KIlgore baseball

Kilgore High School's baseball team won a game and lost one Friday in the Jasper Tournament, and that'll be their final appearance on the field in any form for a little more than two weeks. KISD extended spring break for all of next week, for coronavirus concerns, and the UIL suspended play of games and other events for the same reason. (Photo by MITCH LUCAS)

Kilgore High School’s baseball Bulldogs played two games in the Jasper Tournament on Friday, and that will be the final two games of any kind for KHS, or any other Texas high school, until at least March 29.

Kilgore split Friday’s games in the tournament, beating Nederland, 8-3, and losing to Needville, 3-2.

They’re the final games for a while because the University Interscholastic League, which governs Texas high school sports, suspended extracurricular activities late Friday afternoon in the wake of utilizing precaution for the COVID-19 virus, or coronavirus.

Shortly after, Kilgore Independent School District elected to extend spring break, as many school districts across East Texas have done, through next week. Superintendent Andy Baker notified parents, faculty and others around 7:15 p.m. that the spring break would be extended – Baker didn’t suspend games, the UIL did that. But the UIL gave school districts the option to allow teams to have practices at their discretion. The school district opted to not do so.

Since Kilgore’s soccer, tennis and track and field teams were all off during spring break, and had no games or events scheduled until next week. Obviously, those now will either be postponed until after March 29, or won’t take place. Softball was in the same boat: coach Cheyenne Kirkpatrick’s Lady Bulldogs hosted Mabank Thursday afternoon in their final non-district game of the season.

Kilgore softball was preparing to start district play next week. Baseball just started district (soundly defeated Cumberland Academy earlier this week).

It appears now that school has been placed on an extra week of break as a precaution, and no school-sponsored sporting events will be scheduled, that games and other activities will be re-evaluated after next week.

Continue to read kilgorenewsherald.com for updates as they occur in this seemingly ever-changing situation.

So, the Diamond ‘Dogs did what they could do: they finished out their Friday tournament games, prior to the announcements by the UIL and KISD.

The game against Nederland was scoreless after two innings, and Kilgore led, 2-1, after three. Kilgore outscored Nederland 6-2 the remainder of the game, though.

Chase Hampton was 2-of-4 with 4 RBI in the game with a home run. Jayce McFarland was 1-of-3 with 2 RBI. Donovan Adkins was 1-of-4 with an RBI – his hit was a two-run homer – and Sam Witt was 1-of-3, his hit a double.

Hampton pitched, another fantastic performance on the mound. On 106 pitches, the Texas Tech-bound senior allowed three runs, two earned, on just six hits, walked just two, and struck out 12, another double-digit strikeout game. Of his 106 pitches, 76 were strikes.

Thomas Hattaway came on for a couple of batters, allowing no runs, no hits and a walk.

Rene Cunningham of Nederland went 2-of-3.

Kilgore’s loss to Needville saw the Bulldogs trail, 2-1, after four innings, tie the game at two in the sixth, but give up the winning-run in the seventh.

Hampton and McFarland each had a double. McFarland went 2-of-3 with an RBI. Witt, Hampton, Brayden Johnson, Hunter Pipak, and Kyle Wheeler all each had a hit.

Johnson threw five innings, allowing two runs, neither earned, on five hits, and two walks. He struck out four. Kilgore was charged with two errors. Jake Thompson threw two innings, and allowed one run, earned, on two hits, and three walks.

For the record, here is the KISD statement from Superintendent Andy Baker on extending spring break:

"Hello Kilgore Bulldogs,

Since my original message to you earlier this afternoon, I have had the chance to meet with the Texas Education Agency and be in numerous discussions with various county and city officials concerning the current COVID-19 health situation.  Although there have been minimal confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Gregg and Rusk counties, in an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and community…Kilgore ISD will be extending our current Spring Break through next Friday, March 20th for all KISD students and staff members.

All KISD scheduled events, all student scheduled practices, games, and events, and all community based activities occurring at any Kilgore ISD building or facility scheduled to occur during next week’s time frame have been canceled.

During next week’s extended break, Kilgore ISD will continue to be in contact with the Texas Education Agency and our local officials to continue our understanding and planning for this unprecedented health situation.  Additionally, I will send out another update message next Wednesday, March 18 to help keep everyone informed and up to date with information.

Again, Kilgore ISD will be extending our current Spring Break through next Friday, March 20th and all scheduled school and community events scheduled to occur next week at KISD facilities have been canceled.  Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we attempt to work through this current health situation. "

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