked up the victory in game one of the double header with a score of 5-4.

Lopez had an impressive stat line for the game. She had two RBIs off of two hits. She singled in the first inning and homered in the fifth inning. She was 2-4 from the plate for the game. Alex Aguilar, Ford, and Mariah Goguen all had one RBI each while Bianca Van Vlerah had one triple. Calvert pitched seven innings and allowed four runs off six hits with five walks and nine strikeouts.

Game two of the doubleheader was a success for the Rangers as they won 9-8. Both teams’ bats were hot, but KC’s bats stayed hot for the longest to outlast Cisco. KC scored six runs in the third inning to keep the game afloat and in their control. Johnson, Asia Marshall, and Harvey all had two RBI’s apiece. Johnson scored two runs while Marshall and Harvey scored one. Courtney pitched seven innings giving up eight runs on 15 hits with one walk and she retired four batters to get her first win of the weekend.

Head Coach Leslie Messina was happy with how her team bounced back from those two previous losses.

“Our pitchers gave us solid performances on Sunday, and our hitters bounced back from a rough day at the plate on Saturday. They were much improved on Sunday,” said Messina.

Messina wants her team to be solid on defense just as much as offense and even though they’re not where she wants them to be on defense, she sees the improvement.

“Defense is slowly making improvements. We didn’t have many errors at all this weekend and were getting better on the defensive side of the ball,” Messina said.

KC’s original game against Hill College on Wednesday was cancelled due to inclement weather conditions. The game will not be made up. KC will travel to Waco to play in the McLennan Community College Softball Tournament this Friday and Saturday. They will play Temple College at 11:30 a.m. Friday in Waco.

New Kilgore College high school softball signees

Sports Writer

The KC softball team recently added 10 new members to the team after they were introduced in the second annual KC softball signing ceremony.

These women look to give KC some more talent and more success for the upcoming season next fall. The signees include: Renne Jones, pitcher from Houston. Taylor Sieber, catcher from Forney; Hayley Vavra, pitcher from Spring; Kelsey Ancelot, outfield from Orange; Angelica Gonzales, from Dickinson; Alexis Torres, infield from Houston; Hayley McCullers; middle infielder from Burleson; Madison Goolsby, first baseman from Bryan; Leandra Lopez, outfielder from Midland; and Jenna Johnson, outfielder from Cypress.

All of these women will start playing here at KC next fall, and they hope to bring some fresh talent to the team. Head Coach Leslie Messina believes they will be a big help to the team next season.

“These women are very talented; they have plenty of speed and big bats,” Messina said.

Messina really liked the effort that her team gave during the fall season, and she hopes that they will be able to keep that same energy during the spring season.

“We did great last fall. We went up against some tough competition and played with them all the way through. Our team chemistry is very good, and as long as we score runs, play great defense, and stay consistent we will be a good team,” said Messina.

KC softball teams have set goals for them to abide by for the spring season. They want to be the very best they can be and want to give every game 100 percent.

“Our key to this season is winning every day. That is what our team slogan is. Winning every day. I want them to be focused on winning in practice so it will be that much easier to win in the game”, said Messina.

Messina gave out  a copy of “The Keys to Winning Every Day” by Lou Holtz to each team member. Holtz is a legendary college football coach who is now a sports broadcaster with ESPN.

KC starts its official season Friday in Galveston in the Galveston College Tournament.

Charity Mezzell / THE FLARE

Lifetime of softball pays off for Calvert as she battles her way onto the mound at KC

Executive Editor

Kristopher Dobbins / THE FLARE
Kayla Calvert joined KC after Texarkana folded and the Paris head coach was fired.

Imagine playing a sport practically all your life, and a month before your freshman year of college receiving news that the team you signed with is defunct.

Kayla Calvert, Pasadena sophomore, was originally going to play softball at Texarkana College for then-Head Coach Leslie Messina, but the athletic programs were eliminated due to financial problems.

“Offering players a roster spot makes a lot of their dreams come true, and then to have to take that away with such a short time to find another place to play is a horrible feeling,” said Messina, who came to KC last year to start the program.

Calvert’s next choice was Paris Junior College, but that did not pan out when the coach was fired.

Calvert began playing softball at age 5 but, quit because she did not like it. She then started back up at 8, because her parents wanted her to be involved.

Her coach, David Aguilar, changed her mind about softball.

Calvert was first baseman and a big hitter for her team, but Aguilar told her she should start pitching when she was 11.

“So then I became a pitcher, and I liked it,” Calvert said. “I was pretty good at it.”

Her high school sophomore year, Calvert was tried out and made the Texas Storm Fastpitch Softball Team.

Texas Storm is a nationally recognized fastpitch softball organization that competes in some of the most prestigious tournaments in the country and is in the 18-Gold, which is the highest division of softball. Their coaches are all experienced professionals and former college players.

Calvert’s team was coached by Larry Durham and Joe Wymer.

“In the softball world, you know who those coaches are,” Calvert said.

For the next three years Calvert’s life was filled with more softball than ever.

“[Texas Storm] was in summer and fall,” Calvert said. “The only break you got was when there was high school ball, so I pretty much played all year long.”

After working hard all her life to play college softball, she was giving up.

“I was really worried and starting to stress,” Calvert said. “I was like, ‘Well God, you better take it, because there’s nothing else I can do about it.’”

Calvert attended a church camp with other teens making the transition from high school to college and it was then that she got the answers she had been looking for.

One night Calvert was listening to a woman preach and the message seemed to be just what she needed.

“This lady was killing it,” Calvert said. “She said, ‘I know some of y’all are unsure [of the future], but I feel like someone is going to get a conviction and figure out where y’all are going and what you’re going to do in the next couple days.’”

Immediately after the service she received a long text message, which Calvert said was strange because there was no cell phone service at the camp, telling her Messina had found a place to coach and wanted her to come play for her.

“It was weird because right when I got out I had an answer,” Calvert said. “Someone saying you have a full ride somewhere, that’s really an 11:59 God.”

Messina said she saw Calvert pitch at a college showcase for high school players in Plano during her senior year and was impressed by her speed, movement and arm swings.

“When she visited I got to know her personally and liked her attitude,” Messina said.

After Texarkana’s program shut down, Messina was determined to find every player and incoming player a place to play and she did.

With Calvert’s second-choice school not working out, Messina wanted to offer her a place to play with people she already knew, because of the turmoil starting off her college career.

“I think Kayla and I developed a special bond through this process and it was hard on both of us,” Messina said.

Messina’s says Calvert’s leadership skills are showing this year.

“Her freshman year, she sat back and let others lead, but now she wants this year to be a great year and wants to help us get there every way she can,” Messina said. “Her positive attitude and good work ethic is evident to all this year.”

After everything she went through, Calvert is happy with the turnout.


“I didn’t know where I was going to go, and then Messina called me up and told me she found a place to coach at Kilgore, and she wanted me to come with her,” Calvert said. “It was kind of like a last-minute thing, but I’m glad I ended up here.”

Hitting, pitching spur 2 wins

Devin Brooks
Staff Writer

The Ranger softball team once again took two-out-of-three games when it hosted the Ranger Invitational at Stream- Flo Field last Saturday.

They dropped the first game, 8-7, against the East Texas Trouble. KC was down 4-0 early in the third inning but tied it at 4-apiece at the end of three. East Texas Trouble would take the lead the rest of the way.

Rangers third baseman Lakin Kerby was two-for-two with a home run and drove in two runs in the process.

Outfielder Jalla Johnson and Marisa Ledkins had one RBI each.

KC defeated Anderson Express 11-0 in the second game for its first shutout of the fall season. Third baseman Kerby stayed hot as she homered and drove in a run. Catcher Mariah Goguen was solid from the plate, going 2-3 with 2 RBIs.

Outfielder Mallory Ford recorded an RBI single for the game, while pitcher Kayla Calvert also recorded an RBI single. Calvert also pitched a shutout. She allowed no runs on three hits in five innings on the mound. She also retired seven batters in the process.

KC’s last game of the day came against USA Select, and the Rangers defeated them 8-2.

Once again Kerby was hot, recording three RBI’s and another home run. Kerby homered in all of the games she played in.

First baseman Abshire and Bianca Van Vlerah both had RBI singles. Pitcher Kara Courtney only allowed two runs in five innings with three strikeouts and one walk.

Coach Leslie Messina was pleased with her team’s play last weekend.

“The first weekend was about adjusting to playing together and playing college softball,” she said. “We made more mistakes than I would have liked, but we also did some good things. We made improvements this weekend. We had some good pitching and great hitting performances today.”

This weekend third baseman Kerby and pitcher Calvert are participating in the Texas JUCO All- Star weekend at Abilene Christian University.

The Rangers played Texas Wesleyan University Thursday  in Fort Worth.


Softball wins 2 in tourney

Sports Writer

KC won played three games and won two of them in its annual Kilgore College Invitational softball tournament last Saturday at Stream-Flo Field.

The team is entering its second year of existence.

At the tournament, the team played three select teams. KC defeated Sneaky Cleats 4-3.

The game went back and forth.

Second baseman Marisa Ledkins had a breakout game. She was a double short of a cycle and homered, tripled, singled and batted in three runs for the Rangers.

Outfielder Mallory Ford added on to Ledkins’ performance with two hits of her own.

Pitcher Katie Abshire retired seven hitters in six innings of work to earn her first win of the fall season.

The next game they lost to Texas Glory 8-4. Third baseman Lakin Kerby doubled, singled two times and drove in a run to keep the KC offense on edge.

First baseman Lexi Lopez finished the game with two hits, while pitcher Kayla Calvert doubled and batted in two runs of her own.

Calvert also pitched six innings with 20 first pitch strikes.

KC won its last game of the day against Orange Crush 8-1.

Shortstop Bianca Van Vierah put on a hitting show. She had two doubles, two singles, and drove in a run to highlight the KC offense.

Kerby added two hits while outfielder Alex Aguilar drove in two runs.

Catcher Mariah Gougen and outfielder Jaila Johnson recorded one RBI apiece.

Pitcher Kari Courtney added onto the KC offense with two hits. Courtney also retired seven hitters in five innings of play.

KC will host the Ranger Invitational 9 a.m. this Saturday at Stream-Flo Field.

Kristopher Dobbins / THE FLARE
After stepping on second base, KC’s Bianca Van Vlerah throws to first to complete a double play.