Breckenridge Texan

Buckaroo baseball team clinches district championship

Buckaroo baseball team clinches district championship
April 23
20:14 2019

For the first time in program history, the Breckenridge High School varsity baseball team has won the District Championship. With Monday night’s win over the Jacksboro High School Tigers, the Buckaroos clinched the district title for Class 3A-District 7.

Coach Kevin Bartley said it was good to see the team holding up the trophy after Monday’s game. “It’s always great whenever you see your kids succeed, just earning something that they’ve worked hard for,” he said. “That’s kind of the reason why most coaches get into this, for the kids. And that’s mainly the reason why I’m here; I want to not only teach these guys the game of baseball but watch them grow as young men. Just seeing them succeed and be successful, it just kind of humbles you and really makes you think back on why we do what we do.”

Monday night’s game had originally been scheduled for today, April 23, but the forecasted bad weather forced the game to be rescheduled for Monday. The Buckaroos beat the Tigers 13-3, and the game was called due to the Ten-Run Rule, which states that after five innings of play, if one team is 10 or more runs ahead of its opponent, the game will be over.

Even with the big win, Bartley said there are things the team can learn from the game. “You know, we made a couple of mistakes against Jacksboro last night, defensively, so we’re about to watch the film and kind of see if we can fix those, as well. It’s just little things,” he said. “You’re going to make mistakes every once in a while.”

The coach said one reason why the team has had success is that they understand that sometimes mistakes are going to happen. “We just can’t dwell on it,” Bartley said. “We just think about why we made it, what happened when we did and how we can fix it. Then we move on and brush it off. The kids have really stepped up to that challenge of brushing things off and learning from it and not dwelling on it.”

This season, the Buckaroos have an overall record of 24-2 and a district record of 12-1.

Just before the start of this season, Dee Escalon Field at the Joe Knight-Boyce Strong Baseball Complex received some upgrades, including new bleachers. Bartley said the upgrades, plus the support of the community, have helped the team succeed this year.

“When we first got out there and started practicing, there was still a little bit of energy there because they knew we were capable of doing a lot of good things. But, then once (the bleachers) went up, there was a little bit more pride, and you could feel that pride and the energy,” Bartley said. “The community has really stepped up and supported them. I think that gives them a little bit more extra pride, in that, ‘I’m not just playing for myself; I’m playing for my teammates; I’m playing for the community.’ So they kind of hold that on their shoulders that that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to represent, and we want to do it with a lot of pride.”

The Buckaroos will play their last regular season game on Friday, April 26, against the Paradise Panthers at the Dee Escalon Field at the Joe Knight-Boyce Strong Baseball Complex. As the last home game of the season, it will be Senior Night, honoring the team’s senior players.

“With Paradise, you know, that game still matters, not necessarily toward a district championship, but it still matters to us as a team on how we perform and how we get ourselves better for the next step,” Bartley said. “We’re not even looking past Friday. As far as district seedings or anything like that, the game doesn’t matter, but to us as a team, it does matter. We’re not even looking to Henrietta until we get past Friday.”

Having already won the district championship, the Buckaroos are scheduled to play Henrietta High School Bearcats next week at the bi-district level. The specifics of that playoff have not yet been determined, although Bartley said they might play a two-out-of-three series.

He also said the team doesn’t plan to make any big changes before the playoff game. “We’re just going to keep playing baseball the way we have been. We’re just going to use every day to see if we can get a little bit better and keep building on that, one day at a time,” he said. “Pitching and defensively, it’s been there, but it’s not been perfect, so that’s what we’re kind of striving for and telling the kids that’s what we’re going to strive for — perfection. If we can strive for that each day and work toward that, it’s going to make us better in the long run.”

Both Bartley and Breckenridge Independent School District Athletic Director Casey Hubble agree that a lot of the team’s success is due to the players buying into the program. Bartley said that since the beginning of the season the coaches have been teaching the team about coming together, staying positive and playing as a team.

“Because I think the talent’s been there and their abilities have been there, obviously, for a while. It just a matter of getting them to play relaxed and staying positive and not letting one thing affect anything else,” he said. “They’ve really done a good job of staying positive and keeping each other accountable and really just playing to their capabilities and not letting something small affect them and change the whole game.”

Hubble said that part of their success can be attributed to the students’ having played together for many years. “They’ve played a bunch of baseball over the years. Their parents have done a good job of getting them started at an early age and put in a lot of time with them, lots of work,” he said. “You know, our kids do everything; the same ones are out there competing in track and helped us have a great year there. I think these kids are to be honored for everything that they do, because it’s a huge deal. We don’t have kids that specialize a whole lot. So, they’ve just put in a lot of work, lot of, lot of hard work. A lot of hours. They meet expectation that our coaching staff has put on them, and they do an unbelievable job. They are to be commended for what it’s taken them to get to this point.”

Hubble also commended Bartley for his coaching. “He’s done a great job. He’s elevated our program. He’s brought a lot of energy and knowledge,” Hubble said. “(Bartley) does a great job interacting with kids and holding them to a standard that our athletic department holds for all our kids. I think, right now, all of our programs are on the same page. Coach Bartley has done a really good job. We’re happy to have him.”


Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: The Buckaroo Varsity Baseball team poses with the District Championship trophy and a banner donated by ABC Printing after Monday night’s victory over the Jacksboro Tigers. (Photo courtesy of Glenda Knight)


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