District race coming down to the wire

Photo by David Kapitan

Baileigh Briggs went 2/3 with a triple and 2 RBI in Van’s 9-6 win over the visiting Wills Point Lady Tigers.

Photo by David Kapitan

Baileigh Briggs went 2/3 with a triple and 2 RBI in Van’s 9-6 win over the visiting Wills Point Lady Tigers.

The Van Lady Vandals continued to pace the pack in the race for this year’s District 13-4A crown, keeping current second place team Canton at arm’s length with wins over Brownsboro and Wills Point.

The Lady Vandals crossed paths with Brownsboro April 12, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings of a 5-2 win over the Bearettes.

Bailey Daniels delivered a strong performance for Van from the pitcher's circle, allowing just three hits and an earned run in a 97-pitch complete game effort.

Offensively, Morgan Benge finished 2/3 with an RBI, Baleigh Briggs finished 1/3 with a home run, an RBI and a run scored, Bailey Daniels finished 1/3 with an RBI, Kelsie Briggs finished 1/3 with a run scored, Racheal Thomas finished 1/4 with an RBI and a run scored and Alex Walton finished 1/3 with two runs scored.

Van traveled to Wills Point for a rare 1 p.m. start April 14, holding off an improving Wills Point team by a score of 9-6.


Vandals end drought with back-to-back wins

The Van Vandals entered last week on the outside of the 2017 playoff picture looking in, having lost each of their first five games in district play.

Van changed the narrative of their season in a hurry, gaining ground on every team except Canton last week by recording wins over both Brownsboro and Wills Point to climb into a three-way tie for the fourth and final playoff spot coming out of District 13-4A.

The Vandals began their week at home April 12, scoring the last three runs of the game in a 3-2 win over the Bears.

Starting pitchers Hoss Brewer of Van and Bryce Smith of Brownsboro each put together stellar efforts early, trading zeroes on the scoreboard for each of the first five innings.

Brownsboro finally broke through the scoreless tie in the sixth, plating two runs in their half of the inning to put Van in danger of a sixth consecutive district loss.

Van fought back quickly, tying the score at 2-2 in the home half of the sixth.


Eagles, Vandals compete at Yellowjacket Relays

Track and field athletes from Canton and Van traveled to Mineola last week, competing in the Yellowjacket Relays April 6. The Canton varsity boys finished in fourth place overall at the meet with 84 total points. The Eagles finished behind Mineola (140), Eustace (115) and Henderson (95), and ahead of Bullard with 82 points, New Diana with 51 points, Winnsboro with 34 points and Van with 19 points.

Individual varsity boys results included:

-100: Cooper Bledsoe, Van, second place

-400: Bryce Wilkins, Canton, first

-800: Bryce Wilkins, Canton, second; Braylon Phifer, Canton, fourth; Cordale Harrison, Canton, sixth

-1600: Cordale Harrison, Canton, third; Jaeden Miller, Canton, fourth

-3200: Jaeden Miller, Canton, first

-4x100: Kyle Rose-Peterson, Carter Day, Dylan Cox and Dalton Williams, Canton, fourth

-4x200: Carter Day, Dalton Williams, Kyle Rose-Peterson and Dylan Cox, Canton, sixth


Vandals host District 13-4A Tennis Tournament

Photo by David Kapitan

Chris Catlin and Cody Pickett (not pictured) will be one of two Vandal doubles’ teams to compete at the Regional Tennis Tournament.

The Van Vandal athletic program welcomed teams from Brownsboro, Canton, Emory Rains, Mabank and Wills Point to the district’s tennis center April 4-5 for this year’s District 13-4A Varsity and JV Tennis Tournaments.

Van finished second overall in both the varsity girls and varsity boys divisions of the event, finishing as runners-up behind Wills Point in both classifications.

Vandal players qualifying for the Regional Tournament, scheduled for April 17-18, include: boys doubles champions Chris Catlin and Cody Pickett, and mixed doubles runners-up Cortland Davidson and Abby Jones.

Third place medalists from Van included: Megan Nosworthy in girls singles, and Madi Canfield and Faith Kirk in girls doubles. Fourth place winners included: Hunter Perry in boys singles and the girls doubles team of Carli Davidson and Cathi Williams.


Lady Vandals climb to first in district race

Photo by David Kapitan

Kelsi Briggs picked up the win against the Mabank April 4, allowing one earned run over four innings while striking out two.

The Van Lady Vandals put themselves firmly control of the race for the top seed in District 13-4A, winning twice last week to improve to 6-1 overall this season. Those two wins, coupled with a surprising loss by the Canton to Wills Point April 7, put the Lady Vandals in first place with just three games left to play on the district calendar.

Van opened its week at home against Mabank April 4 where an eight run first inning helped the Lady Vandals cruise to a 17-1 win over the Lady Panthers.

The Lady Vandals finished with 12 hits in just four innings of play, following up their explosive first inning with two runs in the second, five more in the third and two in the bottom of the fourth to win via the run rule.  


Panthers, Wildcats edge past Vandals

Photo by David Kapitan

Jacoby Bogue finished 3/4 at the plate during District 13-4A play, adding a stolen base and two runs scored against Mabank and Rains.

The Van Vandals have been District 13-4A’s hard luck team this season, battling down to the wire in virtually every contest only to come up just short in game against Brownsboro, Wills Point and Canton.

Two more teams were added to that list this week as Mabank rallied back with five runs late April 4 to top Van and Rains holding off a late Vandal challenge April 7 to drop the Vandals to 0-5 overall in District 13-4A play.

Van hosted Mabank to open the week, taking a 1-0 lead on the Panthers in the third inning. Mabank stormed back to break Vandal hearts, tying the game with a single run in the fifth before pulling away with four more in the sixth for a 5-1 win.

The Vandals totaled four base hits against Mabank, including a triple by Nathan Jay and singles by Jacoby Bogue, Gus Brewer and Ridge Preston.


Track team readies for District 13-4A Meet

The Van boys and girls track team continued to inch closer to this year’s District 13-4A Meet last week, traveling to Tyler March 30 for the Grace Community Cougar Relays. Van took home several top individual finishes, with athletes winning the 100 meter dash and high jump in the varsity boys division and the 400 meter run and pole vault in the varsity girls divisions.

Van varsity boys with top six finishes in events included:

-100: Cooper Bledsoe, 11.17, first

-400: Jonathan Werner, 57.87, fifth

-3200: Caleb Parker, 13:43, sixth

-4x100: Van, 44.44, third

-4x200: Van, 1:41.3, fourth

-4x400: Van, 3:48.6, fourth

-Shot Put: Beau Thompson, 44-0, fourth

-Discus: Tony Wilkerson, 119-11.5, fourth


Vandals remain winless in district play

Photo by David Kapitan

The Van Vandals, currently 0-3 overall in District 13-4A play, were scheduled to host Mabank April 4 before traveling to Rains High School April 7.  

The Van Vandals will need to make up some ground in a hurry if they hope to make their way into the UIL State Baseball Playoffs, falling to 0-3 overall in District 13-4A play with a 3-1 loss to the Canton Eagles last week.

Van entered play against Canton in a strange pattern, having dueled both Brownsboro and Wills Point down to the wire only to fall short in both games.

In those two games, the Vandals and their respective opponents struggled to push across a single run at the plate in any of the first three innings.

Brownsboro broke Van's heart by scoring a combined seven runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, while the Tigers plated all of their runs in the top of the seventh to hand the Vandals their second consecutive shutout loss.


High school, junior high netters compete

The Van Vandal tennis team took part in its final regular season event last week, dominating the field at this year’s Spring Hill Tournament.

First place winners include: Shelby Jung in Girls B Singles and the doubles team of Cortland Davidson and Abby Jones in Mixed A Doubles.
Winning second place medals were: Megan Nosworthy in Girls B Singles and Madi Canfield and Faith Kirk in Girls A Doubles. Third place winners were Chris Catlin and Cody Pickett in Boys A Doubles, Austin Everding in Boys B Singles, Ty Burns in Consolation B Singles, and the doubles team of Carli Davidson and Cathi Williams in Girls B Doubles.


Lady Vandals prevail during rivalry week

Photo by David Kapitan

Hallie Wilkerson went a combined 4/6 at the plate with a double, 2 RBI and three runs scored in games against Canton and Wills Point.

The Van Lady Vandals stayed within the borders of Van Zandt County over the past week, taking on two of their biggest rivals in key District 13-4A matchups. Van took care of business both times, toppling the Wills Point Lady Tigers at home March 28 before climbing into a first-place tie in district play with a road win over Canton.

Van received a major helping hand from the Lady Tigers, scoring 13 unearned runs over just three innings of play en route to a 15-0 win.

Play between the Lady Tigers and Van was originally slated to take place March 24, but inclement weather rolling in throughout the afternoon ultimately caused the game to be rescheduled.

Wills Point went down 1-2-3 in their half of the first inning, including a strikeout and two groundouts. Van had no such issues offensively, opening the home half of the first by having their leadoff hitter reach on an error, followed by a single, and two walks to take a 1-0 lead.


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